There are poor people everywhere Kaplan. Some are poor and deserve support because of circumstances by which they are confronted. Others are poor because for their preferences to smoke cigarettes ($1.80 each), drink alcohol, gamble and do drugs. Their poorness is less circumstantial and more self inflicted.


In most places in Australia this is the end of the first week of school for 2023. I hope for everybody it’s been a great start, a week during which foundations for a terrific year have been put in place. It will take a while for the foundations to be completed. Every year needs to build a solid base. All the all for the 39 weeks ahead.





Reading for accuracy and comprehension.

Tables learning.

Listening for understanding.

Singing in class.

General knowledge quizzes.

Proper and sensible reports that are meaningful and not full of jargon.

Good manners

Core rather than peripheral learning.



I had recourse to examine the Australian Government’s ‘myagedcare’ (My Aged Care) program and discovered it to be a support offered for the aged … but NOT for everyone.

Before accessing an approved package of support, those to be receiving benefit are subject to means testing with a level of investigative scrutiny that is mind boggling. Every vestige of one’s assets have to be declared and absolutely nothing remains private and confidential. If I read the documentation correctly, the costs of determining package entitlement based on assets, have to be bourne by the person being means tested.

My assumption is that people with means and savings will be advised the scheme that may have been approved (subject to means testing) is not available after all.

I have now come to an understanding that those who have savings and been prudent money managers are ineligible for any support. Those who have spent every dollar, are fully supported.

The scheme is long on process and short on outcome. It is almost discriminatory in excluding seniors who have been careful mangers, thrifty and industrious like ants, while being there for those who have frittered away their largesse and, like grasshoppers, have not taken any account for the future.



(The sadness of Alice Springs)

What was:

A gentle breeze is blowing by,

Wafting clouds across the sky,

Birds fluff their wings in gentle breeze,

Sing joyful songs with happy ease.  

Men playing cricket on the green,

Their noses polished with sunscreen,

Bowl, bat and field the ball,

Contentment reigns for one and all.

Neighbour dozes ‘neath his house,

Spouse tiptoeing like a mouse, 

Buffing windows so they gleam,

Partners for life they are a team.  

What is:

Sad it is the wider world,

Shuns the good with spite unfurled,

Alcohol floods – infusion reigns,

Too many people with addled brains.

Lifted bans mean free for all,

Thefts and threats as people brawl,

People there are losing heart,

As the Alice tears itself apart.

Government’s in an awful bind,

Because the system they did unwind,

Shops are shut, the mall a mess,

Night fighting only adds to stress.

Residents have been sold a pup,

The city’s going belly up,

Almost  too late to hear their cry,

Alice Springs about to die.

The nights once quiet,

Watched o’er by  stars,

Now  ears are burnt,

By hooning cars.

Governments it is time to wake,

How much more can people take,

The city abuzz with crime and sin, 

With citizens entrapped therein.




A diary is a daily record of experiences or events. The idea or concept of a diary is somewhat ‘old hat’. These days, many people prefer electronic devices for recording, whereas a diary was traditionally a notated (by dat and date) book into which people wrote. Paper diaries used to be quite expensive but these days their price has come down a lot – no doubt because they have competition from electronic versions.

I have over the years developed the habit of keeping a paper diary. While doing a fair bit of electronic record keeping, I find that writing by hand into a diary enables me to think and to reflect on things in away that doesn’t happen when writing onto paper.

Another point is that electronic recording can be quite indelible and it may be things you want to keep as private thoughts and reflections, get to be shared by face-book, twitter or by email.

One of the things I like about a paper diary is that if I am feeling a bit uptight or twitchy, the act of writing by hand, which takes time, tends to settle me down. It is important to think clearly about things you do and to write by hand can help that clear thinking.

Diary writing does not have to be painful, long winded or torturous. You can spend as long or short a period as you like in writing thoughts and reflections. I always think it a good thing to spend a little time reflecting on the day, not only noting things to do but successes you have achieved. It is important as a student and a teacher to note successes and to self-congratulate. A diary is a tool that helps.

When writing in my diary I sometimes use pencil, also pens of different colours.

Pencil is for when I am shaping thoughts. These can be gone over in pen at a later time.

Different colours ‘stand points out’ so they hit you in the eye when you re-read. Red for ideas, blue for celebrations, black for things needing to be done might be a simple code. I also run a highlighter pen through points I really want to remember or emphasise.

Part of keeping a diary is to periodically flick back through its pages and recall things you have written. This recall helps when it comes to remembering and reflection.

Teachers of course keep records highlighting children’s progress. This essential record keeping is a part of school programming requirements. A diary is an extra but it is worth the time taken to complete daily entries. It is a device that helps with personal reflections – ever so important to teachers and indeed to all professionals.

I commend to you the thought and the habit of keeping a diary.


I was working as an educator in the NT when the outstation movement started in the mid 1970’s. My schools at Numbulwar (1976 – 78) and Angurugu on Groote Eylandt (1979 – 1982) serviced outstation schools.

Outstations were established clan and family groups who wanted ‘out’ from the more established communities and a return to more traditional life, moved to these localities. The stated desire of the groups was to live simply and without what were deemed to be European type interferences with life. Living in isolation was relished, with support from a visiting outstation teacher (who would take mail and requested supplies) deemed sufficient.

Fast forward to 2023: Realise that in the intervening years, those on homeland settlements and outstations have generally upgraded their expectations and now want the facilities supporting a more western style of life in place.

Changed expectations are a challenge to governments and place a huge burden on treasury.




There are increasing moves toward establishing quotas. These have to do with roles at occupations in business, industry, commerce, politics, and in all aspects of life. It has to do with the fact that seemingly women under represented in key areas of leadership and decision-making.

Well some organisations have “seen the light“ and established quotas that have to be filled by ladies, This is by no means universal. In order to introduce fairness and parity more and more people are saying quotas need to be put in place in order that women fill positions in key roles.

I recall that many years ago a quite prominent politician who had travelled to America and then came visiting us at a Angurugu on Groote Eylandt, hoped that Australia would never get to the point of filling positions by quota. He felt the position should always be filled on the basis of merit and the gender should not come into the picture.

In the 30 odd years since , we have moved more and more toward a quota driven system of filling positions in all walks of life. The emphasis on political preselection offering a percentage of positions to women is just the latest In the long saga that is ever gaining momentum.

A number of years ago I was asked to talk to a group of Country and Liberal Supporters on women in leadership positions. I came up with the following and have kept that in mind ever since.

Interestingly, when I’ve published about the subject online, I’ve usually be been canned and generally by women for being “patronising” and not meaning what I’ve written. The suggestion has been that I have absolutely no proof of what I’ve written and I’m therefore just pandering to a fashion. I’ve been told what I’ve written is insincere and not meant.

It’s not my place to be the judge and jury on how people may think or feel about what I’ve written or said. However, over many years I worked with both men and women in leadership positions in my schools. A good deal of my perception is based on the evidence of my experience with people in these positions.