Visitor, Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet) & Chair of Foundation for Effective Markets and Governance, Australian National University

Allan Asher is a visitor at the ANU Regulatory Institutions Network and is Chair of the Foundation for Effcetive Markets and Governance.He was appointed as Commonwealth Ombudsman in 2010 and resigned from the role in late 2011 following a controversial briefing about agency funding.

He has been an outspoken consumer advocate and campaigner for some 40 years.

Before becoming Ombudsman, Mr Asher was the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the peak advocacy body for communications consumers. ACCAN campaigned for the radical improvement of phone and internet complaint handling systems and for better and fairer access to communications for those with disabilities.

Prior to his ACCAN, Mr Asher spent ten years in the UK, as Director of Campaigns and Communication with the Consumers' Association, and as a board member of the Office of Fair Trading. He also worked for the global non-government organisation Consumers International, and from 2003 to 2008 was CEO of Energy Watch, a statutory body which protected consumer rights in the deregulated energy market.

At Energy Watch (now part of Consumer Focus), he helped curb inappropriate conduct by energy companies that included cutting off customers power during Britain's freezing winters and using high pressure tactics to bully people into signing unconscionable contracts.

Before leaving for Britain in 2000, Mr Asher spent thirteen years at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and its predecessor agency, the Trade Practices Commission (TPC) as Deputy Chairperson, Energy Commissioner and Chair of the Enforcement Committee.

Earlier in his career he work for Australia's Overseas Telecommunications Commission (OTC) and as a Senior Executive at the Australian Consumers' Association.

Mr Asher is admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor to the High Court of Australia.

Experience

  • –present
    Visitor, Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet), Australian National University