From the auDA Chair – Building auDA 2.0

By CHRIS LEPTOS | 21 August 2018

For those of you following the review of auDA – the company managing our Internet domain names. auDA’s Chair, Chris Leptos, has released the following statement.

“Dear Members and Stakeholders

It is now 130 days since the Minister for Communications and the Arts (Senator Mitch Fifield) wrote to auDA outlining the 29 recommendations of the review into the .au namespace (the Review). In this time we have published auDA’s Implementation Plan, which details the steps we are taking to meet the new ‘Terms of Endorsement’, in addition to conducting an extensive consultative process through the Consultation Model Working Group (CMWG) on the proposed governance framework and membership model.

A key element of the reforms proposed by Minister Fifield, and agreed by auDA, is that auDA’s Constitution will be updated to reflect modern business practices and governance processes. These reforms are both necessary and overdue, given what is required of auDA in the 21st Century.

On 27 September, auDA members will meet in Melbourne to consider and vote on the new Constitution.

The proposed changes to the Constitution represent the synthesised views from many consultations and feedback sessions, guided by the requirements of the Review, and with the over-arching requirement to deliver stability in the .au namespace. It is true to say that not every piece of feedback was adopted – indeed it would be impossible to do so, as stakeholders have divergent views on most issues.

The CMWG will convene an online Q&A session in the next few weeks so that auDA’s executives and advisers can explain the intricacies of the proposed reforms. This will be an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification.

Prior to the meeting in September, the auDA Board will circulate an ‘Explanatory Memorandum’ and a draft Constitution. The Explanatory Memorandum will succinctly explain the rationale for the proposed changes and transition arrangements. For example, the proposed changes will reflect a commitment to broadening the membership base to better reflect participants in the Australian digital economy. Similarly, stability in auDA will increase confidence in the .au namespace, by allowing the organisation to focus on key strategic and security challenges. Importantly, the Constitution will entrench the multi-stakeholder model by creating a formal role for members and stakeholders to participate in policy development processes for the .au namespace.

The Board will also outline its vision for growing the .au namespace, and for ensuring it retains its reputation as a secure environment for all users of .au domains.

A process of constitutional reform like this often takes several years to conclude, and it is a testament to the auDA team that they have been able to meet all the milestones of the Review, while simultaneously and seamlessly delivering the largest ever registry transition.

I invite you to become part of internet history, by participating in this reform process that will see the transformation of auDA over the months ahead.”

(Chris Leptos AM is the independent chair of .au Domain Administration Limited (auDA), which is the policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the .au domain space.)