Questions Raised Over auDA CEO’s Academic Qualifications

A request for information to verify the academic qualifications of auDA CEO Cameron Boardman was been made to the Australian Department of Communications and Arts Sunday.

The request has been made through Freedom of Information legislation to the Department of Communications and the Arts. The requests asks “Does the auDA CEO Blair Cameron Boardman have the qualifications of MBA (Monash) and LLM (La Trobe)?” The request goes on to claim that there are no public records to show that Boardman, CEO of Australia’s country code top level domain (ccTLD) policy and regulatory body since August 2016, has the qualifications he claims and which were mentioned in the news release announcing his appointment on 1 August 2016.

Domain Pulse does not suggest Boardman does not have the qualification he claims, only that questions have been raised. Domain Pulse is also not suggesting it is common practice for academic qualifications to be disclosed and makes no comment on what Boardman should or should not have done.

Freedom of Information requests to the Australian government can be made anonymously, and the FOI request was made in the name of “James Andrewson” which could be a nom de guerre.

There are 3 requests – one was sent to the Department of Communications and the other 2 to the Monash and La Trobe universities where Boardman claims to have studied. However Domain Pulse understands that universities are not covered by FOI requests. For the request to the Department of Communications, Domain Pulse understands the wording of the request means it won’t succeed. As the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner says on its website, “Individuals have rights under the FOI Act to request access to government documents.” It goes on to say that “The FOI Act only applies to information held in the form of a document.”

The Department of Communications has until 22 May to respond to the request which will be before a proposed Special General Meeting is scheduled to be held to have a vote of no-confidence in the auDA CEO and to remove the 3 Independent Directors, including Chair Chris Leptos.

auDA has been in a constant state of chaos since Boardman’s appointment with the current call for an SGM being the second in less than 12 months, the first leading to the then Chair Stuart Benjamin before a vote could be held. A constant turnover of staff and Directors, including another director resigning last week and a scathing government review into auDA’s operations with the government saying auDA is “urgent reforms are necessary” and, according to a statement by the Minister for Communications “The central finding of the review is that auDA’s current management framework is no longer fit-for-purpose and reform is necessary if the company is to perform effectively and meet the needs of Australia’s internet community.”

* Disclosure: the writer was an auDA Board member (2005 to 2007), served on 3 auDA Names Policy Panels (2007, 2010 and 2015), was a supplier to auDA for 14 years and is now a supplier to Neustar providing online media monitoring services.