Next month’s University of New South Wales council elections are
turning into a headache for Liberal power-broker, Packer confidant and current
University Chancellor, David Gonski, after concerns were raised about a
Gonski-supported board member using university resources for her own
re-election.

Gonski, who already sits on the boards of ANZ and
Coca-Cola Amatil along with a handful of others, is throwing his weight
behind fellow Liberal and UNSW graduate Gabrielle Upton in
her bid for re-election at the University’s May/June council
elections. And not everyone is happy about it.

Sources claim Upton’s been using the UNSW website and the university’s resources to
help her re-election prospects, something the UNSW – like most other higher
education institutions – has a strict policy against. The tip concerned
Upton’s own site,
which, when we checked two days ago, was a showy piece talking up the banking lawyer’s business and management qualifications.

According to sources, a page originally posted on Upton’s site contained a glowing
recommendation from none other than the University’s Chancellor David Gonski
(check out the old page here). Gonski writes of Upton:
“As the newly elected Deputy Chancellor, Gabrielle Upton has much to
contribute to UNSW going forward through her membership on the
University Council. She is an energetic and proven worker who is
committed to securing UNSW’s future success. I commend her to you.”

Gonski’s endorsement mysteriously disappeared from the site
a couple of days ago. But then, logging-on yesterday, we found Upton’s entire site had been replaced by a
simple email contact page and not much else – no CV, no UNSW verbiage, nothing except an email page.

UNSW Communications Director Judy Brookman told Crikey this
morning that the university had requested that the “site be
reconfigured to make it clear that it is a personal website and not a
UNSW site”, but said there was nothing wrong with Gonski publicly
endorsing a candidate.

Crikey called Upton for a reaction to
the University’s request, but hadn’t heard
back at time of publication.

Peter Fray

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