auDA, Put Up Or Shut Up!

There are a number of Directors on the current auDA Board (as well as the “newish” CEO) that take great delight in disparaging the previous regime under CEO Chris Disspain – as well as some of his senior management. The common mantra from the new administration is that they had to take control of our members organisation in order to save it from the sins and mistakes of the past.

This sort of talk is straight out of “Politics 101” – blame the previous administration for all the supposed woes – and promise to do whatever it takes to get the house back in order. Given there are 3 staunch Liberals at the helm of auDA (Chair – Stuart Benjamin; Deputy Chair Erhan Karabardak; and CEO Cameron Boardman), it’s not surprising to me that this tactic is in play.

The brain drain and knowledge base at auDA has been eroded in a controlled explosion over the past 12 to 16 months. The human cost has also been staggering as this article indicates.

But It’s Far Worse Than That

Some fairly serious accusations have been made (snidely, but not publicly) about possible financial irregularities and lack of proper corporate governance in the past. I’ve been told to my face that there were / are forensic accounting reports being conducted into the financial affairs of auDA during the period that Chris Disspain was CEO. If this is the case, are they also implying that the former Chair (The Hon. Tony Staley AO) was complicit in this? Former Directors? Previous senior management? Accountants, auditors and legal representation? Previous Company Secretary?

The current Chair of auDA recently wrote to me in response to various emails and letters I had sent him about certain matters. There was one particular quote that stood out. This is what Stuart Benjamin said (bolding is mine; spelling and grammar mistakes are his):

“Since becoming Chairman of the board of auDA, it has been my specific and dedicated commitment to improve the governance, professionalism and performance of the organisation. Compared to what I inherited, the organisation is now meeting it (sic) legislative and governmental obligations and the commitment to ongoing reform has been discussed publically (sic) many times.”

Putting aside the supposed “financial irregularities”, this a serious accusation that Benjamin now raises – specifically, a failure of previous Boards / management to meet legislative and governmental obligations.

Time To Put Up Or Shut Up

Now it’s fair to say that I wasn’t a fan of Chris Disspain – but I think it extremely unfair for this sort of innuendo to be floating around. It potentially affects the credibility of many decent and honest people – including past Directors and staff.

It’s one thing to say that Disspain was profligate in his spending habits whilst at the helm of auDA – it’s another to imply “irregularities and lack of governance”. So please – show us the proof – or get off the bandwagon once and for all.

Speaking of spending habits, I’d love to see who from auDA has made trips to where in the past 18 months so we can do a comparison. Sadly, that information is not available to members due to a lack of communication and transparency. But Twitter and Facebook give some serious clues. Perhaps a case of the pot calling the kettle black?


If auDA was a mess before, well I prefer that to the current situation! At least you knew there was proper process being followed when it came to policy development and procedures. As they say, you don’t appreciate what you had until it has gone.

The buck stops with you Mr Benjamin – you’re the Chair; and this has all happened on your watch. You need to reign in your CEO – in the opinion of many, he’s the one responsible for the current level of angst amongst both Supply and Demand members. When “thought bubbles” can become policy after little scrutiny, then you know there is a serious problem.

In my opinion of course.

Ned O’Meara – 13th July 2017



14 thoughts on “auDA, Put Up Or Shut Up!

  • July 13, 2017 at 10:33 am

    The reality is the old management was far better regarded than the new.

    11 people like this.
  • July 13, 2017 at 11:54 am

    A little warm and cuddly road show to registrars doesn’t cut the mustard. Since decision on AusRegistry, trust has evaporated.

    11 people like this.
    • July 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      It is very re-assuring to hear this from the supply side.

      But, as the auDA Board and management are well aware, this is a numbers game and they are putting all of their chips at the table that affords them the best odds.

      They only need to sway a handful of supply members to potentially save the Chair.

      As I alluded to in another comment, at least I can be very confident that the experience, business nous and significant financial investment (and risk) of supply class members will make them a very tough audience for the Spin Doctors.

      But shame on auDA for trying such an obvious stunt anyway. It is an insult to both membership classes.

      9 people like this.
  • July 13, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    When the new auDA CEO Cameron Boardman tells certain industry people stories about the (alleged) conduct of the old auDA CEO (his actual words to me were far worse than this), this raises serious questions about the previous auDA Administration, Board of Directors, Auditors, Lawyers etc.

    It also raises serious questions about what the new auDA CEO, auDA Board, Lawyers have done about it, and why no such information has been provided to the Government and auDA members.

    If I was the old CEO, an ex auDA staff member, an ex auDA lawyer, an ex auDA director, an ex auDA auditor, I would be deeply concerned about the statements and accusations made by the replacement auDA CEO and the replacement Chair. I’d certainly demand an explanation.

    Please note all auDA Members have a $100 liability as part of their auDA membership.Many members may not be aware of this risk to themselves.


    Publisher Note – this comment has been modified from the original.

    11 people like this.
    • July 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      I know that the auDA Chair has made similar comments about the (alleged) conduct of the former CEO to a wider group of stakeholders (much to the collective shock of his audience).

      Airing dirty laundry in this way undermines the legacy and historical reputation of .au. It has the potential to damage professional reputations. It also raises questions about the professionalism and general conduct of current leadership (to steal a phrase from Ned: in my opinion only).

      It does not matter how many administrative boxes are ticked in the most recent “Vote No” missive from auDA when the quality of overall strategic leadership can potentially be brought in to question.

      10 people like this.
  • July 13, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Stuart and Erhan were on the the “old” board too.

    11 people like this.
    • Scott.L
      July 13, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      Since 2012


      Stuart and Erhan are also on the Governance Committee 


      The Governance Committee is to ensure that there is a robust and effective process for evaluating the performance of the Board, and to ensure that the board fulfils its legal, ethical, and functional responsibilities.



      5 people like this.
  • July 13, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I’d just like to point out they’re all Victorian Liberals.


    It makes the dots easier to connect.

    10 people like this.
  • July 13, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Everyone can see through this erratic rant where the “Jobs for the Boys” is still so easily in view.

    Are all the auDA Board and auDA Staff unanimous in calling for auDA members to vote against resolution 4?

    The auDA Chair Stuart Benjamin and the auDA CEO Cameron Boardman need to both resign immediately for the good of all now…ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    This is is now making world news.

    The biased mishandling by Ceo Cameron Boardman and auDA Board shows the clear Conflicts of Interest when “mates give jobs to their mates”..

    13 people like this.
    • July 13, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      “Erratic rant” is a great description.

      The auDA Board’s response to Members is a simple administrative checklist.

      It is a list of CEO functions – not strong claims of organisational achievement attributable to the Chair.

      The only direct claim is their final point:

      Stability and structure is integral to the successful execution of the goals and objectives highlighted. Disrupting the composition of the board will work directly against that.

      In other words: “Please don’t kick out the Chair because it may destabilise our efforts. Which many of you don’t like anyway.”    

      7 people like this.
      • July 14, 2017 at 7:14 am

        Stability and structure 

        7 people like this.
  • July 17, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    I am an ex-auDA Staff Member and this is just unacceptable. If there is some kind of witchhunt going on at auDA, the Witchfinder Generals will point fingers at staff and wonder why we didn’t stop or report any alleged impropriety. Ridiculous.

    All I can say is that we never experienced this level of drama with the old guard in place.

    7 people like this.
  • July 18, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Greetings comrade.

    Just so there can be no confusion: ALL staff that have departed over the last 12 months have not done so of their own free will. None left voluntarily and not one left on happy terms. Had these drastic changes to auDA not occurred, I expect all 10 of us would still be proudly working for the organisation.

    This is why Cameron’s comments at 1:00:08 of the member meet-up video really sting.


    He told bold-face lies in front of members, a camera and a Demand class Board director.

    Sure, different mechanisms were employed in different cases: some people were performance-managed out, others were paid out and others just didn’t have their contracts renewed. So while it wasn’t a case of 10 resignations en masse, it WAS a willful purge on the part of the Chair and CEO.

    It is amazing that, with all of our collective experience, we were all deemed surplus to requirements, not possessing the skillsets required to perform our jobs and unsuitable for the “new” auDA.

    It is tough being an ex-staffer at this time because it is easy to be accused of “sour grapes” and bitterness borne from being dumped. But we all cared deeply about .au and were proud of our jobs.

    I just ask members to keep in mid how brazenly the CEO can lie about these matters when he is next briefing you about the “new regime’s” achievements and plans for the future.

    5 people like this.
    • Ned O'Meara
      July 18, 2017 at 9:39 am

      You ex staff members might enjoy this post. 🙂

      3 people like this.

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