Foreign interference and Australian electoral security in the digital era

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Australian elections are digitising. Electronic ballots, electronic certified lists, electronic scrutiny, and electronic data are becoming part of the electoral status quo. The digitisation of elections in Australia induces new vulnerabilities that malign foreign entities can exploit to subvert the nation’s democratic sovereignty. Problems such as inauthenticity, data insecurity, and disinformation are amplified in today’s epoch of digital era governance. Since these problems have the potential to erode the legitimacy of Australian elections, it is imperative to deepen understanding of these risks to optimise the nation’s democratic resilience. Through applying a conceptual framework derived from democratic theory and public policy, this paper assesses the vulnerability of Australia’s elections to foreign interference based on the Australian electoral system irrespective of adversary capabilities. It finds that Australia’s federal elections are relatively secure from hard cyber security risks due to digital-analogue hybridity in electoral processes, but they are vulnerable to soft cyber risks such as digital disinformation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-56
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
Issue number1
Early online date12 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Foreign interference
  • digital democracy
  • Australian elections
  • disinformation
  • cyber warfare


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