Back when I was CEO of Internet Australia, the not-for-profit peak body representing the interests of Internet users, we attracted criticism via comments published in The Australian newspaper that resulted in legal action.
In The Fifth Estate’s report on the conference, it said: “By 2053, about 89 per cent of all Australians are expected to live in capital cities. As more and more people enter these cities, residents are becoming increasingly concerned with impacts on liveability”.
One of the solutions proposed was to build more public transport systems within cities, and specifically in the case of Sydney to continue the current trend for building new metros.
I’ve recently taken the opportunity to discuss with people what really makes communities smart. The answer, of course, is smart people. Technology will underpin the future as we become an increasingly connected world, but technology alone will not provide all the answers. Indeed it will be the smart use of technology that will make the difference.
The years ago, Internet Australia, the NFP peak body representing internet users, embarked on a mission to foster more informed debate about the National Broadband Network and its importance to Australia’s future. It was – and is – the view of the board and members that we need something better than a network deploying ageing copper wires. Most technology journalists already agreed with that proposition.
It’s time for not-for-profits – their directors and their senior executives – to have a good look in the governance mirror. And it would be a good idea for the members of NFP’s to critically assess the governance practices of their boards.
Too many NFP boards are dominated by people who have hung on limpet-like for too long – precluding others from contributing and defending past policies and practices long deserving review.
Too few NFP directors actually understand modern governance principles.
Keeping boards active and relevant to the needs of their members is a major issue that requires constant vigilence.
Perhaps we even need to look at changing the relevant laws to ensure better governance of the sector?
Earlier in the year the head of the NBN Co, Bill Morrow, was appearing before a Senate Estimates hearing. Asked by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam about his organisation’s habit of blocking people who make unkind comments about his inferior broadband network on social media, Mr Morrow had the first of two ‘brain farts’ in which he gratuitously attacked Internet Australia.
Faced with an important editorial decision, the ABC‘s managing director Michelle Guthrie went to dinner instead.
In my opinion the incident highlighted a lack of understanding of her responsibilities as editor-in-chief, not to mention those of the organisation’s most senior executive. The ABC needs to be exemplary when it comes to news management.