The University of Newcastle, Australia

Ministers and Shadow Ministers celebrate the University of Newcastle’s 50th anniversary in Parliament House

Friday, 27 November 2015

Senior Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet members have joined Senators and Members of the House of Representatives at a celebration of the University of Newcastle's (UON) 50th anniversary in Parliament House Thursday 27 November.

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training; Senator the Hon. Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Industry; and UON alumnus Senator the Hon. Arthur Sinodinos, Cabinet Secretary, joined fellow Parliamentarians, alumni, staff and students of the University in the Parliament to round off a year of celebrations.

Minister Birmingham praised the University's commitment to equity and excellence, saying UON's track record was "an outstanding accomplishment that the University should be proud of."

The University enrols approximately a quarter of its students from disadvantaged backgrounds, admits the largest number of Indigenous students of any university in Australia, and achieves comparable success rates for students from all walks of life. It combines this focus with excellence in education, research and innovation.   

Citing UON's global rankings, Minister Birmingham praised the University as one that is "world-recognised as an institution of excellence."

Senator the Hon. Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, described the achievements of the University of Newcastle as "quite phenomenal".

The Senator referenced the most recent Excellence in Research for Australia outcomes, where the University was in the top 8 nationally for the amount of research it conducts that is well above world standard. 

"It's an extraordinary achievement for a University that has been at the centre of tremendous social change," said Senator Carr. 

Minister Sinodinos described the University as "integral to the vision" of a strong Hunter region and the emergence of Newcastle as a "global city". 

Reflecting on his own experiences as a student at the University, Minister Sinodinos said students choose UON because they will get a "world class education".

"I just wish every student had the opportunity to go to a University which really puts you at ease," said Senator Sinodinos.

Professor Caroline McMillen, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, said the University's Parliamentary celebrations underscored the importance of research-intensive universities in regional Australia to drive opportunity and prosperity.   

"We are delighted that so many Ministers, Senators and Members joined our alumni, staff and students in Parliament House today to celebrate the great outcomes the University has delivered for our regions and for Australia," said Professor McMillen.

"World-class research and innovation is a national priority. The University of Newcastle stands ready to partner with Parliamentary colleagues in building a competitive and agile knowledge economy for Australia, including regional Australia."

Proposing a toast to the University and its next 50 years, Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon MP, praised the University's "centrality to the future of our regions", and paid tribute to "the tremendous minds and talents and the wonderful creative spirit of people at the University of Newcastle."

Members of Parliament registered to attend the celebration included:

  • Senator The Hon. Simon Birmingham – Minister for Education and Training
  • Senator The Hon. Kim Carr – Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Industry
  • Senator The Hon. Richard Colbeck – Minister for Tourism and International Education
  • The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP – Shadow Minister for Agriculture (alumnus of the University)
  • The Hon. Luke Hartsuyker MP  - Minister for Vocational Education and Training and Deputy Leader of the House (alumnus of the University)
  • The Hon. Amanda Rishworth MP – Shadow Assistant Minister for Education
  • Senator The Hon. Arthur Sinodinos – Cabinet Secretary (alumnus of the University)
  • The Hon. Bob Baldwin MP – Member for Paterson
  • Sharon Claydon MP – Member for Newcastle
  • Pat Conroy MP – Member for Charlton
  • Dr David Gillespie MP – Member for Lyne
  • Jill Hall MP – Member for Shortland (alumna of the University)
  • Senator Bill Heffernan – Senator for NSW
  • Senator Bridget McKenzie – Senator for Victoria
  • Karen McNamara MP – Member for Dobell
  • Senator Deborah O'Neill – Senator for NSW (former staff member of the University)
  • Lucy Wicks MP – Member for Robertson

For more information visit

Related news