Wednesday, 17 November 2021
Media release

Joint media release with the Hon Alan Tudge MP - Morrison government strengthens Australia’s university sector to withstand foreign interference

Updated guidelines to assist Australian universities strengthen their resilience to foreign interference risks, while protecting students, staff and research that contribute to Australia’s prosperity, have been released today.

The updated guidelines will better address how foreign interference threats have evolved since the initial guidelines were released in 2019, and will assist universities to better identify and respond to the risk of foreign interference.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said espionage and foreign interference posed a challenge to Australia’s democracy, but that the Morrison Government would continue to protect Australia’s institutions, including our universities.

“These updated guidelines are more important than ever – with international students set to return to many Australian jurisdictions soon, we need to ensure our University campuses embody the free, open, transparent debate that is so vital to an Australian education, and to our way of life,” Minister Andrews said.

“The guidelines will protect universities, students and researchers from hostile foreign actors and intelligence services; who have been known to target sensitive research, muzzle debate, and intimidate foreign students.”

Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the updated guidelines are more specific, measurable and will support greater consistency of actions to counter foreign interference across the university sector.

“Australia is home to some of the world’s leading academics who are producing world-class research. These guidelines will ensure our researchers are protected,” Minister Tudge said.

“We have seen that Australian universities are a target for foreign interference with foreign actors using sophisticated and deceptive means to steal Australian research and intellectual property.

“The Morrison Government takes research integrity very seriously and will continue to prevent efforts to steal information and interfere in our universities.”

More information is available at https://www.dese.gov.au/guidelines-counter-foreign-interference-australian-university-sector.