Countering foreign interference

​​​​Foreign interference and espionage is the principal security concern facing Australia.

Foreign interference and espionage threaten the things that we value most about our country: our social cohesion, our trusted democracy, and our freedoms.

Australia remains a target of sophisticated and persistent foreign interference activities directed towards government, academia, industry, the media and communities. The nature and scale of the threat we face is complex, and undermines our sovereignty, values and national interests.

Left unchecked, foreign interference can have a corrosive effect on our national security. It can weaken our free and open system of government, our social cohesion and our economic prosperity.

Our best defence against foreign interference is to arm people who are possible targets with the information they need to recognise and report it.

Australia’s approach to countering foreign interference recognises the need for a whole‑of‑nation effort to raise the cost and reduce the benefit to foreign actors interfering in Australian society.

The Australian Government has taken significant steps to detect, disrupt and deter foreign interference activities. These include :

  • Appointing a National Counter Foreign Interference Coordinator (NCFIC), supported by the Counter Foreign Interference Coordination Centre (CFICC), who works across government and non-government sectors to strengthen arrangements to counter foreign interference.
  • Establishing the Counter Foreign Interference (CFI) Taskforce which, together with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and Australian Federal Police (AFP), discovers, disrupts and investigates foreign interference activity.
  • Legislation of criminal offences for foreign interference and espionage and increased transparency around foreign-influence related activities.
  • Establishing the Electoral Integrity Assurance Taskforce supports the integrity of Australian electoral activities to maintain public trust in Australia’s democratic processes.
  • Engaging the University Foreign Interference Taskforce to protect our higher education sector from foreign interference threats.​​
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