2015 Names Policy Panel Terms of Reference


The purpose of the Panel is to:

  • review the policy framework underlying the allocation and use of domain names in the .au domain space[1]; and
  • provide recommendations to the auDA board about what changes (if any) should be made to the policy framework.


In May 2001 auDA's Name Policy Advisory Panel recommended a new, uniform policy framework for the allocation of domain names in the asn.au, com.au, id.au, net.au and org.au 2LDs. This common framework replaced the individual policies that had been developed by the different 2LD administrators since the early 1990s. auDA implemented the Panel's recommendations with effect from 1 July 2002. 

The policy framework has since been reviewed by auDA Advisory Panels in 2004, 2007 and 2010, and a number of policy changes have been implemented as a result of those review processes.


The Panel will review the policy framework underlying the allocation and use of domain names in the .au domain space.

The Panel will consider the following issues:

1. Should .au be opened up to direct registrations (eg. domainname.au)? If yes, should there be any policy rules, and if so what rules?[2]

2. Should the eligibility and allocation policy rules for asn.au, com.au, id.au, net.au and org.au be changed? If yes, what changes should be made?

Relevant auDA Published Policies:

3. Should the policy rules relating to the reserved list and misspellings be changed? If yes, what changes should be made?

Relevant auDA Published Policies:


The auDA Board has appointed Derek Whitehead, Chief Information Officer, Swinburne University to chair the Panel.


The Panel will consist of up to 20 members other than the Chair. It is intended that the Panel will represent key stakeholders in the Australian domain name system, including auDA Board members, auDA members, auDA accredited registrars, domain name resellers, domain name holders (registrants), domainers, business, consumers, government, law enforcement, legal sector, IT industry and Internet users.

Panel members will be appointed by the auDA Board on the basis of their individual skills, experience and knowledge of the domain name industry. The Board will also seek to achieve a fair balance of stakeholder interests.

Membership of the Panel is on a voluntary basis, although auDA may assist with expenses (refer to Operations below). Panel members must be prepared to commit their time and effort for the duration of the Terms of Reference (refer to Timeline below).


The Panel will determine its own operational procedures.

The Panel will undertake at least two public consultations during the course of its work.

The Chair will provide regular progress reports to the auDA Board.

auDA will provide secretariat and other operational support to the Panel.

auDA may provide financial assistance to Panel members where required, for example in the case of not-for-profit organisations and individuals whose participation in the Panel is not funded by their employer. Such assistance will be provided at auDA’s discretion.


An indicative timeline is as follows:

Activity Timing
auDA issues call for Panel nominations October 2014
auDA board appoints Panel membership December 2014
1st Panel meeting February 2015
1st public consultation May 2015
2nd public consultation September 2015
Panel’s final report to auDA Board November 2015

The timeline is subject to change.

[1] The following 2LDs are excluded from the Terms of Reference: csiro.au, edu.au, gov.au and the community geographic 2LDs (act.au, nsw.au, nt.au, sa.au, tas.au, vic.au, wa.au).

[2] For clarity, consideration of potential implementation mechanisms for opening up .au to direct registrations is outside the scope of the Panel's Terms of Reference.