Friday, July 10, 2009

NBN Board speculation

The main stream media is now getting right into the NBN Board speculation game, with both the Oz and the SMH joining the fray.

Nothing particularly new or insightful. A great worry from the SMH story is the suggestion that a lawyer might get a start - I have a firm view lawyers are not needed on Boards. Every Board member should be well enough appraised of their own legal responsibilities and it is a failure of governance for the Board as a whole to rely on the legal expertise of one director. In brief, the most use that the director with legal quals can provide is to advise his/her fellow directors is that they should get legal advice from their law firm – but the directors cannot rely on the advice of their legally trained colleague when he/she advises them not to do so. So lawyers add no technical benefit.

Far from their touted belief that legal training provides a disciplined thought process of use in wider fields, in reality their training is very restrictive to a certain kind of linguistic deductive process that is anathema to creative thinking.

This doesn't mean that a lawyer should be excluded, just that they shouldn't be chosen so there is a lawyer. The suggestion that the author of the Australian competition law "bible" would be the lawyer is particularly odd, given that we'd hope the structural separation of the NBN means it is not embroiled in competition issues.

I'm finding the speculation numbing. I made my contribution on who should be appointed. Speculating on who will be is just column inches for bored journalists.

No comments: