NetThing has been organised by an informal group of interested stakeholders, working together to develop a plan for a sustainable national initiative for internet community and governance issues.

Some history

The Australian Internet Governance Forum (auIGF) ran for five years from 2012-2016. The idea of the auIGF was based on the Global IGF – to bring government, industry and community members together in an open, apolitical, multi-stakeholder environment, to exchange ideas and best practice around Internet governance.

The auIGF was organised, hosted and supported by .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA), with input from other key stakeholders and members of the Australian internet community. After the 2016 auIGF, auDA announced that its future facilitation of the auIGF would cease.

Everything stalled …

Planning a way forward


At a meeting of Australian Internet community stakeholders, convened in May 2017 by the Australian Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, Dr Tobias Feakin, and attended by representatives from ACCAN, APNIC, EFA and Internet-Australia, there was consensus that an auIGF-type event would be of significant benefit in facilitating discussion and consultation on Internet governance issues.

In October, the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officially launched Australia’s International Cyber Engagement Strategy. In it, the government notes that Australia is an advocate for a multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance, and that the government will “Support an annual community-led Australian Internet governance and cooperation forum” (point 5.02, page 61).


During 2018, and with support from the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Communications and the Arts, a group of interested stakeholders came together to figure out what an “annual community-led Australian Internet governance and cooperation forum” might look like, and how to ensure such a forum remains sustainable in the longer term. The group consisted of:


In July, a single-day workshop was held in Canberra, to develop a plan for a sustainable national initiative that will – in the future – provide opportunities for the Australian Internet community to discuss and address internet governance issues. More than 65 people across our multi-stakeholder community came together from:

  • A diverse and representative of the Australian Internet community; and
  • People with enough seniority, expertise and resources to take on the initiation of a national forum;

The workshop provided a wealth of information and useful guidance. In particular, it identified that a successor to original Australian Internet Governance Forum is needed, and that the revitalised forum should have the following characteristics:

  • Focus on internet policy issues of interest and importance to Australia.
  • Make it “everything internet” rather than “internet governance”.
  • Get broad and diverse participation.
  • Make it multi stakeholder.
  • Create an annual event with engagement between events – make it sustainable.

By the end of the day, there was strong consensus that reinvigorating the Australian Internet governance community was important. Key outcomes were captured in a Draft Plan.

The workshop led to the creation of a refreshed Organising Committee which has worked to develop fundamental components of this revitalised forum. Following guidance from conversations that we should depart from the old name of auIGF, we are calling the new forum NetThing.

Minutes and activities in the leadup to the Canberra workshop can be found below along with a list of participants.


Since the Canberra workshop, the volunteer Organising Committee has tried to figure out ways to create a sustainable platform for the community. We have tried different approaches and funding models and have made some real progress. Internet-Australia have agreed and have become our partner to help facilitate necessary activities such as “receiving of occasional funds. These partnership has been captured in the minutes.

The work is now formulating into the Community’s first event, NetThing, October 2019.

APNIC provided the first funds, enough to get started and to enable us to book a venue and get logistics underway. Recently ICANN and ISOC have provided some additional funds to help facilitate and encourage broad community participation at the end scheduled for October 2019 in Sydney.

Minutes of the Organising Committee

27 February 2020 – Group teleconference

23 January 2020 – Group teleconference

12 December 2019 – Group teleconference

15 November 2019 – Group teleconference

24 October 2019 – Group teleconference

10 October 2019 – Group teleconference

26 September 2019 – Group teleconference

13 September 2019 – Group teleconference

29 August 2019 – Group teleconference

8 August 2019 – Group teleconference

18 July 2019 – Group teleconference

27 June 2019 – Group teleconference

6 June 2019 – Group teleconference

16 May 2019 – Group teleconference

18 April 2019 – Group teleconference

21 March 2019 – Group teleconference

16 January 2019 – Group teleconference

12 December 2018 – Group teleconference

22 November 2018 – Group teleconference

1 November 2018 – Group teleconference

3 October 2018 – Group teleconference

4 September 2018 – Group teleconference

14 August 2018 – Group teleconference

24 July 2018 – Group teleconference (wrap up)

Minutes and activities leading up to the July 2018 Canberra workshop

20 April 2018 – Group teleconference

11 May 2018 –  Group teleconference

1 June 2018 –  Group teleconference

22 June 2018 –  Group teleconference

6 July 2018 – Group teleconference

13 July 2018 –  Group teleconference

19 July 2018 – Single day, face to face workshop in Canberra

Workshop participants

AARNet Peter Elford
ACCAN Theresa Corbin
ACIG Michelle Scott Tucker
ACIG Tom  Dale
Afillias John  Kane
Afillias Pat Donaldson
AIIA Rob Fitzpatrick
Amazon Matt Levey
APNIC Paul Wilson
APNIC Pablo  Hinojosa
APNIC Craig Ng
APNIC Foundation Sylvia Cadena
auDA Alister Paterson
auDA Genevieve Mati
Aust Strategic Policy Institute Fergus Hanson
Australian Alliance for Data Leadership  Richard Bean
Australian Computer Society Andrew Johnson
Australian Computer Society Rupert Grayston
Australian Digital Alliance Jessica Coates
Australian Privacy Foundation David  Vaile
CHOICE Erin Turner
CISCO Adam Mulcahy
Communications Alliance John  Stanton
CSIRO Colin Griffith
DCA Annaliese Williams
DCA Parris Burtenshaw
DCA Richard Bullock
DCA Vicki  Middleton
DCA Hannah Brown
DFAT Tobias Feakin
DFAT Liam Neville
Digital Industry Group Nicole  Buskiewicz
EFA Lyndsey  Jackson
ICANN Save Vocea
International Institute Communications Chris Chapman
Internet AU Keith Besgrove
Internet AU Cheryl  Langdon-Orr
Internet AU Paul  Brooks
Internet AU Roger Clarke
Internet NZ Jordan Carter
ISOC Raj Singh
Linux Australia Kathy Reid
Microsoft Dave Masters
Office of the eSafety Commissioner Julia Fossi
Open Source Industry Australia Don Lowe
Open Source Industry Australia Alexar Pendashteh
Telstra Jessica Woodall
University of Canberra Bruce Arnold
University of Queensland Pradip Thomas
Youth @IGF Fellow 2017 Sandra Raub
Youth @IGF Fellow 2017 Helena Qian
Youth @IGF Fellow 2017 Bronwyn Mercer
Independent Chair Sandra Davey
  Andrew Maurer
  Stephen Porges
  Sally Rodgers
Volunteer note taker Lynne Spender
  Samantha Dickinson
auDA Liz  Williams
EFA Peter Tonoli