Sticks and stones – Attempted coup at auDA flounders on disinterest

By LAURIE PATTON | 28 Jul 2018

The proposition that there’s widespread member concern at the state of auDA – the company managing our Internet domain names – has been dealt a definitive blow.

Firstly, the vote at a Special General Meeting to decide the fate of three directors, including independent chair Chris Leptos, saw them retain their positions. Secondly, voter turnout was extremely low, suggesting most members are at least satisfied that long needed reform is progressing. Thirdly, the disruptive behaviour of a dissident group, appropriately known as the Grumpies, reinforced the view that they and their cause have no merit. Continue reading “Sticks and stones – Attempted coup at auDA flounders on disinterest”

auDA – More questions and answers

By LAURIE PATTON | 26 July 2018

As I’ve previously written, tomorrow in Melbourne a Special General Meeting will determine the fate of three directors of auDA – the company managing our Internet domain names – including the independent chair Chris Leptos.

I recently published a Q&A with Cameron Boardman, the CEO of auDA, and subsequently a list of questions for the Grumpies – the small group of auDA members that called for the meeting. They have so far refused to answer their questions.

The additional information below has been supplied by auDA for its members and anyone else interested in the future of our domain names service.

Continue reading “auDA – More questions and answers”

Let’s meet, then please move on – Reforming auDA

By LAURIE PATTON | 25 July 2018

“The process of registering and administering Internet domain names under the .au top level domain must be managed with full integrity and transparency of process and decision-making to ensure this public resource supports the needs of all Internet users and stakeholders”.

This statement from Internet Australia chair, Dr Paul Brooks, sums up why a number of Internet industry players are speaking out against a board spill at a Special General Meeting of auDA – the company managing our Internet domain names – to be held in Melbourne on Friday. If you have a website you’ll have dealt with one of the companies that sell domain names to the public. They all operate under the authority and supervision of auDA.

Continue reading “Let’s meet, then please move on – Reforming auDA”

Public servants, political appointments and good government

By LAURIE PATTON | 19 July 2018

We need to inject some ultimate responsibility into public administration. The buck has to stop somewhere.

What was recently perceived in some circles as two highly political appointments to plum roles in the federal public service highlights a need to re-examine government administration in the 21st Century. Not because these appointments were necessarily inappropriate, but because they exposed a basic disconnect.

We still like to pretend we have an olde-worlde apolitical public service consisting of career bureaucrats who have no political leanings and/or are never influenced by them. If this was ever the case, it is no longer.

Continue reading “Public servants, political appointments and good government”

Ending trickle down economics

By EMMA DAWSON | 19 July 2018

John Kenneth Galbraith once described trickle-down economics as the theory that “if you feed enough oats to the horse, some will pass through to feed the sparrows”.

In Australia today, as in so many other developed nations where trickle-down economics has been ascendant for the last three decades, the horses have grown very fat, and the sparrows are starving.

Continue reading “Ending trickle down economics”

From the chair – Transforming auDA to build .au

By CHRIS LEPTOS | 17 July 2018

I have been watching with dismay the online commentary by a small number of members who seem determined to undermine the good work of auDA, and by extension the .au community.

They are entitled to have their views. However, we should also acknowledge that auDA does not exist just for some of its outspoken members. auDA is a vital part of Australia’s digital infrastructure. auDA is also a quasi-regulator of the .au namespace with over a million unique registrants, and many millions more who rely on a safe and stable .au domain. Continue reading “From the chair – Transforming auDA to build .au”

auDA latest – All quiet on the western front (for now, at least)

By LAURIE PATTON | 3 July 2018

As I’ve written previously, the Australian Government has given auDA – the company managing our Internet domain names – three months to develop new processes to redress historical weaknesses in its governance. The organisation has been mired in controversy in recent years. For quite some time, though, it had been seen as a tightly held fiefdom under the control of a board of directors elected from within the industry and fraught with conflicts of interest.

auDA brought in a team of external facilitators to run a member consultation session. Only about a dozen people showed up in person and about the same number attended online. This suggests to me that claims of widespread disquiet among the auDA constituency might be a tad overblown. Continue reading “auDA latest – All quiet on the western front (for now, at least)”

NBN: Won’t be finished on time. Simple as that!

By LAURIE PATTON | 22 June 2018

In my opinion, the National Broadband Network will not be completed until everyone has access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband. On that basis the rollout will take us well beyond the projected deadline of 2020.

What’s worse, it will end up having cost more than the original 2009 version and far more than then communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, was told to expect when he adopted the so-called multi-technology mix model.

The people who advised the Government back in 2013 are the ones to blame (see postscript), as are the current NBN Co board members who refuse to concede that what they are now building is a dud.

Continue reading “NBN: Won’t be finished on time. Simple as that!”

ABC – You can’t privatise an organisation that doesn’t make a profit!

By LAURIE PATTON | 20 June 2018

The ABC earns around $100 million a year from its commercial activities (mainly ABC shops). Its annual operating budget is more than a billion dollars. The organisation would not exist without the triennial funding provided by taxpayers. You can’t privatise a business that doesn’t make a profit.

Ironically, while the ABC-haters with their ideological objections to public broadcasting would like to see it privatised, there would be little or no appetite from the commercial television sector for starters.

Continue reading “ABC – You can’t privatise an organisation that doesn’t make a profit!”

Six major issues that dominate public life today and require resolution

By JOHN MENADUE | 19 June 2018

There are six major issues that dominate public life today and require resolution. Those issues are: the dire consequences following the Iraq invasion, tax cuts during the mining boom that result in continuing budget deficits and debt increases, the threat of climate change and increased carbon pollution, the NBN debacle, hostility to refugees and asylum seekers, and problems with foreign influence and political donations which are producing an anti-Chinese sentiment. Continue reading “Six major issues that dominate public life today and require resolution”