Today marks massive changes to the future of the .au domain name space.
For 17 years, auDA’s membership base has existed in two formats, Demand Class and Supply Class.
Today, that membership structure ended.
Most notably, there are now Governing Memberships and Associate Memberships, with Associate Memberships now being FREE.
auDA wrote the following:
auDA Dear auDA members,
At the Extraordinary General Meeting held today in Melbourne, auDA members in both classes voted to adopt a new constitution.
As a consequence, ‘Supply’ and ‘Demand’ membership classes no longer exist.
You can read the new auDA constitution here: auDA Constitution
What has changed?
Developed as part of auDA’s response to the Department of Communications and the Arts’ (DoCA) review and with considerable stakeholder consultation, the new auDA Constitution contains significant changes to the way auDA membership works.
There are now ‘Governing Members’ and ‘Associate Members’.
Governing membership is limited to those on the Nomination Committee, which oversees selection and assessment of candidates for board positions. The Governing Members are the members of the company under the Corporations Act.
Associate membership is an open class of membership available to every legal person who meets the eligibility criteria. Associate Members will be able to vote for the four member-elected director positions but are not members of the company under the Corporations Act.
Previous members of auDA – in Demand and Supply classes – may qualify for Associate membership.
After 24 months or when auDA reaches a threshold of 12,500 Associate Members (whichever occurs first), Associate Members will be given the option of consenting to becoming governing members.
What do I need to do?
Previous Supply and Demand Members are not required to take any action at this stage.
Over the next few months auDA will contact each previous member to enquire as to their interest and eligibility to take up Associate membership. Until such time as each previous Supply and Demand member is contacted and validated, they will automatically be transferred to Associate membership on an interim basis.
As Associate membership of auDA is free, members will also be contacted with options regarding their membership fees paid for the current year (2018-2019).
What’s next for auDA?
While the new constitution is now in effect, time is required to set up the Nomination Committee (which will be subject to DoCA approval) and appoint new board members. Interim arrangements will be in place while this happens and we will keep our stakeholders informed of our progress.
Read about the constitutional changes and interim arrangements here: Constitutional Changes FAQ
A bright future for .au
We’re extremely excited about the future of auDA and .au.
These changes are some of the biggest in auDA’s history. We thank all the members and stakeholders who worked with us to achieve them.
We hope that you continue on as an Associate Member of auDA. The .au namespace is the backbone of Australia’s digital economy and relies on your input to take it forward.
auDA also mentioned that The Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator The Hon. Mitch Fifield, now sees auDA as “Fit For Purpose” again:
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 with have 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.”