auDA, Australia’s .au domain name administrator and regulator, will continue its reform process following the approval of a new Constitution by members at today’s Extraordinary General Meeting.
Members voted overwhelmingly to approve the new constitution which will see a new governance model introduced.
In April this year the Department of Communications and the Arts released its review of auDA – the first such review in 17 years – which found the governance arrangements were no longer fit for purpose.
Following months of stakeholder engagement a new constitution has been developed which will see a two year transition to a single class of member, as opposed to the previous “Supply” and “Demand” class members, open to any applicant who has a demonstrable link to Australia.
This link will be satisfied if a member is eligible to register an open or closed existing Second Level Domain (2LD). This will require most members to either operate an Australian business or be a permanent resident of Australia.
Recognising that diversification of the membership will take some time, there will be a "transitional period" during which there will be a closed group of "Governing Members" and an open group of "Associate Members".
During the transitional period, which will be a maximum of two years and may be shorter if the number of Associate Members reaches 12,500, Associate Members will be able to vote on a ballot of "Elected Directors".
After the transitional period and subject to member’s consent, auDA will revert to a single-membership class.
The new Constitution will also usher in a new of level corporate responsibility with a board model that features six “independent directors” including the chair and four “elected directors” by the Associate Members, all of whom will have been approved by a Nomination Committee, having been selected on the basis of the board skills matrix.
The Nomination Committee will initially consist of those persons appointed by the Board on the recommendation of DoCA, initially comprising the auDA Board chair as chair of the Nomination Committee and representatives from each of industry, the business sector, consumers, auDA members and government.
auDA CEO, Cameron Boardman, heralded the changes as a turning point for the administration of the .au namespace.
“The government review was adamant that auDA must reform itself to meet the needs of the 21st century”, he said.
The Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator The Hon. Mitch Fifield wrote to auDA on the release of the auDA review stating unequivocally that:
“Australia’s ccTLD is a public resource and it is imperative that the .au namespace is appropriately managed in the interests of all Australian internet users.”
“Today’s reforms guarantee that requirement.”
“As the backbone of Australia’s digital economy auDA is now in an even better position to manage the internet in the interest of all Australians.
“Coupled with the introduction of a new registry operator, Afilias Australia, which now provides DNS servers in every capital city and our $12 million marketing, innovation and security fund auDA is now placed to the serve the interest of all .au users.
“auDA is now fit for purpose and ready to grow with the .au namespace as the digital economy spurs use of the internet.
“auDA has always adopted a multi-stakeholder approach to reform and policy development and the creation of the new constitution has been no exception.
“With an expanded membership the multi-stakeholder model will have an even more critical role to play.
“The future for auDA with a new constitution and an expanded membership augurs well for the development of the .au namespace.”