Letter from Stuart Lynn to Senator Richard Alston
(8 August 2001)

(by fax, mail, and e-mail)

August 8, 2001

Hon. Richard Alston
Minister for Communications,
Information Technology and the Arts
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Senator Alston:

As part of ICANN's responsibilities to coordinate the authoritative Internet root-server system, we have been evaluating the request of auDA for redelegation of the .au ccTLD. In that connection, we were pleased to have received your 4 July 2001 letter concerning the Government of Australia's endorsement of auDA as the appropriate body to administer the .au ccTLD.

In evaluating a request for redelegation of a ccTLD, we seek the views of the existing manager as well as other significantly interested parties. Since your 4 July 2001 letter, we received communications from the existing manager, Robert Elz, and from the CEO of Melbourne IT, Adrian Kloeden.

Mr. Elz, while acknowledging that it may be appropriate to transfer the .au delegation from his personal stewardship to that of an organization broadly supported by the Australian Internet community, has questioned whether the delegation would better be transferred to the Australian Government than to auDA. Mr. Elz observes that "the govt of AU has a much broader base of support (whichever party is in control) than auDA does, or will ever achieve."

In his 3 August 2001 message, Mr. Kloeden, on behalf of Melbourne IT, a major stakeholder in the .au domain, expressed concern over various actions of auDA and the requested redelegation of .au to auDA. Melbourne IT suggested in that message that we "give consideration to delegating '.au' to the Australian Communications Authority (ACA), which is the Australian Government's regulator of the communications industry."

We understand from your 4 July 2001 letter, as well as the positions stated leading up to the enactment of Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 2000, that the policy of the Australian Government is that the coordination of the .au ccTLD should not be performed by the Government, but rather should be performed by a private-sector manager, subject to the supervision of the ACA. This is consistent with Australia's longstanding support for the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee's "Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains" ("GAC Principles"), which suggest as a best practice that ccTLDs be administered based on participation of the relevant government or public authority, a separate organization designated to manage the ccTLD, and ICANN.

In light of the views expressed by Mr. Elz and Melbourne IT that the .au ccTLD should be delegated to the Australian Government rather than auDA, your comment on the following points would assist us in properly evaluating the redelegation request:

1. Based on your 4 July 2001 letter, it is our understanding that the Government of Australia endorses redelegation of the .au ccTLD to auDA rather than to the Australian Government itself. It would be helpful to our evaluation if the Australian Government would either reaffirm or correct our understanding in this regard.

2. The three-party arrangement supported by the Government of Australia contemplates that relevant governments should assume responsibility for promoting operation of their national ccTLDs in the interest of the Internet community, and the people generally, of their countries. In your 4 July 2001 letter, you expressed the commitment of the Government of Australia to use its authority as outlined to promote the interests of the Australian Internet community and people. This commitment gives reassurance to ICANN that local Australian interests will be protected by appropriate oversight, allowing ICANN to recede from its current role of monitoring that the .au ccTLD is operated in a manner that serves those interests.

3. In supporting the GAC Principles, the Government of Australia has recognized ICANN's continuing responsibility for promoting the global interest in continued universal connectivity on and stable operation of the Internet. It also recognized the technical coordination function activities required to promote these global interests are the appropriate role of ICANN.

Although we believe that the above points are at least implicitly covered in your 4 July 2001 letter, a further clarification of the views of the Government of Australia is desirable in light of the views expressed by Mr. Elz and Melbourne IT that redelegation should be made to the Government.

Best regards,

M. Stuart Lynn
President and CEO

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