auDA CEO and Director Caught Not Declaring Conflict of Interest

auDA logoThe auDA CEO Cameron Boardman has once again been caught out. Not content with hiding key documents from members by deleting historical information from the website, Boardman along with new director Dr. Michaella Richards have also now been caught out not declaring a conflict of interest in that both worked in the Victorian state government, possibly along with Chair Stuart Benjamin, first noted in an article comment on Domainer.com.au.

In October 2016 Dr. Michaella Richards was appointed as a Demand Class member upon the resignation of duly elected board member Miguel Wood. At the time auDA said they would be engaging a recruitment firm to replace Wood. A replacement director needs not be elected. Announcing her appointment in a member newsletter, Boardman also makes no mention of having worked with Richards.

Both Boardman and Richards worked together in the same department at the same time, at least in April 2015. For how long it’s not known. A final delegate list for the AusMedTech2015 [pdf] conference lists both of them working for the Innovation, Technology & Industry Programs department with Boardman as Executive Director and Richards as Director. So obviously the 2 worked together, and would have worked together quite closely given their positions.

Even if a recruitment company was engaged and independently chose Richards, who seemingly has no experience in domain names or any field that could be related, one would expect Richards to declare in her conflicts of interests that she and Boardman had worked together. But no. On attending her first board meeting, and I quote from the meeting minutes verbatim, “Michaella Richards advised so she no disclosures relevant to her role as an auDA Director.” [pdf] I assume that means she has no conflict of interest in her appointment.

Additionally, Richards appears to have never been a member of auDA being not listed as a current member and nor was she a member prior to her appointment. It’s not a prerequisite for directors to be members, but one would assume if one had an interest in auDA and domain names and being a demand class member, one would join. The definition of a demand class member is that the category is “for domain name holders (registrants), internet users and the general public.”

While it’s possible auDA could offer an explanation for either the oversight or the circumstances of Boardman and Richards, and possibly even Benjamin, working together, no comment has been sought from auDA. auDA’s Director Communications, Marketing & Engagement has previously advised by email they “don’t usually reply to requests for blog stories – as is outlined on our website contact page.”