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.


To have the respect of others.To do your very best at all times

To rejoice within at your successes. To rejoice with others over their successes. To always put others before yourself and not to operate in a way that causes your advancement to be at the putting down of others. to feel good at the end of each day about what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished – and not to think only about the things still to do or challenges that still present. Leave that until tomorrow – just rejoice in today.


To me, January 26 is Australia Day. It has been is and will continue to be Australia day. It is the day when everybody can come together and rejoice in where we’ve all come from where we are and where we may go in the future.

It is not a time for recrimination and it is not a date to be toyed with for the sake of those who for whatever reason want it changed. Leave it as it is.

Food for the Bin


Feeding one’s kids,

It seems like a sin,

You go out and buy,

Food for the bin.

Chips, yes please!

And chicken too,

On a plate the brow pluckers,

Tears tumble, “boo hoo”.

Plates pushed away,

Is it a sin,

To transfer good food,

From the shop to the bin?

“Sit there and eat it”!!

Kinds whinge and whine,

But refuse like mules,

For eons of time.

Minutes drag by,

Like hours it seems,

Food stays untouched,

What happens are screams.

“Take it away”,

Steadfast to the last,

They refuse like real martyrs,

To break their long fast.

The fast lasts as long,

As the food on the plate,

But once in the bin,

Young voices grate ..

“We’re hungry, we’re starving,

Feed us real quick,

Our tummies are empty,

With hunger we’re sick”!

What do you do?

(This you’ll regret),

Give lollies and sweet things,

Then peace you will get –

It’s only a breather,

Until the next meal,

Then it starts all over,

The next squawk and squeal.


Sometimes, you have to accept that things are going to turn out in a particular way, that actions are going to leave to particularly unfortunate outcomes, that you can only do so much and no more to make things turn out optimistically and in a wholly rewarding way.

It may not be what you want but there’s nothing that you can do to change the predictability of particular outcomes.

And sometimes the inevitable just has to be; as one of my valued members of staff one said when looking at the way things were unfolding over a particular issue when that wasn’t the desired outcome

“That is just the way it is.“


Vocational Education and Training is so important and for a long time has been overlooked by systems. It seems that for the last decade or two the focus has been on having students go to university and earn degrees. Trades training has been played down and been described as second rate. It is the fault of the education system of Australia that we are in a position of being desperately short in trades areas.

We may need people with degrees but we also need people who are qualified in the area of motor mechanics, Plumbing, carpentry, electrical provision and so on.

Our own university in the Northern Territory thanks to the focus of the vice chancellor and university board is now upping the focus on vocational training and trades qualifications. Hopefully this will continue and with the university branching out into regional areas (again) this training may be offered in places where people are living rather than having them come to Darwin.

Hopefully and in time as people train in these occupational areas, the present deficits, created by a system that went away from VET will be reinstated and overcome.


There are two kinds of leadership by definition. There is “ascribed“ leadership. There is also “acquired“ leadership.

Ascribed leadership is that authority that attaches to the position someone is filling. It is the authority vested in the position by the organisation owning the position. It leaves out expectations and suggests what the occupant of the position needs to do and how that person should be recognised.

Ascribed leadership is the authority vested in the position by the organisation owning the position. It leaves out expectations and suggests what the occupant of the position needs to do and how that person should be recognised.

Acquired leadership is personal; it is earned by the person in the position being conferred by peers and subordinates. It adds value to the person in the position because it is based on the respect and regard held for the occupant (of the position) by associates and those with whom he or she works. It is the better leadership model because it attaches to the leader and comes from the hearts of those with whom the leader is working.


The cycle of the educational year is about to start once again. Within days, we will be into the first quarter of the 2023 school year.

As a retired educator I still remember the anticipation with which I looked forward to the opening stanza each time a new school year commenced. There was anticipation and a hope to be able to build on the previous year.,

One almost hoped that the lessons of the previous year resulting in success and leading to challenges not yet mastered, would stand in good stead in going forward.

As we stand on the threshold of a new school year, I’d like to wish everyone connected with Education all the very best for 40 weeks of academic fulfilment and developmental success.