there are far too many teachers and professionals who lack empathy when it comes to dealing with colleagues, clients, and those with whom they are associating. There is no room for dispassionate highhandedness when dealing with people. Education is all about humanity and developing others. There should never be putdowns, sarcasm, and other manifestations of behaviour by those in charge which will cause discomfort and squirming on the part of those with whom they are dealing. It is fine to point out things that might be done differently and better but this needs to be done Humanistically and in a way that encourages the person being developed to make the effort. Putdowns are turnoffs and we don’t need that in our professions.

Remember the importance in the practice of empathy and always unto others as you would have them to do unto you.


In a few short weeks, our year 3,5,7 and 9 students will be sitting their 2022 NAPLAN tests. May principals and teachers keep tests in perspective, remembering they are not the ‘be and end all’ of education, although often regarded that way. What needs to be avoided are students becoming so exhausted by pre testing, they fail do do justice to this year’s tests on designated testing days

‘NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN’ – the name adopted by most world leaders

But NOT firm against his systematic and calculated destruction of Ukraine and the genocide of its people.

‘The world stands firm against Putin’ is an editorial heading in today’s ‘Australian’ (29/4).

The world watches while Putin plays merry hell.


Putin rules with iron rod,

All Russians grumble,

Putin will prevail,

Resistance will tumble.

There is only one answer,

And it never will be,

In essence all Russians,

To Putin bend knee.

Protests are all show,

Nothing they mean,

Kowtowing they kiss,

The road where he’s been,

They simper and crawl,

To buy life and space,

And fail always to see,

The disdain on his face.

Putin says ‘jump’,

People acquiesce, their heads nod,

In Russia Putin’s not human,

In Russia, he’s god.


Natasha Bita and Tim Dodd’s column ‘Maths numbers plunge to new low’ 27/4) points to an absolute despair confronting Australian education. For far too long, education has been subjected to a diminution and dumbing down of standards and expectations. With less than 10% of year 12 students opting to study the highest level of mathematics, we seem to be sinking to ‘alarming new lows’ (as started by Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute director Tim Marchant) in our ambition for students.

What should and shouldn’t be included within the domain of curriculum priorities involves never-ending conversation between education ministers, education department heads, business and industry representatives, professional groups, school councils, teachers unions, subject specialists and others. Juxtapositionally, ambition for a better tranche of graduates, multi-skilled in areas necessary for manufacturing, industrial, commercial and environmental enhancement, does not seem to be forthcoming. There is an abundance of talk about what we need to do, in order to enhance the educational standards of students. However, there seems to be a lack of will on the part of authorities to translate these ambitions into action outcomes.

Without change, there is a real danger that the term ‘dumb and dumber’ might take root when describing the accomplishments of far too many students.

Thank you to the Asche Family

Jamie Walker’s column (Age taking heroes WW11 foes could not “The Australian” 25/4) resonated and brought back memories of an outstanding Territorian and Australian in Austin Asche. He and his wife Dr Valerie Ashe (dec.)were frontier Territorians and outstanding contributors to the development of NT ethos. Both as our Chief Justice (known for his humanity and fairness when administering the law) and later as NT Administrator, Mr Asche served with distinction. Dr Asche, was for 20 years the Patron of NT Variety, a major fundraising organisation supporting those in need. She was also a medical doctor who served her profession with distinction/

While Administrator, His Honour Austin Asche and Dr Asche made it their business to visit frequently and widely around the Territory, supporting communities and schools. They modelled citizenship, were always interested in people and were appreciated by all Territorians.

The NT has been well blessed and well served by the contribution of this wonderful couple.



Your excellent coverage of issues, politicans and people (with their wants and needs) leading toward the upcoming election is without parallel. No careful reader of ‘The Australian’ could be in any doubt about those critically important matters leading us toward May 21.

I have been a voter in federal elections since the 1960’s. Back then, one hardly knew there was an election in the wind. Information was quite scant and the news feed, by the time it was released, was up to several days old. Information technology now ensures , we have feedback on key issues as they unfold. People can no longer claim lack of awareness as an excuse for not understanding what is happening.

It also seems that the day after an election result is declared, politicans, political parties and political aspirants are already preparing for the next poll approximately three years into the future. Are we therefore, always in election mode?

Honorary Doctorates are anathema

UNIVERSITIES love to trot out the honorary doctorates and sing the praises of notary publics through conferral of unearned qualifications. All this to gain quedos for the university.

All this while the regular PhD students pay tens of thousands of dollars and devote many, many hundreds of hours to study, often under conditions of economic duress and financial hardship to earn their degrees. Do they get the same recognition? Not for a minute!!

Honorary degrees should be abolished?


Steer clear of weekend illness in Darwin

Becoming sick or dealing with sickness in Darwin particularly during the weekend is absolutely horrendous.

Come Friday afternoon and everything basically shuts down and you don’t have anywhere to go. The only available place is the Royal Darwin Hospital Emergency Department and that is a challenge in itself.

If you are entitled to private hospital care and have the right insurance to cover costs – forget it, for any approval to go there has to come from the RDH ED. They are reluctant, VERY RELUCTANT, to pass you over to the private hospital.

Being sick in Darwin outside of normal weekday working hours is like confronting a vacuum with very few solutions. Weekends become endless and quite horrific. What helps is if you know a couple of people in the medical profession and if you are able to contact them after hours. (In our case we were incredibly helped by a medical professional we were able to contact.)

People who do not know anyone they can contact in emergency circumstances confront huge problems. Not being able to access the Darwin Private Hospital for admission of treatment without going through the RDH ED is a real problem. It’s not helped either by the seeming reluctance of ED to contact the DPH for patient transfer purposes. In my experience that has been the case (several times) despite requests for this to happen.

A further problem is that some surgeries advertise home doctors will come to visit for fees outside the regular structure. That is not the case; while the service is used to exist it is now are extinct. Yet the advertisements for this service continue to be announced on websites or by phone message.

I believe the only service that might be available after hours is Golden Glow nursing. Nothing else is available.

We tossed the bath water and left the baby high and dry

How sad and ironic it is that “bosses (are pleading) for relief to fill skills gap” (Australian 19/4). It is sad because the advance of Australia in so many retail, hospitality, commercial and manufacturing sectors are in ‘slo mo’ when it comes to moving forward, for want of skilled personnel. In a burgeoning number of cases and especially in remote areas, any body at all would do because workers are in such shores supply.

The situation is ironic because in past times educators and those in decision making positions, have chosen to minimise the value of the TAFE/VET sector, thereby discounting the value of blue collar skills. This has included an undermining and devaluing of apprenticeship programs. Only now, is Australia becoming aware of the need for critical skills that will not come from those qualifying locally for some years to come.

Years ago, Australia threw this training out the door, deciding that the only option was for people to go to university and study for full degrees. May authorities learn from the mistakes made, reinstate full for apprenticeship and occupational training, and never again discount the need to prepare Australians for work readiness.


Depression is cruel and insidious, invasive and hugely drawing down on people’s feelings of confidence and self worth. Its lacerations affect both body and mind. It can grip like a cancer and thrives because those afflicted feel the shame of leprosy creeping upon them and into their psyche. We have not yet come to discuss mental health issues openly and with confidence. This causes depression to prevail and dominate the shame side of human nature. We must overcome this barrier if depression is to be tackled with honest candour.