The first rule at auDA is… You DO NOT talk about Caroline Fritsch.

Our subject heading today is obviously a play on the famous line from the Fight Club movie when Brad Pitt says; “The first rule of fight club is… you DO NOT talk about Fight Club. The second rule of fight club is…”

In all seriousness though, it appears as though auDA does not want Domainer openly mentioning the name of its own Policy and Strategy Manager (Caroline Fritsch), even when it’s found that this senior auDA employee had effectively engaged in misleading a Government department.

auDA have sent a number of emails to Domainer over the past 5 weeks, in essence, passive-aggressively requesting Domainer not to talk about or mention auDA’s Policy and Strategy Manager, Caroline Fritsch.

Although I have been ignoring the emails from auDA CEO Rosemary Sinclair to date, they are starting to get quite annoying, so, for the sake of public interest for the domain investor and Australian entrepreneur community, I am now going to print below the numerous email requests from auDA asking Domainer not to talk about Caroline Fritsch.

But first, let’s get back up to date with how and why this is happening.

In her latest email (published below), auDA CEO Rosemary Sinclair states;

“I’ve had some recent feedback that a search using the name of one of auDA’s staff, Caroline Fritsch, brings up an article “auDA Manager breaches Code of Conduct”. auDA’s investigation of this matter concluded that the conduct did not breach auDA’s Code of Conduct. I would appreciate your action in removing the use of Caroline’s name in the links and metadata associated with the article on Domainer so that the potential risks to the individual are addressed.”

Well, first of all, I’d appreciate it if Rosemary could let me know WHO is giving her this feedback (“I’ve had some recent feedback“), because I’ve performed some search terms on various search engines and can’t seem to replicate what she’s finding for myself.

Second of all, the article contains Caroline Fritsch‘s name because the article is clearly about something Caroline Fritsch has done. So, I’m still not sure what the problem is?

Next, when Rosemary Sinclair states, “auDA’s investigation of this matter . . . did NOT breach auDA’s Code of Conduct“, what I believe and understand for her to really be saying is that she (Rosemary herself) personally decided that there was no breach of auDA’s Code of Conduct, so… that’s it… case closed, apparently?

Well… no, actually. I don’t think it’s “case closed” at all.

In my opinion, Rosemary Sinclair declaring that the Code of Conduct wasn’t breached by Caroline Fritsch doesn’t do it for me. In fact, I would suggest that auDA or an alternate external body should take another look into this. Perhaps Alan Cameron AO (auDA Chairperson) could take an objective look at all the facts? After all, he was once the Commonwealth Ombudsman!

In this previous article on Domainer (domainer.com.au/auda-ceo-tries-to-stifle-the-truth), Ned O’Meara published a letter from the auDA CEO that stated; “auDA’s new CEO (Rosemary Sinclair) has stifled truth, transparency and accountability,” by dismissing the complaint in the letter he wrote to Rosemary Sinclair (auDA CEO) on the 31st August.

I agree with Ned’s statement above.

Various questions to auDA still remain unanswered to this day in regards to all of the above.

Perhaps the most important question, is when Rosemary Sinclair stated that Caroline Fritsch did “not knowingly make misleading or untrue statements,” because Caroline Fritsch was given “information by a trusted third party that they believed to be true.”

WHO IS THE MYSTERIOUS TRUSTED THIRD PARTY who handed out UNTRUE STATEMENTS to Caroline Fritsch, who then just forwarded those untrue statements on to a government department with no due diligence, which was then unfortunately used against a rule-abiding domain investor from being allowed to own a generic three-letter acronym domain name, when he had already effectively been given permission to retain the domain name by the government body.

*** *** ***

Below you will find various emails sent to Domainer over the past 5 weeks requesting we remove all references to auDA Policy and Strategy Manager; Caroline Fritsch.

Note:
Domainer has no idea what the AAT or any “Tribunal Rules” mean or relate to or what relevance this has to Domainer publishing public interest articles.

Here’s a public question for the CEO of auDA, Rosemary Sinclair.

How would you feel if you got stripped of an asset by someone who had fed incorrect information to a Government Department or other corporation?

Would you expect reparations and an apology? I know I would.

And contrary to what some at auDA think, domain investors and Australian entrepreneurs (who buy numbers of domains) are normal and law abiding people too.

15 thoughts on “The first rule at auDA is… You DO NOT talk about Caroline Fritsch.

  • Avatar
    December 8, 2020 at 5:58 pm
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    Your last question to the auDA CEO nails it Rob. Where is the accountability? They obviously stuffed up, but seem to proud or arrogant to admit it. Life is simple when you put your hand up and own a problem or mistake.

    The bigger picture here is what is the Board doing? Are they simply sitting on their hands while one or two particular people exerts their prejudice?

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  • Avatar
    December 9, 2020 at 5:23 am
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    Could this be the same anti monetisation, anti domainer, anti aftermarket person who has tried to stay in the shadows damaging the trust, confidence, investment, businesses, jobs and more in the .au namespace and wider global economy it detrimentally then affects?

    “Are auDA ataff trying to influence the auDA Policy Review Panel with Crazy Ideas?”
    https://www.dntrade.com.au/threads/are-auda-staff-trying-to-influence-the-auda-prp-with-crazy-ideas.11856

    Internet Commerce Association calls out auDA and biased auDA Policy Review Panels anti domainer, anti domain name Pay Per Click monetisation and domain Leasing, anti domain name aftermarket, anti domain name investment ignorant craziness.
    https://www.internetcommerce.org/auda-management-rejects-wrongful-attempts-to-prohibit-domain-name-investment-in-australia

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  • Avatar
    December 9, 2020 at 6:11 am
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    Rob…..unfortunately I have to agree with auDA
    Public servants are different to business people seeking personal gain
    Having said that people in higher office with a high degree of accountability (politicians, departmental heads, judges) are fair game
    The difficult with subordinates is that we don’t know if they are acting personally or following the organisations internal agenda?

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    • Neddy
      December 9, 2020 at 6:38 am
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      Greg, I have to respectfully disagree with one part of your comment.

      Caroline Fritsch is not a public servant – she is the Manager Policy and Strategy at auDA.

      auDA is a public company, and is supposed to be an accountable and transparent membership organisation (though many would disagree that it actually is).

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  • Avatar
    December 9, 2020 at 7:22 am
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    First Google result for “Caroline Fritsch” is the article. https://domainer.com.au/auda-conduct/ Unless you search with the actual “”, in which case it is *this* article followed by the previous one.

    Feel free to stand your ground, but if their “investigation” actually went beyond the one individual you’re targeting here, you may find yourself in hot water for defamation. I think you’re used to that temperature though! 😀

    They do need more transparent processes.

  • Avatar
    December 9, 2020 at 10:36 am
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    Im not sure how to feel about the current situation. While I feel for Caroline on a personal level, I feel at least as strongly – if not more so – for Ned and the damage he has suffered.

    I can vouch from painful experience that auDA officers and their (purported) actions are subject to considerable scrutiny. Ultimately, (and Ned is right on this point) auDA is a public company vested, by the Australian Government, with the oversight of a very important part of Australia’s technological and economic infrastructure.
    In that regard, staff have none of the protections afforded public servants and at least double the scrutiny- as it should be.

    At least in this case it is a valid questioning of actions and values and not auDA itself turning on a staff member and airing half-truths and misrepresentations when someone dares to blow the whistle!

    Overall, I had hoped .au had moved on from the infighting, instability and stakeholder marginalisation that has become commonplace over the last 4 years. I’ll keep hoping….

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    • Avatar
      December 9, 2020 at 4:29 pm
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      Good point Paul, “it is a valid questioning of actions and values”. You would have thought auDA would have tried to make things right instead of letting it get to this point? It’s looks to me as though Caroline breached auDA’s code of conduct and Rosemary tried to sweep it under the carpet.

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    • Neddy
      December 11, 2020 at 6:30 am
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      Paul, thanks for your comment and support. I hope you and your family are well?

      New article posted today – if you have the time and inclination, I would appreciate your thoughts.

      As an aside, I have it from a reliable source that there are definitely some office politics being played at auDA! A couple of different factions are involved.

      Ned

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      • Avatar
        December 11, 2020 at 6:30 pm
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        Any & every time, Ned.

        Everyone well here – living in a regional town/city does wonders for one’s health and outlook!

        I’m all over your new article and the ombudsman idea. I’m a fan.
        Plus I have some things to add about Robert’s observations relating to Critical Infrastructure
        Comments shortly.

        And you know me – I love my office intrigue and politics! Must chat soon!

  • Avatar
    December 9, 2020 at 11:29 am
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    Truth (justification), and fair comment are two of the absolute defences to defamation. If auDA hasn’t sent you a “Concerns Notice”, then you should be ok.

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  • Avatar
    December 9, 2020 at 2:23 pm
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    A couple of points here.

    1. auDA is the regulator. Their only role is to ensure that registrants comply with policy, specifically the licensing rules. Policy does not, nor should not, discriminate based on individuals or organisations.

    2. Any entity can apply to a government agency for permission to use a reserved word or acronym. This communication is between the agency and the entity. auDA has no right to interfere or offer an opinion, especially a biased one. If the agency gives permission then auDA must grant the license if policy is met.

    It appears, in this case, auDA has overstepped it’s role and should be held accountable. If Caroline Fritsch is the head of department then she should be held responsible.

    Is Caroline one of the people who received a performance bonus this year? Lack of transparency is a major issue at auDA from the Board down.

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  • Avatar
    December 9, 2020 at 4:50 pm
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    It’s right there in Robert’s email to auDA when quotes her as saying “the minister has previously refused domain syndicates” which is just plain wrong. Why did she take it upon herself to say that about a domain investor when it didn’t happen? Why has she not tried to amend what she said or apologise to Ned? Why didn’t auDA try to fix her mistake? Was her mistake deliberate or an accident? Who is the trusted third party that gave her this wrong information about Ned? Does this trusted third party even exist? I take it Ned has now lost the domain name asset because of all this. shame.

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  • Avatar
    December 9, 2020 at 6:22 pm
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    Reprehensible conduct by Caroline Fritsch. Even more disturbing are the subsequent actions of the auDA CEO. In this day and age of accountability, how are Caroline’s actions even remotely acceptable? It’s like she got an Employee of the Month award for sticking it to a domain investor. 🙁

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  • Avatar
    December 9, 2020 at 6:33 pm
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    The Lawyers must be laughing all way to the bank.

  • Scott.L
    December 9, 2020 at 7:18 pm
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    Seriously, what ‘lawyer’ would be silly enough to rely on unverified information from a third party.

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