What’s Going On At auDA?

The latest Board Minutes from the auDA Board Meeting held on 20th June make for interesting reading.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for the first item on the agenda – the “Board in Camera Session”. This is where things get discussed that the Directors don’t want their staff or the general auDA membership to know about (until they’ve decided on a course of action)! No wonder there appears to be a lot of dissension from some quarters.

Once again, I read between the lines, and put my own interpretation on what has been “officially” reported.

What is readily apparent is that some of the accusations levelled over the past year about potential conflicts of interest from certain Directors have hit home. As regular readers may recall, I have written a series of articles about this in the past. Back in April, I wrote this: “When Does A Conflict Of Interest Exist?”

Item 3 – Continuous Disclosure

auDA’s lawyers (Maddocks) have obviously been engaged to tidy things up. In my opinion, some of the horses may have already bolted!

“In accordance with advice from Maddocks regarding the Board’s consideration of registry operations and the overall implementation of direct registrations, directors made the following disclosures of interest by email to the Board”.

You then read a series of disclosures from each Director. Some interesting snippets:

  • The illustrious Chair Stuart Benjamin is “flat out like a lizard drinking”.
  • I was surprised to see that Simon Johnson has less than 100 .au domains.
  • Given past comments made by Erhan Karabardak about how important the issue of implementation of direct registrations is going to be, I was also very surprised to see that he has excluded himself from the decision making process.
  • At first blush, George Pongas appears to have also excluded himself (which is absolutely the correct thing to do). However, he seems to be having a dollar each way – he reserves the right to re‐enter discussions and vote on resolutions ‐ i.e. related to the matter of implementation of direct registrations in .au. Hmm!
  • Melbourne IT’s Kartic Srinivasan also appears to be a reluctant abstainer – he reserves the right to make a decision to vote on resolutions relating to .au after discussion with Board & Maddocks.

Item 6 – 2016-2017 Budget

This item will make some people happy:

“It was agreed that auDA’s accounting services would be put out for tender once the permanent CEO had been appointed”.

Item 7 – CEO Report

  • The October 2016 Board meeting has been rescheduled to Monday 10 October to be held in conjunction with the 2016 auIGF. Wonder when the Annual General Meeting is going to be?
  • Mention was made of government agencies that have an interest in .au domain name issues. I note that Annaliese Williams (Assistant Director, Internet Governance at Department of Communications) was an observer at this Board Meeting. Hope she takes note of all opinions regarding “direct registrations” – and takes an interest in proper consultation with potentially affected parties.
  • Standby – membership and stakeholder road shows are coming to a centre near you. 😉

Item 10 – Cameron Ralph Report

On the face of it, this is potentially a game changer. Have a read.

Item 13 – Membership

We can’t win. Everyone (including the auDA Board), is keen on increasing membership. So when some of us go out there and beat the drum to our constituencies and generate many membership applications, this is the comment that appears in the Minutes (bolding is mine):

“The Board noted the unusually high number of membership applications received since the last Board meeting. It was agreed that issues regarding the potential for membership stacking and capture are a matter for the Risk Committee to review and report to the Board in due course”.

Item 14 – Ratification of Independent Directors Appointments

Movement at the station perhaps? Looks like we could have some new Independent Directors sometime in the near future?

Conclusion

Not one mention in the Minutes of an implementation working group for direct registrations as was originally assured. What’s going on I wonder?

There was another Board Meeting yesterday (with the new CEO in attendance), so maybe us “mere members” will find out soon.

Ned O’Meara – 16th August 2016


Disclaimer

Disclaimer 2

12 thoughts on “What’s Going On At auDA?

  • Avatar
    August 16, 2016 at 10:46 am
    Permalink

    Thanks for the great summary Ned.  Interesting reading for sure.

  • Avatar
    August 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm
    Permalink

    Fascinating summary

  • tim
    August 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm
    Permalink

    it reads like an agatha christie novel !

    membership stacking? no, people found out there was something called auda that is effecting their online business and they could become members to have a say.

    “unusually high number………..” oh my god…… they found our secret sect.

     

    tim

  • Avatar
    August 16, 2016 at 4:54 pm
    Permalink

    Great summary Ned.

    I was truly amazed at the power auDA had over the entire Australian domain name industry when I first dipped my toe into this industry over two years ago.

    It is great to see there have been a lot of new membership signups over the past few months. That being said, it is distressing to see the latest auDA board meeting minutes:

    The Board noted the unusually high number of membership applications received since the last Board meeting.  It was agreed that issues regarding the potential for membership stacking and capture are a matter for the Risk Committee to review and report to the Board in due course.

    So, auDA encourage new members to get involved in having a say about the future of auDA one minute, but then get scared when lots of people start signing up and declare dodgy membership stacking? What?

    Also, I think a lot of people are beginning to question the way .au direct registrations have been pushed into existence.

  • Avatar
    August 17, 2016 at 9:26 am
    Permalink

    “The Board noted the unusually high number of membership applications received since the last Board meeting.  It was agreed that issues regarding the potential for membership stacking and capture are a matter for the Risk Committee to review and report to the Board in due course.”

     

    People have recently joined because of conflicts on interest within the current AUDA board which became very apparent with the .au vote. I wonder does AUDA have any intention of acting on what was a tainted board vote?

    • Ned O'Meara
      August 17, 2016 at 10:58 am
      Permalink

      @Paul – re potentially tainted vote. There was obviously concern, otherwise they wouldn’t have gone to Maddocks for an opinion. But I guess we will never know. 🙁

      • Avatar
        August 17, 2016 at 11:20 am
        Permalink

        Cheers Ned.

        From what I have read a board vote where a voter has a conflict of interest open things up for that decision to be challenged in court.

        http://www.millsoakley.com.au/managing-conflicts-of-interest-at-board-level/

        Is AUDA willing to push ahead on the basis of a doubtful vote? This is a decision that will cost corporate Australia $10m+ per year on the low end (as you pointed out in you “Follow the Money” article) so I don’t know if AUDA is going to have a clear path given the tainted initial vote.

        “If decisions are made by the board that involve a conflict of interest, then there is the possibility that the decisions will be legally challenged”

         

        • Ned O'Meara
          August 17, 2016 at 2:50 pm
          Permalink

          Thanks for that link Paul.

          The fact that they got an opinion from Maddocks after “conflict of interest” accusations were levelled indicates to me that the issue is potentially “in play”.

  • Avatar
    August 17, 2016 at 9:37 am
    Permalink

    Top job Ned. Would love to see the advice provided by Maddocks. Is something like this ever available to members?

  • Avatar
    August 17, 2016 at 1:25 pm
    Permalink

    “Membership stacking” <- funniest thing I’ve heard this year.

  • Avatar
    August 17, 2016 at 7:58 pm
    Permalink

    “J Hammer noted it may be beneficial to do a complete review of auDA’s Constitution to address a range of organisational issues including membership and Board structure.” 

    I’d like to be on that committee. How many other counties have a quota for money grabbers…. I mean supply side directors? Why is there a quota?

Comments are closed.