Letter from Senator Richard Alston to Stuart Lynn
(4 July 2001)


Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

4 July 2001

Dr M Stuart Lynn 4 July 2001
President and Chief Executive Officer
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
United States of America

Dear Dr Lynn

I am writing to you concerning the requested redelegation of the .au country code top level domain (ccTLD) from its current administrator Mr Robert Elz to auDA. As you are aware the Commonwealth Government recently endorsed auDA as the appropriate entity to administer the .au ccTLD.

A copy of the Australian Government's letter of endorsement to auDA is attached for your information along with a copy of auDA's Constitution which should also be considered in conjunction with the letter.

In accordance with clause 8 of the Governmental Advisory Committee's Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains (the GAC Principles) the following information is provided.

The designated point of contact within the Australian Government is:

Ms Michelle Scott
Regulation Policy
National Office for the Information Economy
GPO Box 390
Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: +61 2 6271 1206
Facsimile: +61 2 6271 1098
Email: michelle.scott@noie.gov.au

The point of contact for the proposed delegee is:

Mr Chris Disspain
Chief Executive Officer
.au Domain Administration (auDA)
GPO Box 1545P
Melbourne VIC 3001

Telephone: 03 9226 9495
Facsimile: 03 9226 9499
Email: chris.disspain@auda.org.au

No timeframe has been specified for which auDA is to be the organisation to administer the .au ccTLD. However, it is implied in the letter of endorsement that the timeframe will be dependent upon auDA's adherence to the conditions set out in the letter and operating within the provisions of its company Constitution. This is confirmed in a recent letter I received from Mr Disspain, CEO, auDA concerning auDA's commitment to clause 9 of the GAC Principles. A copy of this letter is also attached.

The auDA Board comprises a good cross-section of the Internet community, deliberately having representation from the supply and demand side of the industry, representative associations and the Internet community in general. The Board has also appointed two Independent Directors, Mr Tony Staley and Mr Greg Crew. A representative from NOIE attends all auDA Board meetings as an observer and maintains a close working relationship with the auDA Board and its administrative staff.

In light of this I am confident that should a situation arise which would suggest that auDA is no longer operating in the interests of the global Internet community the Government would be made aware of this and actions would be taken to resolve the matter. Guidance would also be sought from ICANN on how best to deal with such a situation.

As a last resort the Australian Government could invoke legislation relating to the self-regulation of the domain name system. Under section 474 of the Telecommunications Act 1997, the Australian Communications Authority may 'declare' and 'direct' a manager of electronic addressing if that manager is behaving in a way that is anti-competitive, contrary to consumer protection, or otherwise unsatisfactory.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the significant contribution made to the domain name system by Mr Robert Elz, particularly with regard to his administration of the .au ccTLD. The Government's endorsement of auDA as the appropriate entity to administer the .au ccTLD is not to be construed as criticism of Mr Elz. Rather it is recognition that the task at hand is now too great for one person and is better suited to an organisation which is representative of the Internet community and has been established with the appropriate resources to move Australia forward in the global world of the Internet with the full support of the Government.

I look forward to you early advice on the outcome of auDA's request for redelegation.

Yours sincerely

Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

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