One faction, led by Jim Stewart, the chief executive of StewArt Media, has called for a motion of no-confidence in chief executive Cameron Boardman and the sacking of directors Chris Leptos — the chair — Suzanne Ewart and Sandra Hook.
auDA says Boardman is appointed by the board and hence cannot be challenged by members. However the other three resolutions will come up at the SGM which is being held only after auDA tried to get the matters raised by Stewart and others considered at the annual AGM and failed.
A change of registry maintainer, from Neustar to Afilias, has ensured that auDA, which is already said to be flush with cash, will have even more money to implement its plans. With the old registrar, auDA was getting $2.25 per domain that was registered while Neustar took $7.15; under Afilias, auDA will get $5.08 while Afilias takes $2.80.
Another indication of the cash surplus that auDA has now is its hiring of veteran PR man Ian Hanke to handle media relations. Hanke, an adviser to the Tasmanian state Liberal government, has been known to charge as much as $934 for a day's work.
He was also an adviser to former Essendon coach James Hird.
It is difficult to understand why auDA, a non-profit that has never been known to have financial problems, needs to keep bulking up its bank balance. But the proposed salary rises, hiring of expensive contractors and resolving matters in court could be reasons for this.
The major irritant for the fight between the auDA factions has been a decision by the board to change Australian domains from .com.au and similar suffixes to .au. This has now been put off to 2019.
In the meanwhile, the board is attempting to meet the demands of a Federal Government review issued in April that found its management framework was no longer fit for purpose. A new framework has been proposed and has to be put in place by April 2020, as per the government's demands.
Given all this, it is doubtful that the SGM on Friday will bring some measure of peace to the auDA ranks.