Should auDA Have An Independent Ombudsman?

What do you think?

If you have a problem with your electricity or gas supplier – or your phone or internet provider – and their management and staff decide you are wrong, you can take your concerns to an independent Ombudsman. You may not be successful, but it offers some sort of safeguard that you are being treated fairly.

Some examples:

If you have a problem with your electricity, gas or water supplier in Queensland, and you can’t resolve it satisfactorily, there is an independent ombudsman called EWOQ you can go to.

We provide a free, fair and independent dispute resolution service for unresolved complaints with your electricity, gas or water supplier.

Similarly, if you have a problem with your phone or internet provider that you can’t sort out, you can go to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

Free and independent phone and internet complaint services

And what if you have a complaint about the actions of a Government department? In many instances, you can go to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. (AAT).

We provide independent merits review of a wide range of administrative decisions made by the Australian Government. We can review decisions made under Commonwealth and Norfolk Island laws. We aim to make our review process accessible, fair, just, economical, informal and quick.

There are many other examples.


What about auDA?

The .au ccTLD is part of Australia’s critical infrastructure, and auDA have been endorsed by the Commonwealth Government to ensure it is a safe, accessible and trusted Australian public asset for all internet users.

Does auDA the Aussie domain name regulator have an independent ombudsman? Unfortunately not. Can you appeal to the AAT? NO!


For instance, if you have a complaint about a registrar or a reseller – or about how auDA management or a staff member handled your concerns or complaint, who can you appeal to? No one. The best you can do without going to Court is ask for an internal review of a decision.

Yes, auDA policing auDA. Not much independence there.

Many stakeholders don’t have the $$$$$ to fund any Court action. And even if they did have the funds, experience has shown that auDA uses OUR registrant fees to fund their side of any action. David versus Goliath – a very unfair and imbalanced situation.

As I wrote back in 2017, the big daddy of worldwide domain name regulators (ICANN) has their own Ombudsman. What do they do?

The ICANN Ombudsman is independent, impartial and neutral. The Ombudsman’s function is to act as an informal dispute resolution office for the ICANN community, who may wish to lodge a complaint about ICANN staff, board or problems in supporting organizations. The purpose of the office is to ensure that the members of the ICANN community have been treated fairly. The Ombudsman is impartial and will attempt to resolve complaints about unfair treatment, using techniques like mediation, shuttle diplomacy and if needed, formal investigation. The Ombudsman is not an advocate for you, but will investigate without taking sides in a dispute. The process is informal, and flexible.


Conclusion

Most people or consumers will ever need the help of an Ombudsman or independent review mechanism. But they do exist in our society to act as a safeguard for those that do.

Why not put this on the agenda for discussion at your next Board Meeting auDA?

What better way to offer transparency and accountability to your stakeholders?

Ned O’Meara – 15th November 2021


2 thoughts on “Should auDA Have An Independent Ombudsman?

  • November 16, 2021 at 7:09 am
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    Yes there needs to be an auDA ( .au name space management provider ) Ombudsman.

    auDA is the current monopoly provider of .au domain names.

    auDA is a public company registered with ASIC: .au Domain Admistration Ltd

    auDA also has Trustee for auDA Foundation. It is funded from .au domain name registrant fees. It started with $2 million from the generic .com.au auction, auDA made massive profits in breach of its Not For Profit status and the ATO got involved.

    auDA Foundation is supposed to report all grants with 3 months of end of financial year. It must also show reports what the grants achieved after 1 year if anything, This has not been done according to their Governing Document Deed for 5 years which is an ongoing breach of clause 12 of Deed.

    http://www.auDAFoundation.org.au look for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020m 2021 grant reports. They don`t exist!
    https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity/0b130f647df5b431982faad4191024e7

    The Commonwealth can and should go to an EOI to replace auDA or do the role themselves as many other countries do such as the Singapore and Malaysia Governments.

    The previous Minister said this was an option and he said auDA was Not Fit For Purpose:
    https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say/review-australias-au-domain-management

    auDA has already opposed the idea and all efforts for an auDA Ombudsman for .au domain name registrant consumers, their auDA subcontractor Registry wholesalers , auDA Registrars or auDA Resellers.

    Why has auDA done all it can behind the scenes to stop the independent oversight of its role and management of the .au domain name space and to stop any progress on an auDA Ombudsman? Because then auDA will have to answer questions they often don’t want people asking!

    auDA Seeks To End Commonwealth Oversight of auDA:
    https://itwire.com/strategy/auda-seeks-to-end-comms-dept-oversight-of-board-meetings.html

    auDA pressures Commonwealth Staff to not attend auDA meeting and to Shut Up if they do come:
    https://www.dntrade.com.au/threads/serious-audas-trying-to-remove-commonwealth-oversight-breaching-auda-icann-commonwealth-agreement.12305/

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  • November 16, 2021 at 12:56 pm
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    Lol. The Golden Rules of AUDA.

    The ability to apply for independent review should be a cornerstone for an organisation like AUDA.

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