Mr Gary Smith

Chancellor of Murdoch University

Mr Gary Smith was appointed the seventh Chancellor of Murdoch University and Chair of the University Senate on 8 August 2019.

A highly regarded businessman and community leader, Mr Smith is the former Chairman of Partners at KPMG Western Australia with decades of management consulting experience in large scale program management, strategy and leadership initiatives.

As Chancellor, he brings access to extensive national and global networks and a strategic focus to help Murdoch University deliver its bold research, infrastructure and learning agenda.

Mr Smith’s community work includes advocacy for reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Western Australians in his role as Co-Chair of Reconciliation WA.

He is also a current Director of the WA Aboriginal Leadership Institute (WAALI), a Founding Director of the Committee for Perth and a participant in the Hawaiian Ride for Youth.

Mr Smith holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University and is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.


University Profile

Since it opened its doors in 1975, the University has delivered many outstanding achievements and grown to become a world-class, research-led university with over 23,000 students, including 2,000 overseas students from 90 countries studying in Perth and another 8,000 studying offshore at our campuses in Singapore and Dubai, and approximately 2,000 staff.   Over 70,000 people have graduated from Murdoch, including hundreds of Indigenous students.

The University’s Strategic Plan 2017-2027 sets the purpose of the University to be a creative force for current and future generations. This is underpinned by two core goals – to provide an outstanding education experience for every student leading to our graduates being innovators fully prepared for their future careers; and to provide life changing solutions to complex world challenges.

Murdoch University is distinguished by a long and proud tradition of delivering quality research expertise across multi- and trans-disciplinary areas, with a commitment to fostering ongoing research partnerships and collaborations. While, by world standards the University is comparatively small, many of its academics are world leaders in their areas of expertise, and thus it is well placed to meet its vision as a leading international research-led university pursuing excellence in select fields of expertise.  The University has international standing as a leading institution in grain research, animal health and biosecurity and has established joint Australia-China research centres in these areas.  Murdoch University has been recognised as a world-leader in agriculture, medical research and physical chemistry.

The University has a long tradition of delivering high quality learning and teaching to a wide range of students from diverse backgrounds and ages.  The student body at Murdoch is diverse, comprising approximately fifty per-cent mature-age students and many students who are first in family to attend University. The University has developed a reputation for flexible learning, innovative curriculum and supportive learning environment aimed to deliver well-rounded graduates with the 2st century skills required for the global knowledge society. Murdoch University consistently works to provide an excellent, vibrant and diverse learning experience for students. The University serves a global audience of learners on three continents.  High quality learning and teaching lies at the heart of our mission.  The learning and teaching strategy sets an ambitious vision for continued improvements to infrastructure, curriculum, delivery of learning and teaching and support services.

Murdoch University is active in local, regional and international community engagement to cultivate knowledge partnerships.  These collaborations aim to promote discussion and debate on matters such as food security, sustainability, health futures and cultural enrichment through the arts, humanities and social sciences in line with the University’s Strategic Plan.

To find out more, visit the Murdoch University website



Murdoch University Senate

The Senate’s role and responsibilities:

2.2.1  The Senate’s role and responsibilities are derived from the Murdoch University Act 1973 (WA) (Murdoch Act) Section 17 and specific resolutions that the Senate has passed.

2.2.2  The Murdoch Act permits the Senate to delegate any of its functions (other than its power of delegation and making statutes, by-laws and regulations).

2.2.3  The Senate has resolved that it will have the following, primary responsibilities:

  1. The appointment and performance management of the Vice Chancellor;

  2. Setting strategic directions for the University;

  3. Monitoring University  performance  against  strategic  objectives,  including, through the Vice Chancellor and Academic Council, the academic activities of  the University;

  4. Setting risk management policy and critically monitoring the management of risk across the University, including commercial undertakings;

  5. Setting policy on strategic matters and on other matters reserved for Senate

  6. Setting and monitoring broad budget and planning frameworks, approving the annual budget and business plan, ensuring that the University finances are sound and taking major financial decisions;

  7. Oversight of management;

  8. Overview of any incorporated entities with limited liability, and of which the University has majority ownership or control (“Controlled Entities”);

  9. Legislative role, including ensuring that the University is acting ethically and in conformity with all legal requirements; and

  10. Setting risk management policy and critically monitoring the management of risk across the University.

Membership of Murdoch University’s Senate is as follows:

Ex-Officio Members

Mr Gary Smith – Chancellor (to 7 August 2022)
Professor Eeva Leinonen – Vice-Chancellor
Professor Parisa A. Bahri – President of Academic Council

Appointed Members – Governor

Mr Peter Kerr (to 21 December 2021)
Ms Rebecca Tomkinson (to 19 November 2021)
The Hon Carmel McLure AC QC (to 29 April 2022)

Appointed Members – Senate

Mr Gavin Buckingham (to 17 August 2020)
Ms Ricky Burges PSM (to 10 March 2021)
Mr Ross Holt – Deputy Chancellor (to 9 June 2020)
Mr Ross Hughes (to 1 September 2020)
Ms Colleen Hayward AM (to 31 May 2022)

Elected Members

Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk – Academic Staff (to 11 March 2021)
Ms Julie Whitlock – Non-academic salaried staff (to 8 April 2021)
Mr Kombo Mashumba – Undergraduate Student (to 31 December 2019)
Mr Deneegan Subramanian – Postgraduate Student (to 31 December 2019)
Mr Roland Belford – Graduate of the University (to 31 December 2020)
Mr Abby Agrawal – Graduate of the University (to 31 December 2021)


Other Governing Bodies

Other Governing bodies within the University include:

Audit & Risk Committee

Chair – Mr Gavin Buckingham

Chancellor’s and Nominations Committee

Chair – Mr Gary Smith, Chancellor

Honorary Awards & Ceremonial Committee

Chair – Mr Gary Smith, Chancellor

Resources Committee

Chair – Mr Peter Kerr

Academic Council

Chair – Professor Parisa A. Bahri