Foreign Interference In Australian Elections

Foreign Interference In Australian Elections

Photo credit: Australian Electoral Commission.

What is at stake with foreign interference in Australian Elections? Is Australia’s digitizing democracy vulnerable to foreign interference?

This Stretton Institute webinar, co-hosted with the Electoral Regulation Research Network  (ERRN) and the Melbourne School of Government, will bring together a panel of experts to discuss both questions.

In Australia, and elsewhere, public trust in democratic institutions is declining. Growing concerns of foreign malign entities amplifying and exploiting this trend through the nascent digital public sphere will be explored, with a focus on ways in which Australia’s digitizing democracy is vulnerable. 

We will begin with some discussion of the Australian electoral context, followed by an exploration of the threats posed to democratic legitimacy and functioning by attempted interference in domestic elections by foreign entities.

It will then be argued that Australia’s processes of public engagement are relatively resilient due to hybrid analogue-digital processes, which inadvertently safeguard our electoral system from malign influence. However, research findings also indicate that several modes of participation remain vulnerable at the preference formation and agenda-setting stages of policy development. This poses a risk to: (1) social cohesion, and (2) the integrity of policy outputs.

Dowling and Legrand offer a ground-breaking assessment framework for this threat which is transferable to other democratic systems internationally.

Join our expert panel for the discussion, including: 
Professor Lisa Hill, Professor of Politics, Research Program Director, Democracy, Security, Trust and Integrity
Stretton Institute, The University of Adelaide

Associate Professor Tim Legrand, Department of Politics and International Relations, School of Social Sciences
The University of Adelaide

Dr Melissa-Ellen Dowling, Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, School of Social Sciences
The University of Adelaide


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