Today we have a guest post by Scott Long from Melbourne. Scott has been a long time contributor to Domainer and auDA.


Is auDA Practising What It Preaches? – Scott Long; Author

In auDA’s 2020 Annual Report, they affirmed that ASX (Australian Stock Exchange) principles are important to them as an organisation.

The Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations issued by the ASX (the CGPR) set out a contemporary view of appropriate corporate governance standards that are relevant not only to the ASX listed public entities that are required to report against them, but to all corporations interested in good governance practices.

Today, I look at just one of these ASX Governance principles (otherwise this article would be SO long).

In my opinion, auDA are failing their Members when it comes to remuneration transparency and accountability.

e.g – Principle 8 of the ASX Corporate Governance Council Principles and Recommendations (the Principles) require that companies comply or explain their “Remuneration Fairly and Responsibly”.

Recommendation 8.2

“A listed entity should separately disclose its policies and practices regarding the remuneration of non-executive directors and the remuneration of executive directors and other senior executives“.


So What Does auDA Do?

It gives bonuses to Senior Executives, and covers these off with a simple two-line sentence in the October Board Minutes (Item 8):

The Board resolved, on the recommendation of the People & Culture Committee, to accept the CEO’s proposal for Senior Executive Bonus Payments.


  • Good one auDA! How much? Who to? Why?
  • What KPI’s were achieved to get bonus payments?
  • Surely growth in executive remuneration can only be justified by a corresponding growth in the performance of the company?
  • Given that auDA is primarily a membership organisation – and also responsible to many stakeholders – surely this information should be public?

Unlike ASX listed entities, auDA has an Associate membership structure which does not allow its members to vote on executive and auditor’s remuneration – or to hold the Board accountable on any relevant matter. That is absurd.

In light of this absurdity, auDA flaunts the ASX principles like it’s the new vanguard of NFP corporate governance, but stops short in disclosing important matters. E.g; applying ASX principles and the Corporations Act, Section 250R(2) which requires a resolution at the AGM that the remuneration report must be put to the vote.


Then there is the “Pub Test”

As Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry head James Pearson recently said:

At a time when many Australians are out of a job and many people in business are hanging on hoping for restrictions to ease and customers to come back, pay rises for public sector executives don’t pass the pub test.


In Comparison

Nominet is the UK regulator of domain names, and as you can see, it is very transparent and accountable when it comes to declaring income. The big question is why can’t auDA be the same?


In Closing

In terms of accountability and transparency, it’s important to remember that the majority of auDA’s revenue comes from its stakeholders – particularly registrants of Australian domain names.

Surely we have a right to know how you spend our money?

12 thoughts on “Is auDA Practising What It Preaches?

  • Avatar
    November 22, 2020 at 1:54 pm
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    Kinderis says auDA now has 60 employees. How many of these are Senior Execs or managers that are entitled to bonuses?

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  • Avatar
    November 23, 2020 at 7:32 am
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    Wonder who got the biggest bonuses?

    Bruce Tonkin or Caroline Fritsch?

    Anyone get a flash watch as well?

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    • Scott.L
      November 23, 2020 at 1:09 pm
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      Hahahaha….Good questions Alex.

      I wonder whether or not the Government Representative at auDA weighed in on this matter, given the Government view about Senior executive bonuses.

      The Hon Ben Morton MP is the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet

      Mr Morton said.; “It is the expectation of the Government that where agencies have access to bonus arrangements they should exercise restraint to the furthest extent possible in keeping with community expectations,”

      Assistant Minister Morton confirmed that the review is in addition to the ongoing freeze on senior executive remuneration, which is in place in recognition of the current economic circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

      https://ministers.pmc.gov.au/morton/2020/new-wages-policy-commonwealth-public-servants-and-review-performance-bonus-arrangements-senior-executives

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  • Avatar
    November 23, 2020 at 9:08 am
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    auDA’s new expensive website doesnt show the old working auDA website links and materials anymore!!

    How much did auDA pay for the new website and why didnt trhewy go to a tender?

    Whoever did it stuffed up big time.

    https://www.auda.org.au/assets/Uploads/auDA-Board-Meeting-Minutes-19-August-2019.pdf

    Page not found

    Is this a new way to delete the past and hide materials like what auDA did before ?
    https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/au_domain_administration_ltd_boa

    New expensive auDA Logo – done
    New expensive not working properly auDA Website – done
    Delete public access to all old auDA website links and materials – done

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  • Avatar
    November 23, 2020 at 11:26 am
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    Good article Scott.

    Good point Sean, I am having difficulty finding many of the “current” rules and guidelines on the auDA website.

    For example; TPP Wholesale just asked one of my clients to “submit a complaint” to auDA at this location; https://www.auda.org.au/au-domain-names/lodge-complaint/submit-domain-complaint.

    What happens when you go there?

    “Unfortunately, he information you’re looking for isn’t here.”

    They can’t even get the word “the” right on the error page…

    Screenshot;

    auda website down broken

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    • Avatar
      November 23, 2020 at 12:42 pm
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      Bonuses:
      We pay their salary, we expect to know just how much they’re getting paid to run this show.

      Website:
      auDA boasts registration growth during 2020 and yet, Registry reports for 2020 are not available?
      https://www.auda.org.au/industry/au-registry/registry-reports

      Stakeholder engagement:
      A measly 7% of the total 3,500+ Associate members elected Jackie Korhonen to the Board – says it all.

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  • Neddy
    November 23, 2020 at 2:29 pm
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    David Goldstein made a good observation in his blog.

    “One thing that stands out in his comments is Kinderis claiming auDA currently has around 60 staff. If so, one has to wonder what all these people do as even five years ago auDA would have been lucky to have enough staff to field a football team, no matter what your preferred type of football.

    Looking at annual reports, in the financial year ending 30 June 2020, auDA’s wages and salaries expense was $4,018,799 while for the financial year ending 30 June 2015 the figure was $2,070,801. That may not total 60 staff currently employed, but wages and salaries have pretty much doubled in five years. And in that time, .au DUM have only risen slightly, from 2,972,751 as of 30 June 2015 to 3,180,395 five years later, an increase of a little under 7 percent.”

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  • Avatar
    November 24, 2020 at 8:34 pm
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    The new auDA and the new board is worse than before the government review. There is less transparency and less multi-stakeholder engagement than before the government review. Supposedly the government was to review auDA every 2 years. Where are you?

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  • Avatar
    November 25, 2020 at 1:20 pm
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    https://www.communications.gov.au/departmental-news/au-domain-review-released
    “The review’s key finding is that the current management framework is no longer fit-for-purpose.”

    Where are the responsible government bureaucrats?

    On holidays: Annaliese Williams https://www.linkedin.com/in/annaliesewilliams/
    On holidays: Vicki Middleton https://www.linkedin.com/in/vicki-middleton-650013161/
    Gone: Richard Bullock

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