auDA members to vote on new governance package

By LAURIE PATTON | 5 September 2018

auDA – the company managing our Internet domain names – will hold a special general meeting later this month in order to secure approval for a new constitution and other changes to governance arrangements. This follows a demand for reform after a review by the Department of Communications and the Arts found the organisation no longer fit-for-purpose.

According to auDA CEO Cameron Boardman, “The Government has only given us three months to complete the reform process. This member meeting is necessary in order to secure approval for a new constitution. If the new constitution is approved we’ll hold an AGM under the new model in order to meet the minister’s timeframe”.

As I have previously noted,  auDA has been mired in controversy for many years, with the overall impression being it was subject to too much influence by vested interests, including an inner circle of what are called ‘domainers’ – people who buy and sell domain names, often extracting large windfall profits by hoarding unique names that subsequently command a premium. The DoCA report highlighted the risk of board “capture” and communications minister Mitch Fifield has insisted on a majority of independent directors on the next board.

In a statement sent out yesterday, auDA said members “will be asked to approve a new constitution that gives effect to a number of the 29 recommendations in the Department of Communications and the Arts review of the .au Domain Administration. In the next 24 hours, all members will also receive an email from Link Market Services containing details on how to lodge proxy votes”.

The SGM will be held in Melbourne on 27 September 2018. Ahead of the meeting auDA has provided to members a comprehensive package of information. This includes the proposed new constitution, a charter for a nominations committee to oversee the appointment process for directors, a new board charter and a board skills matrix designed to increase board diversity.

The auDA statement continues:

As part of our ongoing work to meet the government’s recommendations, the following documents are now available for public comment.  To provide feedback on these documents please email reforms@auda.org.au. Submissions close 10am, Wednesday 26 September 2018.

.  Draft Strategic Plan – A document outlining auDA’s proposed 5-year strategic direction

.  Draft Enterprise Security Strategy – Describes our strategy for strengthening the security and stability for .au

In the next week, auDA will also be presenting the following policy documents for public consultation:

.  Draft Corporate Policy – Process for the Development and Review of auDA Published Policies

.  Update to Mandatory Terms and Conditions Applying to .au Domain Name Licences Policy

.  DNSSEC Policy Practice Statement

.  Update to Domain Renewal, Expiry and Deletion Policy

Furthermore, auDA will also be issuing the following documents over the next few weeks:

.  Draft Stakeholder Engagement Plan

.  auDA 2.0 Vision Statement

.  Transparency and Accountability Framework

All of the above documents will be available at www.auda.org.au/publiccomment

(Laurie Patton is a member of auDA and the former CEO / Executive Director of Internet Australia. He is currently advising Afilias Australia, the company appointed to take over the management of the .au registry for auDA from 1 July 2018. However, the views expressed here are his own and have not been endorsed by Afilias.)