University of Western Sydney Management
|About this Item||Subjects||University of Western Sydney; Budget: Federal; Industrial Disputes
||Speakers||Lynn The Hon Charlie
||Commentary|| Janice Reid
The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN [10.17 p.m.]: Late this afternoon I received a document that causes me, as a resident of Macarthur, great concern. I refer to a copy of an email sent to all students of the University of Western Sydney [UWS] by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janice Reid. It reads:
As you may be aware, the two major University staff unions, the NTEU and the CPSU, plan industrial action all day Thursday 16 October in the form of a strike. This action is in response to the Commonwealth funding and policy package released this year, and particularly to the workplace reforms that were announced by the Minister for Education on the 22nd September. These reforms have been made a condition of the funding that is to come to Australian universities.
We would like you to know that many University classes and services will not be available on that date.
We are continuing to do everything we can to get the government to change its position on the funding and other issues that have brought about the strike.
More specific information about arrangements on the day of the strike will be sent to you by email and will also be available on the University website.
While this notice is being sent to all students, could you let your friends and classmates know in case they do not look at their email in the next two or three days?
This email suggests that Vice-Chancellor Reid is a key supporter of a strike at UWS. This is a betrayal of the ambitions of the people of Macarthur, who have contributed so much to the development of the university. They would expect Professor Reid to be the facilitator between the Government and the university to ensure the best outcomes for their children—the students—but it is clear that she is nothing more than a spokesperson or an organiser for the Labor Party and the union movement. Professor Reid's primary responsibility is to provide effective leadership for our flagship educational institution in Western Sydney. To carry out this role she receives a salary more than double that paid to our Prime Minister to run the entire country. Her decision to support a strike, which prevents our students from attending class, is more the action of a union shop steward on award wages.
UWS has any number of issues that deserve the vice-chancellor's urgent attention. My office, like those of other members in Western Sydney, has received complaints from students of UWS about problems with incorrect enrolments, incorrect timetabling and other issues that indicate serious university maladministration. The Federal member for Lindsay, the Hon. Jackie Kelly, recently wrote to the UWS Board of Trustees outlining her concerns with the current administration arising from information brought to her attention by students. I share these concerns and I congratulate the Hon. Jackie Kelly on bringing them to the attention of the public. A major indicator of poor leadership is the loss of highly qualified experienced staff. In recent times educators such as Professor Duke, Professor Falk, Professor Bailey, Professor White, Professor Barr, Professor Alcorn, Professor Clarke, Professor Mackenzie, Professor Ewan, Professor Gray, and lecturers too numerous to mention in the limited time available to me, have left. These very high-calibre people have now taken positions elsewhere.
If UWS were a private institution, auditors would have called in receivers after such a devastating loss of key staff. As a result of this loss, one department at UWS spent tens of thousands of dollars on casual staff in 2002-03. This is indicative of the human resources disaster at the institution. We need to know why so much money has been wasted on casual staff when there is a permanent work force. Do members of the current staff take off that much time from work? If so, why? These issues are the tip of an iceberg of maladministration at UWS under Professor Reid's leadership.
Over the past five years Professor Reid has changed UWS from a proud, locally focused, educationally advanced institution to a university that cannot now enrol students into correct courses. I contend that she has spent more time ensuring that the board of trustees and the university itself are more a left-wing branch of the Australian Labor Party than prestigious inclusive educational institutions. One only has to look at the political appointments to the board to understand this. It comprises left-wing luminaries such as the Hon. Kim Yeadon and the Hon. Jan Burnswoods, Labor Party member of Parliament Linda Burney, and Labor Councillor Meg Oates along with other Labor appointees. This is hardly representative of the political make-up of Western Sydney.
Before Vice-Chancellor Professor Janice Reid decides to attack the Federal Government over what she claims are funding issues she should clean up her own backyard by concentrating on university matters and not organise union strikes for the Labor Party. Wasting money on changing campus names, designing feng shui approved logos and building monuments to failed Labor Prime Ministers is more indicative of a leader locked in an outmoded ideological time warp than one who can provide the modern, visionary leadership that our flagship educational institution in Western Sydney and our students deserve.