Progress Report

21 April 2022

View the report as a single document - (PDF 365KB)

On 5 December 2019, the Senate established the committee to inquire and report on or before the second sitting day of May 2022. The committee tabled an interim report on 17 December 2021.

The committee received a total of 46 submissions and held four public hearings on 22 June 2020, 25 September 2020, 11 December 2020, and 30 July 2021. A list of submissions appears in Appendix 1 and witnesses who appeared at the public hearing are listed in Appendix 2.

Due to circumstances including the prorogation of Parliament and the election, the committee has not been able to complete its inquiry and final report as intended.

The committee has produced an interim report that addresses the key concerns relating to the conduct of elections, and the policy settings needed to support them. It now falls to government to implement the recommendations made in that report, and to respond to the other policy concerns canvassed in the committee’s interim report and the Deputy Chair’s additional and further additional comments.

The past three years have seen a global pandemic, numerous contested elections overseas, and armed conflict in the Ukraine. Each of these events has changed our understanding of what foreign interference through social media may look like, and the types of tools and responses we have available.

Cyber enabled foreign interference is not a static policy target. It requires constant action to ensure that government policy responds to an ever-evolving set of threats and prerogatives.

The committee urges the government to consider the recommendations set out in its interim report, and the important issues canvassed in the additional and further additional comments by the Deputy Chair.

The committee recommends the Senate consider whether to re-establish the committee in the 47th Parliament, with provision to access the documents and evidence of this committee, to enable the inquiry to be completed.

Yours sincerely

Senator Jenny McAllister

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Department of the Senate
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 3585