Murdoch University is suing an academic after he blew the whistle on falling admission standards.

Associate Professor Gerd Schröder-Turk spoke to Four Corners for an investigation into international student admissions which aired in May 2019. He said that universities are setting students up to fail when they enrol those without the necessary language skills. He also expressed concern for their wellbeing and for the integrity of teaching at Murdoch.

Two days after the program aired he was told that he would be removed from his position on the university senate due to his public comments.

Schröder-Turk commenced legal action against the university seeking to prevent disciplinary action. In response, the university launched a cross-claim against him, seeking damages for the lost revenue that it claims resulted from his comments.

The university is also seeking the names of the journalists that he spoke to and the dates on which he did so. In order to gain whistleblower protections under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003 (WA), Schröder-Turk was required to raise the matter internally and then give the university six months to complete an investigation before going to the press.

Update, 19 February 2020.

Murdoch University announced on 12 January that it would drop its cross-claim against Schröder-Turk. It continues to defend against his legal action.

Date of incident May 2019
Target Gerd Schröder-Turk
Affiliation Murdoch University
Type Lawsuit
Location Perth, WA
Last updated 19/02/2020


May 6 2019
  • ABC airs Cash Cows investigation
May 8 2019
  • Murdoch University allegedly informed Schröeder-Turk he would be removed from the university senate for his public comments
May 28 2019
  • Schröeder-Turk filed a statement of claim under the Fair Work Act
September 27 2019
  • Murdoch University filed notice of a cross-claim
February 12 2020
  • Murdoch University dropped its cross-claim


Further information

Worthington E., O'Neill S. and Selvaratnam N. 2019. Universities ignoring own English standards to admit more high-paying international students. Four Corners, ABC News. 6 May 2019.

Worthington E., O'Neill S. and Selvaratnam N. 2019.When large numbers of students started failing, alarm bells started ringing for academics. Four Corners, ABC News. 7 May 2019.

Commonwealth Courts. Case file WAD303/2019 Gerd Schroder-Turk v Murdoch University.

Schroder-Turk v Murdoch University [2019] FCA 1152. 29 July 2019.

Schroder-Turk v Murdoch University (No 2) [2019] FCA 1434. 30 August 2019.

Worthington E. and Taylor K. 2019. Four Corners whistleblower sued by Murdoch University after raising concerns about international students. ABC News. 11 October 2019.

Knaus C. 2020. Murdoch University drops plan to sue whistleblower over student exploitation comments. Guardian Australia. 12 January 2020.