At Murdoch University the Senate is the governing body and is subject to the Murdoch University Act 1973. The role of senates was described in 1995 in the Report of the Higher Education Management Review Committee ("the Hoare Committee"):
- Good governance promotes better performance. All of Murdoch's stakeholders are entitled to demand performance, fairness, transparency, accountability and appropriate disclosure from the Senate. This dictates that a comprehensive professional focus on effective governance must take high priority.
- The Senate recognises that it is not always easy to distinguish between what is properly governance, and therefore the responsibility of the Senate, and what is management. The Senate adopts the following as a useful starting point in differentiating between the two roles:
There is a world of difference between governance and management. Governance involves the responsibility for approving the mission and goals of the institution; the oversight of its resources; the approval of its policies and procedures; the appointment, review and support of its president; and an informed understanding of its programs and activities. Management, in contrast, involves the responsibility for the effective operation of the institution and the achievement of its goals within the policies and procedures set by the board; the effective use of its resources; the creative support and performance of teaching, research and service; and maintenance of the highest standards of scholarly integrity and professional performance. The responsibility of a board is to govern but not to manage. “Noses in, fingers out” remains sound and tested advice to board member.
- As part of its ongoing commitment to improving Murdoch's governance standards, the Senate has adopted this Statement of Governance Principles. The purpose of this Charter is to set out the guiding governance principles and practices that should be upheld at all times. The Charter is also intended to bring together the policies and procedures that the Senate adopts from time to time and which form part of best practice governance.
University Chancellors Council
Murdoch University is a participant of the University Chancellors Council (UCC). The UCC comprises Chancellors of all public, not-for-profit universities within Australia. The UCC is used as a means for university Chancellors to discuss key issues and current events surrounding the tertiary education sector in Australia.