All the very best to territory students, teachers and support staff as they return to school in 2022. May teaching efforts and learning endeavours be satisfying for everyone connected with education in all urban, town, community and remote locations. May school attendance, notwithstanding Covid, be possible each day.


Parents are passing their children off to schools, before and after school care and school holiday care programs. These agencies and their employees are supposed to bring children up, excusing parents of their prime duty of care.


The Education Minister and her department are playing coy about releasing information on whether or not modification to Year 12 scores occurred in the period January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2021 (Grade change allegations, NT News 27/12). Awareness about the matter is deemed not to be in the public interest. On the contrary, the public, including parents, students and potential employers, have every right to know if grades have been compromised (fiddled). This matter should be brought into the light of day.


A great deal is made of the need for interpreters and translators to support Indigenous Australians in the NT who are said to have no understanding of English. English has been the dominant and prime teaching language in all schools, including remote schools, since the 1960’s and 70’s. To say that people have little or no understanding of English is totally wrong.

Speech and speaking clubs like Toastmasters are offered a new challenge; developing within members and through community workshops, the ability to speak clearly, expressively and audibly while wearing masks. With this facial coverage becoming an ongoing and prescribed need, such training is becoming essential.


The closure of ‘Flip Out’ will be very disappointing for many children and young people in Darwin and the Top End. One after another, venues catering for the recreational needs of youth seem to be closing their doors. Hopefully this will not be a continuing trend, because they need things to do and places to go.


As your headline suggests (‘Engaged parents the key’, 18/1) meaningful partnerships between school and home, provides the very best foundation for the education of children. Craig Deed (LaTrobe school of education professor) is right in saying that in uncertain Covid times, parents need to involve more than ever in educational engagement with schools. Partnerships should be an everlasting educational element.


Dr Rose Cantali (‘Standup to your kids hellbent on romance’, NT News 21/1) worries about parents being scared to talk with their children about issues of life and living. Communication between parents and children is also enhanced if parents are good listeners, confidants and advisers. Communication with children is not enhanced if parents in their eagerness to point out what they consider right, rush to judgement on their children.

Speech and speaking clubs like Toastmasters are offered a new challenge; developing within members and through community workshops, the ability to speak clearly, expressively and audibly while wearing masks. With this facial coverage becoming an ongoing and prescribed need, such training is becoming essential.


Paper Prepared for the

Pacific Womens Diamond Jubilee Conference

Held in January 1982

A dilemma of the developing Aboriginal society is one of attitude. Women can play a vital role in societal development, if the society will let them.

There is abundant evidence to show that young Aboriginal women can do well at school, and that they do achieve. The dilemma is ‘for what’. Often it is for a return to the camp life, where child bearing and child rearing provide the only relief from the monotonous domestic routines that follow.

Aboriginal society is patriarchal. It is what men say that counts, and what men want that happens. Aboriginal women have vision, for they are thinkers and they know what they want. But they often don’t have the power in their society to put their thoughts into action. They just don’t count enough.

This so often means that education only frustrates teenage girls growing up into women, because education shows the girls concerned what they could be and trains them toward doing things they learn about. In the end however, it means nothing because society tells them they must fill a position in life that puts them into a less important position than men.

Aboriginal culture and tradition is important. But often men, who are the custodians of this culture think ‘back’ to it without thinking ‘forward’ enough to the changes forced on Aboriginal society by the time and place in which we live. Women in Aboriginal society seem more futuristic; they think to the future and with education gain the understanding they need to play a part in the change that happens.

Economically, the men command the money the community earns, even when that money is earned by women.

Time and time again women will be asked to hand over money they have earned, so it goes on other things than providing food for families and children in those families. I have frequently seen women interrupted in their work b y those coming to demand money for this and that. Woman contribute to local economy by seeking work and earning money. But too often that money is taken by demand and disappears.

Many women became frustrated because they earn money they never see. They have to earn it while still doing huge amounts of ‘looking after’ at home.

Aboriginal society might be more progressive if women had a say in the development of that society – both locally in each community and overall by their membership of land councils and other organisations. While women can influence the thinking of their men by talking to them, they never actually do any of the (wider level) talking. If they could put their thinking into action, many communities might be further advanced than they are.

It is not so much a question of education and training for women that is a worry, but one of what satisfaction the education and training is giving. If any. It seems to be that training gives women a chance to earn money that others can take. There needs to be training in the thinking that is necessary if Aboriginal women are to come out as spokespersons and leaders who can be seen to lead in their communities.

Education and training to be successful must succeed in enabling Aboriginal women gain that confidence necessary to their emergence, so they are seen as a visible voice for their people. If education only ‘trains’ to the point of giving skills and work understandings to women, then they will continue to be hidden in a culture that traditionally allows men to be seen and keeps women hidden.

Education to be really meaningful must succeed in enabling women to rise to a point of making social and economic decisions. Women have to be seen as equal


Final in the series


The issue of gender in leadership is going to go on and on and attract more more criticism from organisations perceived not to be paying the court due to the subject. With the passing of time, more and more women are being appointed to fill key roles in the leadership domain, especially within some of the ‘people oriented’ organisations.

Education for instance, was once dominated by men at all senior levels within schools and within Education Departments. Genuine concerns about the non-representation of women in educational leadership roles were frequently heard. That has all changed; during the past two decades, women have become the majority gender in educational leadership positions in Australian schools.

A recent photograph published in ‘LinkedIn’ by the NT Education Department illustrates the point. The photo was of Principals and Assistant Principals appointed to Territory schools for the start of the 2022 school year. There were 25 people in the photograph. Five were men and twenty were women.

Progress may be slow and some women may feel their gender is moving into key leadership roles at a snail’s pace. But comparing 2022 with 1972 is like comparing two different worlds. Women ARE on the move into Leadership Land – and that’s the way it should be!



While autocracy, firmness and long distance focus is a part of the female leadership psyche, so too is the engagement of all staff within a collective and shared context. All staff are encouraged to contribute ideas and to identify as sharing with their colleagues in progress and direction. This collective ownership promotes the ‘oneness and unity’ of staff with each other in what is a true manifestation of synergy in practice.



Female leaders generally set their sights on endpoints and goals that are further into the future than can be envisioned by their male counterparts. Their approach to hurdles and barriers is ambitious, meaning that ‘gutters and washouts’ along by the way are quickly smoothed by a process of management that is always forward looking. Completing and finishing tasks that lead to ultimate outcomes is a hallmark of female leadership not always as apparent among their male counterparts



My appreciation of female leaders is that they are unswerving from their focus on the aims and goals of establishments they are leading. Men can be easily sidetracked or diverted by circumstances that crop up along the way. This can lead to altered agendas and lost focus. Distraction from purpose and function is not a problem for most women leaders, who keep things on track.

Periodic evaluation including awareness of KPA’s is a part of the way women oversee the agencies for which they have responsibility. Those within the organisation are encouraged to set goals that can be identified and revisited during performance management reviews. Dates attaching to these requirements are met more faithfully by women than by their male counterparts.



Female leaders have bifocal vision. They are able to view and consider various aspects of organisational process and function at the same time. They have acute, wide ranging, fish eye vision of their organisations while at the same time being able to relate to particular issues at specific locations within the ambit of their leadership coverage. They are able to be above (on the balcony) and within (ion the dance floor) of the establishments they are leading at the same time. The depth and breadth of their perspective is quite outstanding.

Men on the other hand, seems to have capacity to be within one organisational dimension. Or another but non able veto cope with more than one perspective (need) at the same time. This causes them to overlook particular needs, meaning (because of this oversight) trouble can bounce back at some time and often not too far into the future.

Their abilities type women as being competent leaders, in a way that sometimes eludes men.



Women in leadership roles, in my experience, are meticulous planners and organisers. Everything requiring detailed planning is met and very little, if anything, is left to chance. The casual and somewhat cavalier attitude that some men have toward forward planning is not a characteristic of female leaders. The attitude of ‘she’ll be right” that exists among some men in leadership and management position, is not a characteristic of their female counterparts.

From experience, I believe women to be excellent when it comes to including others within the organisation in long term planning. Participation is encouraged and those willing to share ideas, acknowledged and applauded.

Female leaders are great when it comes to engaging others in activities that lead to the synergistic planning of long term goals and outcomes.