CMC public report into University of Queensland enrolment tabled in State Parliament — 13.09.2013
A Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) report titled An examination of suspected official misconduct at the University of Queensland was tabled in State Parliament today.
The report places on the public record for the first time the broader circumstances of how a decision at the University of Queensland in 2010 led to an offer being made for the 2011 medical program to the daughter of the then Vice-Chancellor and the subsequent resignations of the then Vice-Chancellor and the then Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
The report also includes the outcomes of the CMC’s criminal investigation, a review of the University’s handling of the matter and a qualitative review of the University’s integrity framework.
The CMC’s Acting Assistant Commissioner Misconduct, Kathleen Florian, said universities within Queensland are an important part of the public sector and have obligations to the public, to act transparently and to make decisions based on merit and equity.
“The CMC recognises the importance of placing on the public record for the first time the events which transpired so the public, especially the university community, are aware of what occurred in one of Queensland’s leading public institutions,” Assistant Commissioner Florian said.
“It is clear from the reviews and investigation undertaken by the CMC the decision to offer a place in the 2011 undergraduate medical program to the daughter of the then Vice-Chancellor was not based on merit.
“The offer was more than an irregularity in the enrolment process as previously described by the University and helped the student in question receive an offer before 343 other students who were better placed to receive an offer.”
The report also sets out how the University of Queensland responded to this matter once it was reported to them in September 2011, some nine months after the original decision.
“The CMC agreed with the University of Queensland that the resignation of two of its most senior executives was appropriate considering what transpired. However, the CMC did not agree that those resignations would be on the basis of generalised accountability.
“The CMC considered the public statements made by the University of Queensland in November 2011 downplayed the seriousness of the matter and the involvement of two of its most senior executives and therefore requested the resignation dates be brought forward.”
The CMC’s review of this matter identified several issues for the broader public sector. The originating issue of a conflict of interest involving senior management could occur in any unit of public administration.
“I encourage all public sector agencies to read this report to consider how they could manage conflicts of interest and misconduct involving senior management thus ensuring merit, equity and transparency remains core to decision making.”
The CMC acknowledges the University of Queensland has made significant improvements to transparency and reforms to their integrity system via their Integrity and Accountability Reform Program. The CMC supports the reforms undertaken by the University.
A copy of the report is available on the CMC’s website.