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At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

"Wilkie has said his offer wasn't a trap, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a test"

He his, after all, by profession an intelligence officer.

Grog's Gramut:

[The Coalition has no-one] to blame for Wilkie turning them down despite their offering $1b for a new hospital. Wilkie has said his offer was not a trap, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a test – one that Abbott failed.

When Wilkie put out his list, it was pretty well regarded by all sensible people as being a list that should not be agreed to. It smacked of ambit claim. And you always lose a bit of respect to people who agree to such claims.

For Joe Hockey to now suggest it was a bit of a double cross is just lame.

Back when I was in Year 6 my class was given test on road laws. Our teacher told us it wouldn’t count towards any grades, and so most of us took it all pretty lightly – I even gave a few incorrect answers just to be funny. And then once we had marked the test as a class (and all laughed at my joke answers), our teacher told us that the person who had scored the highest mark was now in the running to win a BMX. The class howled in protest that we didn’t know that was what the test was for. The teacher told us he had just said it wouldn’t count towards our grades, not that it wouldn’t count. It was our fault for treating the test lightly.

Similarly Abbott and Hockey want to howl in protest that they didn’t realise Wilkie was testing to see who could put forward the most economically responsible offer. Abbott assumed it was an auction. Just because Wilkie never said it wasn’t, didn’t mean it was.

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