Australian Govt. may Float EOI to identify new administrator for .AU should auDA fail to demonstrate substantive reforms

The Turnbull Government has released the findings of the review into Australia’s .au domain. The not-for-profit .au Domain Administration (auDA) oversees the operation of Australia’s .au domain, has been embroilled in leadership crisis for over two years resulting in a moderate leadership turnover.

In 2017, the government opened a public cconsultation that would give a raft of recommendation of how to resolve the AUDAs administration issues.

The review results have been made public even as the former AUDA CEO Chris Disspain admitted in an interview that mistakes had been made during his leadership and that it

The relationship between the current auDA leadership and its members and stakeholders may be irretrievably broken. For the greater good of .au it may be sensible for a new, interim, leadership to be established to shepherd auDA through the government’s recommendations bringing the members and stakeholders with them on the journey.

Former auDA CEO and now ICANN Vice-Chair Chris Disspain
Former auDA CEO and now ICANN Vice-Chair Chris Disspain

The Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, said

“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.”

The review makes 29 recommendations which focus on:

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

All recommendations have been accepted by the Government.

“The Government’s review is timely to ensure the right framework is in place so that Australia’s .au domain administrator is modern, fit-for-purpose and supports the interests of Australia’s internet users,” Minister Fifield said.

“The Government has issued modernised terms of endorsement to auDA, reflecting changes to the digital landscape. These terms of endorsement outline the Government’s expectations and provide auDA with the mandate to make the necessary reforms to its governance arrangements.

“The Government expects to see significant progress within the next 3 to 6 months from auDA in implementing these changes.”

The Department of Communications and the Arts will work closely with auDA’s management on the implementation of the new terms of endorsement.

The report, public submissions, the new terms of endorsement and the Minister’s letter to auDA’s Board Chair are available at

In his letter, Minister Mitch concluded;

In the event that auDA fails to demonstrate progress in achieving the necessary reforms, I will instruct my Department to undertake a public expression of interest process in the future to identify other entities that could administer .au

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