Macquarie U chancellor speaks up for management’s approach  

Martin Parkinson defends university management for not speaking out publicly against the federal government’s funding changes

Megaphone diplomacy is almost always a pathway to failure,” he states in a letter to campus president of the National Tertiary Education Union, Nikki Balnave.

Dr Balnave wrote to the chancellor asking him to comment on the university’s savings measures. Dr Parkinson responded to questions which “go to the governance of our institution” and as such sit with him and the university council.

In particular, he addressed the union concern, “there is no definitive target for voluntary redundancies or the actual annual savings … through hundreds of jobs.”

Dr Parkinson acknowledges “uncertainty can be damaging and dispiriting” and “anticipates” further information on what the conclusion of the present voluntary redundancy round, “might mean for any further reduction in staffing level.”

He responded to a question on why the university executive has not taken a salary cut that “with a very few minor exceptions to address clear anomalies,” the executive has not had a pay rise since January 2019. The chancellor adds he does not expect the executive “to be treated more favourably” on yearly salary adjustments than the rest of the university.

As for defending the university from government policy, Dr Parkinson states VC S Bruce Dowton is “actively involved in advocacy at the highest levels of government … experience has taught me that working quietly, behind the scenes, with well-marshalled arguments is the most effective way of influencing change at the decision-making level of any government.”