Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:45

.au change put off; govt orders auDA to meet review terms Featured

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The au Domain Administration, the organisation that administers the Australian domain namespace, says it has put off changes in domain suffixes to .au until the second half of 2019 at the earliest, following a government review finding that the current management framework was no longer fit for purpose.

In a letter to members, auDA chair Chris Leptos said that this decision had been taken following the release of the review of auDA by the federal government today.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said in a statement: “The central finding of the review is that auDA’s current management framework is no longer fit-for-purpose and reform is necessary if the company is to perform effectively and meet the needs of Australia’s Internet community.”

Dissatisfaction within the ranks of auDA broke out into the open earlier this month when one member, Jim Stewart, the chief executive of StewArt Media, led a call for the ouster of auDA chief executive Boardman, chair Chris Leptos and directors Sandra Hook and Suzanne Ewart. Leptos has said last week that the practices of several former auDA directors had been referred to the police in Victoria.

The major irritant was the decision by the board to change Australian domains from .com.au and similar suffixes to .au.

As iTWire reported earlier today, the government has accepted all 29 recommendations of the review. They focus on:

  • reforming auDA’s management framework;
  • supporting effective stakeholder engagement;
  • outlining the role and expectations of the government; and
  • fostering greater trust and confidence in the .au namespace.

The government has also released its terms of endorsement for the authority and asked auDA to provide, within 30 days, an implementation plan to demonstrate how it would achieve compliance with these terms by April 2020.

Fifield said if this was not forthcoming, he would look to appoint some other entity to manage the .au namespace.

Leptos said in the letter: "The review outlines a roadmap for a series of important reforms, and your board is committed to guiding auDA through that reform process.

"It is a historic opportunity to reset auDA’s relationship with its members and stakeholders, and with the federal government. It is a process that will require comprehensive engagement over a period of at least 12 to 24 months.

"The minister has requested a written response from auDA within 10 business days. We will seek the minister’s consent for auDA’s response to be provided to you as well."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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