Many years ago, in the late 1970’s, I went to a summer workshop at the Canberra University. It was the best program I had ever attended for it taught me about the use of Socratic Discussion in dialogue. The presenter was Dr Nancy Letts, a ‘practitioner academic’ from one of the New York universities. Her husband (partner these days) was an engineer connected with the quality control of water in the Hudson River.

I went to a bookshop in Manuka and bought a print. It was titled “The First Supper” and exemplified the role of both Indigenous Women and women as a whole. It was based on Christ’s “Last Supper” with His disciples prior to the crucifixion. I had it framed and it occupied a special place in my office at work for many years.

Maybe I could send a copy of that print to the PM at the House on the Hill at this time for it had a relevance that has for too long been neglected.

It did stimulate a paper I wrote and that was published by the Australian and Pacific Islands Women’s Jubilee Conference in 1982. As a person who already had more than a decade of experience working in remote communities to that point in time, I wrote on the subject of why Aboriginal society (from a none-Aboriginal point of view) would be better if matriarchial governance was to replace patriarchial oversight.

So I have Canberra to thank for those insights and perceptions.


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