Best uni degrees to get you a job


Teaching and pharmacy degrees are proving to be recession-proof, despite the COVID-19 pandemic making it harder for most university graduates to find full-time work.

The arts, media, tourism and hospitality sectors have been ravaged by the COVID-19 recession, with barely half of last year’s graduates finding a job within four months of finishing uni.

An exclusive News Corp Australia analysis of the latest official data on graduate employment reveals that 68.7 per cent of last year’s university graduates found work within four months – down from 72.2 per cent the year before.

But some jobs are virtually recession-proof, the federal Education Department’s Graduate Outcomes Survey reveals.

Among pharmacy graduates, 96.4 per cent found full-time work soon after graduating – thanks to paid internships that require students to work for a year to become fully qualified.

Teaching, too, is a recession-proof career, with 80.6 per cent of last year’s teaching graduates finding full-time work within months of leaving uni.

And 83 per cent of engineering graduates found full-time work this year, down only slightly from 84.8 per cent last year.



Engineers Australia chief executive Dr Bronwyn Evans said there was consistent demand for graduate engineers.

“One of the great attractions of the profession is the huge variety of tasks and environments in which engineers find themselves working,” she said.

“From designing buildings or spacecraft to leading project teams or combating the effects of climate, engineers are everywhere.”

Structural engineer Kate Upton secured a job with Jacobs in Brisbane soon after graduating from the University of Queensland last year, and is helping design a new hospital in Caboolture.

“I was interested in architecture but wanted more of the maths and technical side at work, so I studied engineering,” Ms Upton said.


“I love the challenges – you have to find a new solution for each issue and you get to work with different teams, problem-solving.

“One of the highlights is that I’m not doing the same thing every day and there are always new challenges with such a broad area of work.”


Structural engineer Kate Upton secured a job with Jacobs in Brisbane soon after graduating from the University of Queensland. Picture: Liam Kidston

The Education Department survey shows that practical degrees have the brightest job prospects.

“Graduates from more vocationally oriented study areas tend to have greater success in the labour market immediately upon graduation,” the report says.

“Workers in service-type activities like the events and entertainment industries have been most impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions.”

Despite the pandemic, medicine and nursing graduates are finding it harder to get full-time work this year, as hospitals focus on

COVID-19 cases and non-urgent surgery and treatments are postponed.

Only 86.7 per cent of medicine graduates had full-time work within four months this year – down from 91.1 per cent last year.

More than a quarter of nursing graduates did not find a full-time job immediately, with employment rates falling from 76.3 per cent last year to 72.7 per cent this year.

Only 61.4 per cent of psychology gradates found full-time work straight after uni – down from 63.4 per cent last year.

Graduates from more vocationally oriented study areas tend to have greater success in the labour market immediately upon graduation, the report says. Picture: Liam Kidston

Graduates from more vocationally oriented study areas tend to have greater success in the labour market immediately upon graduation, the report says. Picture: Liam Kidston

Engineering, law and business management degrees have been less affected by the COVID-19 recession.

Business and management degrees delivered full-time jobs for 74.3 per cent of graduates this year – down from 76.6 per cent.

Three out of four law and paralegal graduates have found full-time work, with the employment rate dropping from 77.3 per cent to 75.7 per cent this year.

Science, maths and computing – the fields where industry is constantly complaining about skills shortages – have some of the lowest levels of full-time employment.

Only 59.1 per cent of science and maths graduates found full-time work this year – down from 63.4 per cent last year.

Nearly a quarter of computing and information technology (IT) graduates were still looking for full-time work, four months after graduation.

Their employment rate fell from 75.9 per cent last year to 72.1 per cent this year.

But when part-time work is included, 82.9 per cent of IT graduates and 81.7 per cent of science and maths graduates had found employment, reflecting the popularity of contract and consulting work in hi-tech professions.

Other professions with high full-time employment rates are dentistry (80 per cent, down from 86.2 per cent), rehabilitation (87.3 per cent, down from 92.4 per cent) and veterinary science (78.2 per cent, down from 81.9 per cent).

The federal government will make it cheaper for students to study university degrees in science, computing, teaching, nursing and psychology next year – although arts and law degrees will cost more.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said the change would make it easier for graduates to find work, and help Australia’s economic recovery.

“It encourages students to choose a degree in areas of national priority including teaching, nursing and STEM, which will deliver them better employment outcomes and assist our economic recovery from the pandemic,” he said.



Originally published as Best uni degrees to get you a job

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RCC drops out of Adelaide Uni

After two years hosting big crowds at its North Terrace grounds during festival season, the University of Adelaide has pulled the plug on popular arts group RCC, saying it could not commit to further events due to the pandemic.

The university this morning announced that it and RCC had “concluded their arrangement”. 

“The event drew hundreds of thousands of visitors to the University of Adelaide’s grounds during 2019 and 2020 and involved many artistic highlights,” a university statement said.

The then-RCC Fringe set up on the university grounds in February 2019 with a month of acts including live music, circus, comedy, cabaret and theatre, along with bars and food outlets.

This year’s event ran from February 14 to March 15 and again included stages for numerous live acts along with art installations, bars and food outlets spread across the university’s Maths Lawns. 

“We thank RCC for bringing their event to the University, and most of all we thank the incredible artists and events industry that have made this possible,” the university’s chief external relations officer Leah Grantham said.

“Their work over the past two Fringe seasons has enriched the social fabric of our community, and the lives of our students, staff and alumni. 

 “With the impact of COVID-19 still ongoing, the University is unable to commit to RCC in 2021 and beyond. We must ensure our primary focus remains on providing world-class education and research.” 

Grantham said that despite no longer hosting the event, the university “remains committed to our partnerships with South Australia’s arts community and supporting creativity and culture in our State”.

RCC managing director said in the statement that the group was “grateful to the University of Adelaide for hosting RCC over the past two years”, but gave no indication of where or if a 2021 event would be held. 

“Our thanks go to the many staff and students, the Adelaide University Union and other groups on campus for working closely with us. We also appreciate the vision shown by the University in taking on such a major event,” he said. 

 “While the community is still recovering from the impacts of COVID-19, we believe South Australia will need events more than ever.” 

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Uni + brain power = fast tracking for business post COVID-19

SOUTHERN CROSS UNIVERSITY and NSW Government have joined forces to accelerate business innovation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 R & D challenge is aimed at helping small to medium businesses develop their ideas that could address the impact of COVID-19 and release them to market within 12 months.

The R & D challenge is the first of three challenges and has a total funding pool of $500,000 dollars available for this round.

Ben Roche, Vice President (Engagement) at Southern Cross University said he believes the region will once again show its innovative nature in the health and wellbeing sector.

“The Northern Rivers and Coffs Coast is renowned for its track record in developing saleable enterprises that respond to new economic opportunities that address collective challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for such products and solutions, so we are enthusiastic about the response our Innovation District will receive.

“In exploring the health and wellbeing theme of the challenge, the first Innovation Challenge will focus on how can we grow our resilience to future shocks while positively growing the health and wellbeing of the people in our region. This may include businesses developing new products from existing production processes, new forms of service provision in a COVID safe world or new technologies or approaches that enhance our resilience to withstand future pandemics.”

Skills and Tertiary Education Minister Geoff Lee said the challenge represented a great opportunity to support the university sector and local business.

“We know our universities are doing it tough, which is why we are continuing to support their world-leading research and collaborate with business to bring products to market,” Mr Lee said.

“This includes the funding to run these challenges and the opportunity for the state’s 11 universities, NSW CSIRO and businesses to take these developments to consumers.”

For further details on the challenge, see Southern Cross University’s website.

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NSW records eight locally acquired COVID-19 cases, Macquarie Uni student tests positive

NSW has recorded five new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours in addition to three cases revealed yesterday.

This brings today’s total number of cases acquired in the community to eight.

One new case was a healthcare worker linked to a cluster that emerged at the Liverpool Hospital dialysis clinic last month.

They were asymptomatic and hosted a small social gathering at their home, subsequently infecting four people.

One new case is locally acquired whose source is under investigation.

The remaining two cases today are close contacts of this case.

The other three cases, among residents of Campbelltown, Parramatta and Wollondilly, were revealed yesterday but are included in today’s official figures.

They are all linked but the source of their initial infection is still under investigation.

The sports and aquatic centre at Macquarie University has been closed for cleaning.(ABC News: Jonathan Hair)

Four returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine have also tested positive.

There were 12,498 tests reported in the 24-hour reporting period.

A student who attended Sydney’s Macquarie University has also tested positive to COVID-19.

The student recently visited the sports and aquatic centre on campus which have now been closed for cleaning.

Vice Chancellor Bruce Dowton said it was not necessary to close any other parts of the campus at this stage.

“We have robust plans and processes in place to manage situations like this one, and students and staff can have confidence to continue to come to campus,” he said.

NSW Health has issued an alert for anyone who attended the Ripples Restaurant in Milsons Point on Saturday, October 3 between 8:00pm and 10:30pm after one of the new cases attended the venue.

The restaurant failed to record the details of each diner so authorities are relying on public call outs to reach all people who are now considered close contacts.

A man deep cleaning
Cleaning takes place at Ripples Milsons Point.(Instagram: @ripplesmilsonspoint)

Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned businesses must have a COVID-safe plan.

“It makes the job of our contact tracers that much more difficult if businesses aren’t doing the right thing,” she said.

“I have no patience anymore for people, and businesses in particular, that aren’t doing the right thing.

“We’ve been extremely patient and tolerant to bring everybody on board but we can’t have a few people let down the whole community.”

More to come.

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Pandemic impact boosts SA uni enrolments

A shrinking job market and overseas travel restrictions have prompted more South Australians to consider tertiary education, despite ongoing concerns about the loss of international students from the state’s pandemic-hit universities.

Flinders University data provided to InDaily shows undergraduate offers rose by just over 23 per cent for semester two this year compared to the same time last year, while postgraduate offers were up by 35 per cent on 2019 figures.

The growth was spread across all courses, with health-related degrees showing the biggest spike in demand as the industry continues to grapple with the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

All up, 2546 offers were made, with the university anticipating that the increased domestic student demand will continue into 2021.

“There’s been an overall increase in interest in higher education in South Australia in recent months,” Flinders University deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Clare Pollock said.

“That demand is growing comes as no surprise.

“Due to COVID-19, school leavers are more carefully considering their options as the prospect of gap year travel is limited and the job market is very tight.

“Those in the job market are also facing uncertainty and seeking to strengthen their employability through up-skilling.”

 Across-town rival Adelaide University also reported better than expected results, with domestic student enrolments for semester 2 up by four per cent – 14,476 undergraduate and postgraduate students – on last year’s figures.

International student enrolments also rose by five per cent – 6903 students –with the vast majority of those enrolled completing their studies remotely.

But the number of international students commencing studies in semester two this year dropped by 26 per cent on 2019 figures, with only 543 new students starting in the second half of this year compared to the same time last year, prompting a seven per cent drop in revenue.

“Better than expected offshore enrolments have been the main contributing factor to the improved 2020 position,” a university spokesperson told InDaily last month.

“However, the declining number of international students commencing in semester two 2020 points to the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and the financial challenges ahead.

“The University is expecting this to impact on the pipeline of commencing international students for 2021, and again in 2022, which will have further impacts on the University’s revenue for each of those years.”

The results prompted the university’s acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Brooks in September to call off or defer several cost-cutting measures proposed earlier in the year and agreed to by the majority of staff in August. 

InDaily contacted the University of South Australia in July asking for its enrolment data but is yet to receive a response.

Nationally, university enrolments have grown by one percent this year compared to last year, but the number of new students commencing studies has declined by 14 per cent.

The Department for Education, Skills and Employment anticipates that some international students may continue to enrol and study from offshore but the impact of COVID-19 will be drawn out over the longer term.

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Education reform that forced Soros-funded uni out of Hungary is unlawful, top EU court rules — RT World News

Protocols governing higher education in Hungary violate EU law, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled. The controversial reforms had forced a university founded by billionaire George Soros to leave the country.

The decision strikes down a Hungarian law passed in 2017, which stipulates that foreign-registered universities can only operate in the country if they offer academic courses in their home nations. 

In its Tuesday ruling, the ECJ said that the condition was “incompatible with EU law” and breached the bloc’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which safeguards academic freedom. The court had been asked to examine the Hungarian policy following a complaint from the European Commission. 

The court’s decision comes amid a years-long feud between Budapest and Soros, who launched the Central European University (CEU) in Hungary in 1991. CEU offers US-accredited degrees but does not operate in the United States. The Hungarian government argued that CEU’s American accreditation gave it an unfair advantage over other institutions. Supporters of the university insisted that the rule had nothing to do with fairness but instead was an attack on academic freedom. The university announced in December 2018 that it would relocate to Vienna, Austria, claiming it had been “forced out” of Hungary. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban has been a vocal opponent of Soros’ philanthropic activities, claiming that the billionaire has a clear social and political agenda, most notably his support for open borders. In May 2018, the Hungarian-American businessman’s Open Society Foundations shut down operations in the country, citing an “increasingly repressive political and legal environment.” Bupadest also passed a “Stop Soros” law that imposes punishments on people who help illegal immigrants claim asylum in the country.

Also on
‘We should not be taken for fools’: Hungary & Poland hit back at Brussels with institute aimed at scrutinizing rule-of-law in EU

Orban’s government continues to lock horns with Brussels over a range of issues ranging from immigration to its treatment of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Last month, the Hungarian prime minister demanded the resignation of European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova, after accusing her of insulting Hungarians and calling their country a “sick” democracy.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto recently announced the creation of a joint institute with Poland that would monitor violations of law within the EU, after the bloc accused the two member states of legal malfeasance. The institute will help highlight “double standards” in how the bloc treats the law. 

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Uni students with debts to pay could help Bowen farms

UNIVERSITY students with a HECS debt could soon flood to Bowen farms in a scheme backed by a peak farming body and a federal parliamentary committee.

The Joint Standing Committee on Migration made the recommendation on Tuesday that university students and recent graduates should be given a HECS debt discount to encourage them to pick crops in regional Australia.

The scheme aims to help bolster industry shortages after it was revealed the number of available overseas workers had plunged from 140,000 to 70,000 due to COVID-19.

The National Farmers Federation backed the proposal for HECS debt relief, saying incentivising picking programs would help farmers in desperate need.

Bowen mango farmer Ben Martin, from Marto’s Mangoes, welcomed the idea, saying he already hired several university students at the end of the school year.

Ben Martin of Marto’s Mangos said the government should be looking at developing programs in schools to secure the future of the agricultural industry. Picture: File

He said another solution could be putting the graduate workforce in a lower tax bracket so a percentage of what they would have previously been taxed could go towards their HECS debt.

While Mr Martin said the incentive would help farmers through what he predicted would be a difficult few years, he believed the government should focus more on long-term programs.

“I honestly think we need to take a step back,” he said.

“We’re not going to fix this problem this year or next year, I believe we need to go back to the education system and look at trying to entice kids in Year 8, 9 and 10 to take that pathway into horticulture.

“If you’re trying to get school leavers and uni students to get a job in horticulture, you’ve missed the boat.

“I think the horticultural and agricultural industry needs to work with the education department more and try and look at how we can implement good agricultural models and subjects in classrooms.”

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Mr Martin said there was often a stigma around farm work and what is involved in farming.

However, he argued that if there were strong educational pathways and opportunities for students, the industry could be strengthened in the future.

Several other ideas to boost the picking workforce have been floated over the past few weeks, including employing troubled youth and extending visas for backpackers.

The Bowen Gumlu Growers Association is also working on a program targeted at school leavers whose travel or university plans have been put on hold as a result of the pandemic.

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Former Adelaide Uni Vice-Chancellor lied about “egregious” treatment of women staff: ICAC

UPDATED | Former University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Peter Rathjen touched two of his female staff members in a sexual manner and later lied about his “egregious” and “disrespectful” behaviour to both the then Chancellor and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, an explosive statement by the commissioner reveals.

Commissioner Bruce Lander issued a public statement this afternoon following a three-month investigation into allegations of improper conduct by Rathjen, who resigned from the university in July citing “ill health”.

According to Lander, Rathjen engaged in conduct that was “entirely inappropriate” and treated the two unnamed female staff members with “egregious disrespect” by deliberately hugging and touching them in a sexual manner after a university function on April 11 last year.

Lander described the behaviour as “unwanted and unwelcome” by the two women – named “Ms A” and “Ms B” in the statement – who claim their health has since been affected by the investigation.

During the function, Rathjen was found to have:

  • Hugged and deliberately touched Ms A’s bottom whilst they were at a hotel
  • Deliberately touched Ms A’s bottom on two occasions while they were at a second hotel
  • Kissed Ms A on the mouth on two occasions
  • Deliberately placed one hand on Ms B’s waist whilst they were at the hotel
  • Hugged Ms B whilst they were at the hotel and deliberately placed both of his hands around her waist

Lander said Rathjen’s conduct amounted to a clear breach of the university’s code of conduct and amounted to serious misconduct.

He said the behaviour was  “worse having regard to his position within the university and the two women’s relative positions in the university”.

According to Lander, Rathjen denied that his conduct was sexual in nature – a claim the commissioner refuted.

“I have rejected the Vice-Chancellor’s evidence in every respect where he sought to disagree with the account given by the two women or to minimise his conduct,” his statement says.

“I have found that the evidence given by the two women about the events at the function was true and I have accepted both of them as witnesses of truth.”

Lander found that despite its later criticism of Scarce, the University’s Senior Executive Review Committee did not initially ‘see the Vice-Chancellor’s conduct as having been as serious as they later determined’.

According to Lander, one of the women made a complaint about Rathjen to her manager, who later confronted the Vice-Chancellor with the allegations.

Lander said Rathjen “did not deny the conduct” and offered to apologise “if there had been a misunderstanding”.

He wrote that the university’s human resources department sought advice from a private solicitor, who advised that it was up to the then Chancellor Kevin Scarce to confront Rathjen about the allegations, but the university’s council did not need to be informed.

Scarce, who stepped aside in the same week as Rathjen, wrote to Rathjen in May last year “admonishing him for his conduct and warning him that if there was any further conduct of the kind reported it would warrant a very serious consequence”.

“In accordance with the advice which he received, and relying on the women’s wishes not to have their identities made known, the Chancellor did not report the matter to the University Council or its committees,” Lander wrote, noting that now-Chancellor Catherine Branson “later criticised [Scarce] for his failure to advise the Council or its committees of the conduct”.

“That is not a criticism that I would embrace,” Lander writes.

“I think the Chancellor was entitled not to report the conduct for the two reasons he gave – first because of the women’s wishes not be identified [and] secondly because he was given legal advice to that effect.”

Lander found however that the matter should have been reported to his Office of Public Integrity.

He also noted a 2019 blog post published by US-based journalist and academic Michael Balter “in which he made an allegation of previous sexual harassment on the part of the Vice-Chancellor ‘going back to his earlier days as a professor’”.

Lander wrote that Scarce took advice from the same lawyer and was told to confront Rathjen about the allegations in the blog.

“Two or three days after the Chancellor asked that question, and sought that response, the Vice-Chancellor was advised by way of letter by Senior Counsel practising in Melbourne that she was carrying out an investigation into historical claims of sexual harassment or abuse by the Vice-Chancellor, of a female post graduate student, whilst he was an academic at the University of Melbourne,” Lander writes.

“The allegations were very serious. It was not important for the purpose of my investigation whether the claims are true, only that they were made.

“On 8 August 2019 the Vice-Chancellor was provided with a written copy of her proposed findings and invited to comment on those most serious allegations.”

The Chancellor was given a fait accompli. If he did not resign he would be stood down. That would have been extraordinarily embarrassing for him.

Rathjen instructed a lawyer to act for him in relation to the letter and “was advised to adopt certain strategies”.

He responded to Scarce telling him “there was nothing that the Chancellor needed to know in relation to his past conduct”.

“Plainly that was untrue,” Lander notes.

“The Vice-Chancellor said that he did not advise the Chancellor that he was being investigated in relation to his conduct at the University of Melbourne because he had received advice from his lawyer not to do so.

“I have specifically found that the lawyer did not give any advice to the Vice-Chancellor in respect to the question that had been posed of him by the Chancellor.

“In my opinion the Vice-Chancellor’s evidence that he received advice from a lawyer to effectively mislead the Chancellor was false.

“I have found that the Vice-Chancellor lied to the Chancellor because he knew, if he told the Chancellor the truth, that he was subject to investigation in relation to a previous claim of sexual misconduct it would jeopardise his tenure at the University of Adelaide.”

Lander found that despite its later criticism of Scarce, the University’s Senior Executive Review Committee did not initially “see the Vice-Chancellor’s conduct as having been as serious as they later determined”.

In March this year, Rathjen again failed to disclose to Scarce that there were “allegations arising from his time at the University of Melbourne which he knew were the subject of investigation”.

“I have found the Vice-Chancellor again deliberately misled the Chancellor to protect his position as Vice-Chancellor,” Lander finds.

“I have found the Vice-Chancellor lied to the Chancellor on three occasions.

“He lied in his evidence to me.

“I have found that he has lied when it suited him to do so.”

A report detailing the full extent of Lander’s findings has been provided to the university but it will not be made public.

Both women asked Lander not to publish his report publicly as they said doing so would cause them “significant embarrassment and distress and would further victimise them for having assisted in the investigation”.

They also said that the investigation “has and would affect their health”.

Lander said the university had also asked for the report not to be made public as it would discourage other people in the future from reporting claims of sexual harassment or misconduct.

He said he had agreed not to make the report public as it would be “inappropriate” to cause the victims further embarrassment and humiliation.

“It may be because of the brevity of this statement compared with the report, that the seriousness of the conduct will not be understood,” he said.

“However, that is better than the victims suffering further hurt.”

Chancellor Catherine Branson told reporters this afternoon the university felt “deeply disappointed” and “let down by the most senior manager that we had”. 

She said the university regretted and apologised for Rathjen’s behaviour and acknowledged that it reflected badly on the university.

The university has accepted all eight recommendations made by Lander in his report, including reviewing its complaints policies and implementing an education program for staff about sexual harassment.

“We will appointing a suitable and experienced person to review all of our processes to make sure that nothing of this kind happens again,” Branson said.

“It is an opportunity for us to redouble our efforts to ensure that our campuses are safe for all students and all staff.”

Branson said the university had given an “entirely appropriate” payout to “Ms A”, but she had not met with either victim, saying “I will meet with them if they wish to meet with me”.

“I will not force on them a meeting they do not wish to have and my understanding is that they wish to put this matter right behind them.”

The university is in the process of recruiting a new Vice-Chancellor to replace Rathjen, with committee formed to oversee the external appointment.

Rathjen did not answer calls but apologised to the two women in a statement sent via his lawyer Nick Iles.

“I deeply regret the distress and embarrassment that I caused two female staff members after a University function in Sydney in April 2019,” his statement reads.

“I also deeply regret the fact that, through no fault of their own, they became embroiled in a very public inquiry which they did not seek and did not wish to participate in.

“I apologise to both of them.

“There was no need for this investigation.”

He said the “fact is that the University knew about, investigated and dealt with the matter in May 2019”.

“When the then Chancellor, Kevin Scarce, put the allegations to me at that time, I immediately admitted them.

“I acknowledged a serious error of judgement.”

Rathjen maintains that “despite the fact that neither staff member wanted me disciplined, I accepted, without challenge, the Chancellor’s decision to issue me with a formal warning”.

“That decision was based on the advice of an expert employment lawyer who had advised the University for over two decades and the Executive Director of Human Resources at the University, herself a lawyer,” he said.

“It was the University’s view that this was an internal matter with which the University could, and would, deal. The course the matter took thereafter was not influenced, let alone determined, by me.

“I believed at the time that the Chancellor’s decision had resolved the matter.

“By early 2020, the University’s senior leadership, including the key governing bodies of the University and the present Chancellor, herself a former Federal Court Judge and President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, were fully aware of the events in Sydney in April 2019.

“None of them were of the view that what had happened constituted ‘serious misconduct’.

“To the contrary, they continued to express confidence in me.”

Rathjen argues it is therefore “difficult to understand Mr Lander’s conclusion that my conduct constituted ‘serious misconduct’ in public administration”.

“By early July 2020, it was clear to me that the deterioration in my physical and mental health meant that I was no longer able to discharge my duties,” his statement continued.

“The restoration of my health became paramount. The University, which I have had the honour to serve, graciously supported that decision and agreed terms for my resignation and departure.”

Iles added in a further response that “in circumstances where the University, properly advised, had dealt with the matter in 2019, it is difficult to see what purpose has been served by Mr Lander’s investigation”.

“It is particularly regrettable that he thought it appropriate to make public comments in advance of the investigation,” Iles writes.

“The finding of ‘serious misconduct’ is disproportionate to the conduct found. Mr Lander has rejected evidence and submissions which did not suit his narrative and drawn unwarranted inferences from those which did.

“As a result, significant public monies have been expended on a procedurally inadequate investigation which no-one wanted and which has cost the University its key leadership.”

Iles argued “the decision to investigate this matter underscores the urgent need to amend the ICAC Act to limit the role of ICAC to matters of genuine ‘corruption’”.

“There are far better ways of dealing with matters falling short of this, not the least being to allow public authorities to address these issues in accordance with internal protocols, as legally advised, or by normal legal processes, be it in a Court or Tribunal,” Iles said.

Former Chancellor “should not have been put in position”

Lander’s statement also raises questions about whether former Chancellor Kevin Scarce should have been forced out of his position.

He said the university’s Convenor’s Committee formed a four-member group, which then Deputy Chancellor Branson described as a “Rump”.

This group “decided that the Chancellor should be advised there would be a risk that if he did not resign a motion would be put to Council for him to be stood down during the (ICAC) investigation”.

“The Deputy Chancellor requested that the Chancellor meet with her at her home on 26 April 2020.

“At that meeting the Chancellor was advised that for the good of the University and for his own good he ought to consider resigning. Otherwise a recommendation would be made to the Council that he be stood down.

“The Deputy Chancellor also advised him that she wished to become Chancellor.

“The Chancellor was given a fait accompli. If he did not resign he would be stood down. That would have been extraordinarily embarrassing for him.

“On 27 April 2020 the Chancellor resigned. On 30 April 2020 the Deputy Chancellor met with the Vice-Chancellor and told him that I was investigating his conduct and that a resolution would be taken to Council to stand him down. He took leave.

“I do not think that the Chancellor should have been put in the position in which he was put. I do not think my investigation could have embarrassed him or the University such that he needed to resign. However, he elected to put the University’s interests about his own by resigning.”

Branson said this afternoon that her actions were “entirely proper” to “preserve the integrity of the ICAC investigation” and to “reduce embarrassment to staff and council members who might be required to give evidence about the Chancellor’s conduct”.

“I did not give the then Chancellor any such ultimatum,” she said.

“I did not ask him to resign – I pointed out to him that… a recommendation would go to Council, that he be stood aside during the course of the inquiry, but that he might find it preferable, given he was nearing the end of his term, to bring the end of that term forward.

“The choice was for him, he had a senior lawyer with him when we discussed this matter, no immediate decision was made.

“He made the decision to bring the end of his term forward.”

Scarce, who earlier told InDaily he was “having a detailed read of the report”, later released a statement saying he welcomed “the conclusion of the Independent Commissioner’s investigation”.

“In doing so, I would like to express my sincere regret for the hurt and embarrassment caused to the two women at the core of this matter,” the former Chancellor and one-time state Governor said.

“Any allegation of sexual harassment is among the most serious of any workplace complaint and must be treated as such.

“I am pleased that the matter has now concluded, and that the University can continue to grow and prosper.”


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Nationals secure fee cuts for social work in changes to uni funding package

The Nationals say the government’s sweeping overhaul of university funding will be amended following a party room meeting on Monday, with fee hikes for social work and mental healthcare courses to be spared major fee hikes.

After going public with concerns about the package in recent months, Regional Education Minister Andrew Gee, a Nationals MP, said a number of “improvements” would be made to the government’s funding shake-up, which slashes fees for courses deemed “job-relevant” courses while raising the cost of others.

Nationals minister Andrew Gee says the government will now change the university funding overhaul.

Nationals minister Andrew Gee says the government will now change the university funding overhaul. Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Mr Gee said he made good progress with Education Minister Dan Tehan in recent days and the Nationals had sought changes out of concern for the “great divide that still exists between the city and the country”.

“It goes to the very heart of the National Party’s mission. This includes the divide in educational attainment and also the divide that can still exist in relation to access to services, especially mental health,” he said.

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