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Has the PPB advisory report been 'leaked' to media?


Top Contributor
There are rumours circulating that the auDA funded PPB Advisory Investigation Report has been leaked to the media and it will be in the news tomorrow.

If this is true:
  1. Who leaked it?
  2. Why?
  3. Was it confidential?
  4. Should members have been provided access to it?
  5. Who had access to it?
  6. Will auDA now release it on their website to the public?


Top Contributor
The focus should be on the serious issues that members have brought up in regarding to the SGM rather than the leaks and whispers sideshow we have now coming from auDA.

Why have registrants not been contact about the .au proposal?
Where is the business case?
Why has auDA allowed the PRP to continue without proper representation of stakeholders?
Where are the minute's for both auDA and the PRP? Months late.

So far auDA's only response has been to try and discredit former staff and directors. The place is badly broken.


Top Contributor
This is interesting? Note the second last paragraph about Confidential information...

Who leaked the information to the media for tomorrow's media story about the auDA PPB Report ( Australian Financial Review?) if there is in fact a news story and if the rumours are true?

"to the extent that you hold information which is confidential to auDA...... you are under a duty not to disclose that information to any third party ...... may result in litigation against you personally.



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Top Contributor
an obvious smear campaign. Today we're told we'll get a business case once they decide how to implement direct AU. I want a business case that justifies why we should implement it.


Top Contributor
"to the extent that you hold information which is confidential to auDA...... you are under a duty not to disclose that information to any third party ...... may result in litigation against you personally.

I bet they won’t do a thing about this.


Top Contributor

  • Disneyland dot com - police asked to probe spending at web agency
The body responsible for overseeing millions of Australian internet domain name registrations has called in Victoria Police to investigate allegations of lavish spending and misuse of expense accounts by some former directors and employees.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have obtained a copies of draft and final forensic reviews prepared by advisory group PPB which allege inappropriate use of expense accounts. It is understood the material has been provided to the police.

The spending detailed in the reports includes luxury accommodation such as $11,500 for a stay in Bali with a family member, meal expenses exceeding $1000 without receipts, credit cards used for cash withdrawals without supporting receipts, a butler service and family tickets to Disneyland.

Staff also racked up $3040 at top New York restaurant Wolfgang’s Steakhouse in October 2014 and $3834 over three occasions at The Point, Albert Park in 2014 and a family trip to San Diego.

The new chairman of the .au Domain Administration Authority, Chris Leptos, wrote to members and stakeholders on April 12, saying in his first week as chairman he was “briefed on a number of practices of several former auDA directors” and concluded that those practices warranted referral to the Victoria Police.

“As you would appreciate, it is not appropriate at this stage to provide further details regarding this matter," he wrote.

Related Article

Business IT
Millions of Australian domain name owners 'ripped off'

auDA is a company formally endorsed by the federal government to administer the .au domain space with the view that the domain space is a public asset that should be administered for the benefit of the Australian community. Its primary role is to maintain the quality of the .au brand and administer regulatory measures and policies.

The referral to police comes against the backdrop of a fresh tussle for control of the board, including a push for the removal of Mr Leptos and two other independent directors and a vote of no confidence in chief executive Cameron Boardman who has been in the job for 18 months.

Former director Josh Rowe, former general manager international and government affairs Paul Szyndler and auDA member, Jim Stewart, have joined forces to requisition a special general meeting to oust the current board. According to Mr Rowe, there are 319 members and so far they had the backing of 30 to 40.

Mr Szyndler was referenced in the PPB report. Mr Szyndler allegedly exchanged his business class airfare for work travel for economy travel for his family to attend an ICANN 51 meeting in Los Angeles in October 2014.

He had personal AMEX charges of $1043 to Disneyland, $898 for accommodation at Californian amusement park Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel and $8012 for flights for his himself and his family.

I got the okay... to do ‘the usual thing'

Paul Szyndler
It says when Mr Szyndler was queried on the AMEX expenses he wrote: “I got the okay... to do ‘the usual thing’ and make personal charges up to the value of the normal business ticket. ... quoted me $11,400.”

Mr Szyndler told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age he was acting within company policy guidelines and that he had done nothing wrong. He said the referral to police only related to directors and that he had not seen a copy of the PPB report. He said his expenses were accountable every month.

The PPB audit found that given the lack of transparent and robust travel policies at the time, these expenses did not contravene the policy, however appeared to benefit staff in contravention of the constitution.
Mr Szyndler said he was trying to bring change at board level because he didn’t believe it was being run in the best interests of the internet community.

It comes as the Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield could as soon as Tuesday release a report into the management of the .au domain. This is expected to include recommendations relating to auDA which is expected to include a series of deficiencies.

It is understood it will either call for a dismantling of auDA and replacement with a new multi stakeholder model or call for auDA to fix itself.

Sources in the industry suggest auDA is unfixable and that the government should withdraw its endorsement of audDA as the authority to manage the .au domain and seek the creation of a new multi-stakeholder peak body with strict governance standards.

auDA is a not-for-profit which gets its funding by taking a fee from websites registered with the ending .au.

auDA has been the subject of a series of reviews over the years, but according to a report by PPB, obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, few recommendations had been adopted by the board. PPB identified 21 governance issues at auDA between January 2014 and August 2016.

The report commissioned in August 2016 by then newly-appointed chief executive Cameron Boardman found “systemic and persistent governance deficiencies".

They include inadequate policies and procedures in relation to travel and expenses, poor board processes and rigour in respect to key operational and financial decisions, insufficient financial management and oversight, a culture of mixing personal and business interests and improper behaviour by members of the management team.

The PPB report said governance failings included breakdowns in control, processes, oversight and culture.

“This appears to have been exacerbated by a close relationship between board and executive team members that allowed these issues to occur, along with a lack of internal audit function and avenue for employees to report inappropriate behaviour.”

Speaking from overseas, Chris Disspain, who was the chief executive of auDA for 16 years, said he couldn’t comment on the PPB report because nobody had contacted him about it and he hadn’t seen the report.

“There is nothing I can say until I see the report but I haven’t done anything wrong,” he said.


Top Contributor
PPB Advisory report ......
Chris Leptos of PPB Advisory become the auDA Board Chair

We receive a member newsletter ... The new chairman of the .au Domain Administration Authority, Chris Leptos, wrote to members and stakeholders on April 12, saying in his first week as chairman he was “briefed on a number of practices of several former auDA directors”

When did Mr Leptos of PPB Advisory know PPB Advisory had been contracted by auDA and was doing the report and the facts of the report?
There do seem to be others from PPB Advisory noted on auDA minutes going back some time.


Personally I find it unusual a person from an auDA Supplier doing a major forensic investigation ( in this case PPB Advisory ) would then become auDA Chair even though extremely capable and well regarded.
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Top Contributor
This sort of activity goes on in the Executive world a lot more regularly than you think.

For me, .AU domain registration is the lease of an asset or property for a period of time. It's importance cannot be underestimated. It's time the government steps in, provides transparency, reviews current registration policy and puts an end to the 'revenue grabbing' direct AU registration.


Top Contributor
Some interesting commentary on auDA's response to the SGM,

"Initially auDA CEO, Cameron Boardman, contacted an auDA Member who had signed the petition. The late night call left the Member feeling threatened and concerned after being questioned as to why they had signed the petition for the SGM.

Then auDA Chair, Chris Leptos AM, wrote to Members to report on his “achievements”. The set of dot points did nothing to allay the concerns raised by Members for the SGM. Leptos went on to point the big innuendo stick at all 48 past .au Domain Administration Ltd. directors in a heinous act.

Someone leaked the auDA confidential, PPB advisory report to the media. The unfair targeting of Paul Szyndler is abhorrent. This behaviour is something that you’d expect from a political party, not those associated with regulating the .au domain name space."



Top Contributor
Can auDA leak the last 18 years of trip reports and full itemised expenditure?

Has .au wholesale pricing been reduced and improved for Registrars, Resellers and au domain name consumers?

Are auDA expenses down and did auDA reduce wholesale pricing in the last 11 years and by how much?

auDA has been used as a "cash cow" and .au domain name consumers have been ripped off for years by the high .a wholesale price and overspending by auDA.

How about the auDA Foundation?

auDA Foundation
"The auDA Foundation is currently being reviewed as part of a reassessment of our community programs. We will let you know our plans, soon."


"Simon Johnson queried the Board’s view on travel expenses, in the 2009- 10 Accounts
Chris Disspain advised that auDA has been increasing its domestic and international outreach activities in line with the Strategic Plan approved by the Board. Domestic travel increases were also due to Board & staff attendance at ICANN Sydney June 2009 and the 2009 AGM in Perth. The Chair assured members the Board would monitor the travel budget".

Living the auDA dream!

"simonajohnsonBig shout out to @qantas and the crew on QF9 for the epic flight. ❤️ the pajamas & having the lounge all to myself. ✈️ #travel #travelblogger #qantas #dubai"

"simonajohnsonOne of those moments in life where you ask yourself; how did I get here? Dinner at the Emirates Palace. ❤️ #luxury #luxurylifestyle #luxurylife #luxurious #luxurytravel #millionaire #billionaire #lux #inabudhabi #emirates #abudhabi #uaem "

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Top Contributor
From the March 2017 Newsletter,

ICANN58 has wrapped up in Copenhagen. Over 348 sessions, the 2086 attendees discussed a wide range of issues affecting internet governance globally, including a focus on the need for more data-driven decision making at ICANN, and support for a more transparent approach by ICANN to discussions and decisions that affect global stakeholders. The auDA operations team was represented by Cameron Boardman, CEO; Helen Hollins, Director Communications, Marketing and Engagement; and Rachael Falk, Director Technology, Security and Strategy, along with Chair Stuart Benjamin and directors Dr Michaella Richards and George Pongas. As with every ICANN, the main conference plays second fiddle to the many meetings convened with ccTLD leaders across the globe and other stakeholders, by way of sharing information and expertise across borders.

Did the old guard used to send 6 people? What would it cost to send that many people, what was the reason for sending so many people?

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 12.14.00 pm.png


Top Contributor
From the March 2017 Newsletter,

Did the old guard used to send 6 people? What would it cost to send that many people, what was the reason for sending so many people?

View attachment 809

  • Business class x 6
  • Expenses
  • Resources, Time costs etc

Where are the trip reports Members and the public can read?
New benefit to .au domain name consumers from auDA attending?


Top Contributor
And assuming the confidential report by PPB Advisory was leaked, it’s a bizarre attempt to discredit those who have been calling for transparency and accountability at auDA, like it had pre-August 2016 when the current CEO commenced. Leaking appears to be the most likely scenario as Domain Pulse understands the report received by Fairfax Media was full of annotations, comments and highlighter pen. Assuming the report was leaked, it would never have been done without the imprimatur of senior auDA staff and/or Board members.



Top Contributor
Did auDA lower the auDA and auDA Foundation compulsory .au wholesale fees ripping off Domain Name Registars/ Resellers and Domain Name Consumers? .....

Did/ will auDA pass on the full 60% lower Afilias price they won the .au wholesale contract with?Why not pass on the full amount 1st July not just some small token reduction?

Millions of .au domain name Consumers, Registrars and Resellers continue to be ripped off by auDA's management of the .au namespace.

Registrar Consumers who have also been ripped off by the high .au wholesale pricing are MUTED . They also want lower auDA fees and they want the 60% new Afilias pricing pass on in FULL... not for auDA to continue to waste money and keep blowing it!
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Top Contributor
What has been the Remuneration of the 3 auDA Chair's for the last 17 years?

I cannot see the Chair remuneration listed or do they get $40,000 like the other independents?

What did the Chair get before over the years?

It is rumoured the Chair position receives higher than the Independents ($40,000 +) but perhaps auDA can very clearly state this on their website so all stakeholders are aware?
  1. Tony Staley
  2. Stuart Benjamin
  3. Chris Leptos
About the auDA Board
The auDA Board is constituted as per Section 18 of the auDA Constitution. The Board is made up of four (4) directors elected by Supply Class Members; four (4) directors elected by Demand Class Members; the auDA CEO (as a non-voting member of the Board); and up to three (3) Independent Directors appointed by the Elected Directors.

Current Directors
Name and Class


Chris Leptos AM

11/2017 – 11/2019

Erhan Karabardak
(Domo Digital)
Supply Class

28/11/2016 - 2018 AGM

Tim Connell
Demand Class

28/11/2016 - 2018 AGM

James Deck
Supply Class

27/11/2017 - 2019 AGM

Suzanne Ewart

11/2017 – 11/2019

Sandra Hook

19/04/2017 - 19/04/2019

Joe Manariti
(SWiM Communications)
Supply Class

28/11/2016 - 2018 AGM

Nicole Murdoch
Demand Class

27/11/2017 - 2019 AGM

Grant Wiltshire
Supply Class

27/11/2017 - 2019 AGM

Demand Class Director


Board Committees

The Board has established the following standing committees:

Security and Risk Committee
  • Suzie Ewart (Chair)
  • Nicole Murdoch
  • Joe Manariti
  • James Deck
Governance Committee
  • Sandra Hook (Chair)
  • Tim Connell
  • Erhan Karabardak
  • Grant Wiltshire
Chairman’s Committee (Incorporating Finance and Audit)
  • Chris Leptos (Chair)
  • Sandra Hook
  • Suzie Ewart
Advisory Committees
The Board has established the following Advisory Committees:
  • Member Constitutional Advisory Committee
    Established to review and make recommendations on potential reforms to ensure auDA's Constitution reflects the organisation's purpose and values
  • Security and Stability Advisory Committee
    The role of the SSAC is to advise and inform auDA on all matters pertaining to the security and stability of the .au domain space: in review
auDA Director remuneration schedule
Effective 27 October 2014

Independent Director
Annual Remuneration: $40,000

Elected Director
Fee per meeting (Board only*): $1,000

*Fees are not paid for attendance at Committee meetings.

Under clause 5h. of the auDA Constitution remuneration of directors is approved by ordinary resolution of the members of auDA in general meeting. The last review of director remuneration was in 2014 and was approved by member vote, with 100% of supply class votes and 93% of demand class votes.

Past Directors
Name Period
Ned O'Meara 27/11/2017 - 03/04/2018
Stuart Benjamin 14/11/2016 - 31/07/2017
Larry Bloch 19/04/1999 - 07/10/1999
27/11/2003 - 18/11/2005
Chris Chaundy 19/04/1999 - 11/11/2002
Vic Cinc 19/04/1999 - 07/10/1999
Chris Connolly 19/04/1999 - 07/10/1999
Patrick Corliss 05/12/2000 - 11/11/2002
Greg Crew 04/09/2000 - 12/02/2007
Ric da Paz 14/04/2003 - 08/11/2004
Sandra Davey 03/05/1999 - 07/10/1999
Kim Davies 19/04/1999 - 18/11/2005
Peter Dean 26/11/2001 - 27/11/2003
Roger Dean 18/11/2005 - 12/02/2007
Kevin Dinn 07/10/1999 - 05/12/2000
Marty Drill 23/11/2006 - 12/11/2012
Brett Fenton 18/11/2005 - 22/10/2007
Gavin Gibson 17/02/2017 - 27/11/2017
David Goldstein 18/11/2005 - 22/10/2007
Julie Hammer 12/02/2007 - 17/08/2016
Ian Halson 26/09/2017 - 27/11/2017
Kim Heitman 19/04/1999 - 12/11/2012
Mark Hughes 19/04/1999 - 05/12/2000
Simon Johnson 28/11/2016 - 24/11/2017
David Keegel 07/10/1999 - 27/11/2003
Amin Kroll 22/10/2007 - 17/10/2011
Cheryl Langdon-Orr 11/11/2002 - 27/10/2014
Paul Levins 17/10/2011 - 30/11/2015
Graham McDonald 18/02/2008 - 20/06/2016
Michael Malone 19/04/1999 - 14/04/2003
Iain Morrison 19/04/1999 - 26/11/2001
Peter Nissen 27/11/2003 - 18/11/2005
Bennett Oprysa 08/11/2004 - 20/10/2008
George Pongas 19/10/2009 - 27/11/2017
Dr. Michaella Richards 10/10/2016 - 14/08/2017
Erica Roberts 07/10/1999 - 26/11/2001
Joshua Rowe 26/11/2001 - 30/11/2015
Peter Shilling 23/11/2006 - 22/10/2007
Rosemary Sinclair 19/10/2009 - 17/10/2011
Tony Steven 22/10/2007 - 19/10/2009
David Thompson 19/04/1999 - 26/11/2001
Dwayne Varey 20/10/2008 - 12/11/2012
Greg Watson 19/04/1999 - 23/11/2006
Liz Williams 05/12/2000 - 11/11/2002
Alex Woerndle 22/10/2007 - 19/10/2009
Miguel Wood 30/11/2015 - 08/08/2016
Kartic Srinivasan 30/11/2015 - 31/01/2017
Tony Staley 04/09/2000 - 31/01/2017
Leonie Walsh 10/10/2016 - 14/08/2017"​

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