UQ admissions scandal: staff emails. As various media have now reported, a staff farewell from University of Queensland vice-chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield admits his conduct in admitting a “close relative” who didn’t meet entry requirements was “inappropriate”. In the email also obtained by Crikey, Greenfield writes: “Through the collective actions of all of you, UQ is on a roll. There are numerous reasons for this, but one is that we do not engage in self-indulgent in-fighting.” There seems little chance of that …
But while the university has cut Greenfield and senior deputy vice-chancellor Michael Keniger loose, they maintain the support of management. Greenfield stays as vice-chancellor until July 1 next year, Keniger will be at the university until December 31, and according to another staff email from Maurie McNarn, executive director (Operations) and university secretary, “Paul and Michael have the full support of the university’s senior leadership and Senate”. Writes McNarn: “Without downplaying the gravity of recent events, I ask that all staff provide Paul and Michael with their support.”
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One source tells us UQ staff at the lower levels are “flabbergasted” that this issue of integrity has arisen with Greenfiend: “He is quite the practical VC (this is forgetting the behemoth of bureaucracy and inefficiencies that are the norm for universities of its size) and was happy to meet with staff, and discuss issues directly. All are a bit confused as to why he is not relieving himself of his role now, considering the gravity of the situation. Lack of a successor perhaps?” And students don’t care: “Contrary to the Young Liberal’s Ben Gorrie, there are no major concerns with this from students or the union. A union insider has told me that she is within this circle and it was common knowledge within these circles that leniency was being granted to the person.”
The university responses aren’t enough for The Courier-Mail, which is demanding the university come clean about the full details of the scandal. No content to report, it’s started a petition through change.org for readers to sign. It states: “The university’s 44,000 students and 16,000 staff deserve to know more. So do the hundreds and thousands of Queenslanders who have links to this university.”
Bernie’s Facebook words of wisdom. Bernie Finn, upper house MP in Victoria, is quite the social media tart. Conveniently, a fan (or otherwise) of the veteran Liberal Party backbencher has set up a Tumblr blog to capture his Facebook highlights. Labor pollies and other dignities are met with similar disdain: from Bob Brown as “Australias first unelected prime minister” and his “treacherous smirk”; the “dill” and “bloody incompetent” Wayne Swan; “Showbags Shorten” the “bone-headed union hack”; “bloody hopeless” Anthony Albanese; Paul Keating the “clown” and “silly old bugger”; “no-hoper” Geoff Clarke; “that fat old fool” Laurie Oakes; and cries of “Shame Gillard, Shame!!!” — or “juLIAR”, the “lying charlatan” and that “stupid, stupid woman” as he describes the Prime Minister.
Or this on abortion: “Just as we showed what happened in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, we must show what’s happening in the abortuaries in our so-called ‘civilised’ societies.” In fact, he doesn’t really miss anyone. At least if you’re among the “ferals, lefties, no-hopers, the brain dead and assorted ratbags in Australia at any given time”. And commenters aren’t imune, as he tells one: “Stacy, you’re welcome to leave at any time. I’ll give you a lift to the airport. Let’s see how you go in Saudi Arabia!” But at least one person gets some praise: “Thank you Alan Jones for an extraordinary evening to remember. A true patriot!”
After waving to Harto, Rupert spotted. A Sydney Crikey reader reports: “A friend in Bronte told me she saw Rupert Murdoch walking around Tamarama this morning with five bodyguards.” Five? Is that really necessary?
Bulletin makes news of property development. A local observer on News Limited’s sun-kissed tabloid The Gold Coast Bulletin:
“Any hopes that the Gold Coast Bulletin’s new editor Peter Gleeson would restore credibility following the disastrous Dean Gould experiment were dashed when it joined a crusade by property developer Leda against the Tweed Shire Council’s planning department. Extraordinary is the only way to describe its sudden interest in Tweed housing development stories, which rarely if ever have appeared on the paper’s front page, never mind two Saturday’s in a row. Leda has tried to paint council planning staff as greenies wanting to halt progress, but the real reason for putting it on the front of its big-selling Saturday edition can’t be explained just by a desire to boost readership. The Bulletin‘s income comes from its weekend property guide and the paper has a history of printing fluffy articles about Tweed development projects while ignoring community concerns.
“Leda’s so-called dirt file isn’t the usual sensational stuff you read on the Bulletin‘s front page; a developer bagging council staff over alleged oversights about environmental buffer zones and warnings about aircraft noise. Not very s-xy. Where are the usual front-page yarns about rogue bikes and youth gangs taking over our streets? Is The Bulletin in danger of becoming part of the story instead of reporting on it, just like the News of the World in the UK?”
ABC pulls Australia Network op-ed. “Why not sell the ABC to Murdoch?” former diplomat Bruce Haigh provocatively asked in a piece on ABC op-ed site The Drum on Tuesday. The piece essentially supported the case to leave the Australia Network in the hands of Aunty. He wrote: “Australia Network is a good service. It was well run and it is logical that it should run in harness with Radio Australia. It is a vehicle that conveys important information about Australia and the means by which the government can get carefully crafted messages through to political, business and military leaders in the region. Australia’s public broadcaster can be and has been the conveyor of subtleties, not possible with SKY TV.”
The article is no longer online; editors pulled it apparently due to legal concerns (the AFP is investigating leaks of the Australia Network tender process, but we’re not sure if that’s related). Haigh — who tells us the decision to spike the piece was “curious” — wrote an update once the government announced later that day it had abandoned the tender process. No sign of that either. We asked Drum editor Jonathan Green what the problem was, but after multiple requests we’re yet to hear back. Curious, indeed.
Qantas gift cards lost in the mail. “Qantas may be back on schedule,” writes one Crikey correspondent, “but the Frequent Flyer program is experiencing delays in deliveries due to problems with their mailing house. So if you are redeeming points for gift cards do not count on the website advice that deliveries will be made within 10 business days of the order because this is not currently the case.” Just so you know.