I Hate To Say It – But …

My prediction back in August 2017 has proven correct.

In my opinion, auDA’s Policy Review Panel (PRP) simply did not have enough industry representatives from inception. Add to the mix two recent resignations, and the PRP now only has 3 representatives left plus the Chair (from the initial Panel). ** For such an important mission – probably the biggest in auDA’s history – I believe the PRP can no longer effectively and fairly deliver recommendations that have a wide range of stakeholder input.

Paul Zawa from the ACCC resigned on the 27th March – statement here.

And yesterday, Luke Summers, the Demand Class representative also resigned – official statement here. What is more telling though are his reasons as to why he resigned, and his resignation statement has been published on his own website TheLuckyCountry.com.au. Luke is one of the most intelligent and decent young men I have ever met, and so his letter is worth reproducing here. The “powers that be” should take note of his comments.

Resignation-from-the-2017-Policy-Review-Panel Luke Summers

Lack Of A Business Representative

** Of particular note is that until yesterday, the PRP had not filled the “Peak Business Body Representative” position. Not having someone from “Business” on the PRP since inception is in the opinion of many a big mistake. Business – particularly SME’s, would be the group most affected by any changes in the .au landscape.

Yesterday, an announcement was made that Nicola Seaton from Canstar has been belatedly appointed in this role – statement here. Whilst Ms Seaton’s integrity and credentials are certainly not in doubt, many people are already wondering how she (as another lawyer on the PRP) is a “peak body representative”?

And isn’t her appointment a case of too little; too late? She hasn’t had the benefit of all the debates around the table since last September; plus the submissions and the public forums – and here we are almost at the 11th hour.

My Opinion

I think auDA would be wise to eat some “humble pie”, and start again with the Policy Review Panel when it comes to direct registrations.

But this time, do the business case study first. Then make sure the panel is a lot more representative of the Australian internet and SME community, and finally, keep it disciplined. It’s one thing to have a strong point of view around the private table, but it’s not helpful if one of the panel publicly attacks and criticizes certain groups whilst it is still deliberating.

Ned O’Meara – 10th April 2018

2 thoughts on “I Hate To Say It – But …

  • Avatar
    April 10, 2018 at 11:11 am
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    The appointment of Nicola seems like a hurried reaction to criticism to me.

    Whilst she is no doubt an excellent lawyer she is simply not a “peak body representative” and obviously she is in the wrong position on that panel.

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  • Avatar
    April 12, 2018 at 7:51 am
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    Ned wrote:
    “Of particular note is that until yesterday, the PRP had not filled the “Peak Business Body Representative” position.”
    “Paul Zawa from the ACCC resigned on the 27th March …”

    Below I make some additional points.

     
    Peak Business Body Representative & Small Business Representation
     
    I note that it has taken many months to announce the appointment of “a peak business body representative” to the Policy Review Panel. auDA announced on 27 Jul 2017 the appointment of the Chair of the Panel and on 8 Aug 2017 that the Panel membership would include “a peak business body representative”.

    I hope the peak business body representative and/or other Panel members will be engaging with two peak business organisations that speak with authority on behalf of their many members – predominantly small business chambers and associations, which collectively represent many tens of thousands of Australian small businesses.

    The two peak business organisations are:
    (1) Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Australian Chamber); and
    (2) Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA).

    To give an indication of the scale and coverage of these two organisations, I list their membership below, as reported on their websites.

    Representative of a government regulator

    I also note the absence of “a representative of a government regulator” on the Panel, following the recent departure of the ACCC representative.

    It is important that the ACCC’s regulatory views on consumer protection and competition policy in relation to issues before the Panel are publicly known.

    It would give credibility to the Panel’s recommendations, if the ACCC were to:
    – offer a replacement representative; or
    – at least, make a public submission to the Panel outlining its views on key regulatory issues before the Panel.

    Concluding comments

    In the absence of informed and published positions from the ACCC and the two peak business organisations on key Panel issues, Panel recommendations and consequential auDA decisions may lack credibility.

    In forming positions on .au Panel issues in the early 2000s the Australian Chamber and Small Business Coalition (convened by the Chamber) undertook comprehensive consultative processes with members, with the assistance of the Small Enterprise Telecommunication Centre Limited (SETEL, now defunct). SETEL was substantially funded under Commonwealth legislation to represent and advance the interests small business as consumers of telecommunications and ecommerce services. Disclosure: I was a consultant to SETEL and the Coalition and member of auDA’s first two Panels during 2000 & 2001.
     
    Ian Johnston
     

    List of members of two peak business organisations:

    (1) Members of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    Source: http://www.australianchamber.com.au/membership/current-members/ (accessed 28 Mar 2018)

    “The Australian Chamber has a network of over 115 business associations made up of peak state and territory chambers of commerce, national industry associations from all sectors, and the Business Leaders Council.”

    Members listed on the Australian Chamber’s website:
     
    Business SA
    Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland
    Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia
    Chamber of Commerce and Industry Northern Territory
    Canberra Business Chamber
    New South Wales Business Chamber
    Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “… the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the State.”

    ACCORD
    Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors’ Association
    Animal Medicines Australia
    Association of Financial Advisers
    Association of Independent Schools of NSW
    Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry
    Australian Automotive Dealer Association
    Australian Dental Association
    Australian Beverages Council
    Australian Dental Industry Association
    Australian Gift & Homewares Association
    Australian Hotels Association
    Australian Institute of Credit Management
    Australian Made Campaign
    Australian Meat Processor Corporation

    Australian Mines and Metals Association
    Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
    Australian Paint Manufacturers’ Federation
    Australian Recording Industry Association
    Australian Retailers Association
    Australian Self Medication Industry
    Australian Steel Institute
    Australian Tourism Export Council

    Australian Beverages Council
    Australian Dental Industry Association
    Australian Federation of Employers & Industries
    Australian Gift & Homewares Association
    Australian Hotels Association
    Australian Institute of Credit Management
    Australian Made Campaign
    Australian Meat Processor Corporation
    Australian Mines and Metals Association
    Australian Paint Manufacturers’ Federation
    Australian Recording Industry Association
    Australian Retailers Association
    Australian Self Medication Industry
    Australian Steel Institute
    Australian Tourism Export Council

    Australian Tourism Industry Council
    Australian Trucking Association
    Australian Veterinary Association
    Boating Industry Association
    Bus Industry Confederation
    Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals
    Caravan Industry Association of Australia: “… peak national body for the Australian caravan and camping industry representing over 4000 industry businesses ranging from caravan parks, manufacturers and retailers of industry products, suppliers of goods and services, and service providers.”
    Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia

    Chemistry Australia
    Chiropractors’ Association of Australia
    Consult Australia
    Council of Private Higher Education
    Cruise Lines International Association
    Customer Owned Banking Association
    Direct Selling Association of Australia
    Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia

    Financial Planning Association of Australia
    Fitness Australia
    Franchisee Federation Australia
    Housing Industry Association
    International Society of Primerus Law Firms
    Large Format Retail Association
    Live Performance Australia
    Master Builders Australia

    Master Plumbers & Mechanical Services Association of Australia
    Medical Technology Association of Australia
    Medicines Australia
    National Disability Services
    National Electrical and Communications Association
    National Employment Services Association
    National Fire Industry Association
    National Online Retail Association

    National Retail Association
    National Roads and Motorists’ Association National Roads and Motorists’ Association
    NSW Taxi Council
    Outdoor Media Association
    The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
    Phonographic Performance Company of Australia
    Printing Industries Association of Australia
    Restaurant & Catering Australia
    Recruitment, Consulting & Staffing Association
    Screen Producers Australia
    The Tax Institute
    Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce: “Represents the interests of over 5000 Victoria automotive businesses.”
    Academies Australasia
    Airbnb
    Academies Australasia

    American Express
    Angus Knight Group
    Archerfield Capital Partners
    Argus TrueID
    Australian Hearing
    Australian Eggs
    BRI Ferrier
    Brown & Chase
    Campbell Page

    Certica
    Citrus Group
    City Tattersalls Club
    Commonwealth Bank
    Corrs Chambers Westgarth
    Crown Resorts
    Designer Rugs

    DXC Technology
    Dymocks
    eftpos
    Employers Mutual Limited
    Energy Industries Superannuation Scheme
    Football Federation Australia
    Gallagher
    The GEO Group Australia

    Google Australia & New Zealand
    Intelledox
    Interact Injury Management
    Investec Australia
    Ive Group
    IQ Group Globe
    Isentia
    JLL
    Laureate International Universities
    MasterCard
    National Heart Foundation
    Netlinkz
    Pfizer
    PremierState
    Procurement Australia

    ResMed
    Samsung Australia
    Sanofi
    Southern Cross Group Services
    SPAR Australia
    Sydney Airport
    Telstra

    Thales Australia
    The Star Entertainment Group
    Thorn Group
    Uber
    Universal Business School Sydney
    Visa

     
    (2) Members of the Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA)
    <www.cosboa.org.au/members> (accessed 28 Mar 2018)

    Australasian Association of Convenience Stores
    Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association
    Australian Booksellers Association
    Australian Business Software Industry Association
    Australian Communications Consumer Action Network
    Australian Equipment Lessors Association
    Australian Institute of Business Brokers
    Australian Hairdressing Council
    Australian Human Resources Institute
    Australian Livestock and Rural Transporter Association
    Australian Newsagents’ Federation
    Australian Taxi Industry Association
    Business Enterprise Centre
    Commercial Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia
    Convenience and Mixed Business Association
    Craft Beer Industry Association
    CITT
    Family Business Australia
    Farmer Power
    Hair and Beauty Australia
    Independent Small Business Association
    Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
    Master Grocers Australia
    National Credit Providers Association
    National Security Association Australia
    Pharmacy Guild of Australia
    Post Office Agents Association Limited
    Real Estate Institute of Australia
    Stocktakers Institute of Australia
    Tasmanian Small Business
    The Australian Digital Television Industry Association
    The Hub
    The Small Business Institute

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