Monday, 27 August 2018 11:54

New auDA model bids to avoid moves to remove directors

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New auDA model bids to avoid moves to remove directors Pixabay

The Australian domain name administrator auDA has released details of a proposed new membership and governance model which will make it impossible for members to petition for a special general meeting in order to try and remove directors whom they feel are not performing their roles.

The model proposes that, over a maximum of a three-year transitional period — after which all members will belong to a single class — members will be classified as governing members and associate members.

At the moment, the organisation has two classes of members: demand class membership is meant "for domain name holders (registrants), internet users and the general public", while supply class membership is for "domain name industry participants (registry operators, registrars and resellers)".

Both these classes will constitute the associate members while the governing members will come from a nominations committee which will approve the board; the latter will be made up of four elected directors elected by the members and six independent directors appointed by the nominations committee.

The associate members will not have the right to call general meetings or vote to remove directors and will have limited rights under the constitution. This means a spectacle like that which happened this year will not eventuate.

The nominations committee will be appointed by the board on the recommendation of the Department of Communications and the Arts. Initially, it will consist of the auDA chair and one representative each from industry, the business sector, consumers, auDA members and government.

After three years, the membership is proposed to be limited to a single class, provided an individual can demonstrate a link to Australia. As to eligibility for membership, an auDA spokesperson said: "...if you're eligible to register a .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, .asn.au or id.au domain name, you'll be eligible for auDA membership."

But if membership reaches 15,000 before the three-year transition is completed, the governing members can opt to transition to the long-term model.

Asked about the fact that the nominations committee and the board appear to have a very close relationship and were not even at arm's length from each other, which might raise suspicions that one might do the other's bidding, the spokesperson responded:

"Concerns about the independence of the nominations committee are unfounded in light of DoCA's indication it will have improved oversight of auDA. Members of the nominations committee will initially be appointed by DoCA and ongoing will include a DoCA representative.

"The nominations committee will have its own charter enshrining its interdependence from the board. There will be exclusions periods for directors and nominations committee members to serve on the board/Committee further increasing its independence. There will public reporting of its minutes and an annual report on its activities. There is formal dispute/complaints resolutions processes in both the new constitution and the nominations committee charter."

The new model has been developed by the organisation's board by the auDA board and reflects input from the Consultation Model Working Group and other parties and will be voted on at the annual general meeting which is to be held in September.

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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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