Foreign interference and digital democracy: is digital era governance putting Australia at risk?

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As liberal democracies intensify their efforts to digitise democracy, more governance services and processes are shifting online. Malign foreign entities (MFEs) are exploiting this phenomenon of digital era governance (DEG) to weaken democracies through information warfare operations. Australia is not immune to this, yet there is limited research exploring the relationship between digital democracy and foreign interference in the Australian context. Addressing this lacuna, this paper identifies the ways in which DEG might inadvertently produce opportunities for MFEs to target the Nation’s core democratic infrastructure. Through the implicit application of a tri-theoretical framework of DEG, democratic theory, and institutional theory, I argue that DEG has induced a series of new vulnerabilities in Australia’s political processes and institutions that challenge the legitimacy of decision-making inputs and outputs. MFEs may exploit these potential vulnerabilities by tapping into key digitally-amplified problems such as inauthenticity, data insecurity, and disinformation, thereby threatening Australia’s democratic sovereignty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-128
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
Early online date7 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Foreign interference
  • digital democracy
  • digital era governance
  • Australian democracy
  • participatory democracy
  • information operations


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