Friday, 27 April 2018 11:15

Court gives auDA time until 28 July to hold SGM Featured

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The au Domain Administration, the organisation that administer Australia's domain namespace, has been granted an extension by the Federal Court to hold a special general meeting requested by some dissatisfied members who are seeking to oust the chief executive and three directors.

But the court did not agree to the dates proposed by auDA and instead asked the organisation to hold the SGM by 28 July.

auDA had applied to the Court to have the SGM held at the same time as the annual general meeting, rather than calling it 21 days from 7 April, the day on which the members submitted their letter. It had sought orders that the date for calling the SGM be extended to 31 August and the date on which it was held be extended to 28 September.

In asking the court for the extension, auDA chief executive Cameron Boardman said, in an affidavit submitted to the court:

  • that auDA needed time to react to a government review which was released on 18 April that found the current management framework was no longer fit for purpose; and
  • that the expense to hold such a meeting would be substantial and best avoided.

The court hearing was held on Thursday. Named in the application was current auDA member Joshua Rowe who was a non-executive director from 2001 to 2015. Rowe was unable to be present in court but sent a detailed letter, stating his case as to why the SGM should be held as soon as possible.

Justice Steven Middleton said that the costs auDA had mooted ($70,000) for holding the SGM were irrelevant, but there was some merit in the argument that it had to reply to the Australian Government’s review. Given that, auDA was given time until 28 July to hold the SGM.

Those who have asked for the SGM are seeking the ouster of the chief executive Cameron Boardman and three directors – chair Chris Leptos, Suzanne Ewart and Sandra Hook. The main reason for the members' dissatisfaction is a decision made by auDA to change Australian domains from .com.au and similar suffixes to .au.

Additionally, the members have pointed out that auDA has made no business case for the domain change, that communication and transparency are not what they should be, and that good governance is not being practised.

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

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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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