New Taskforce by Australian Federal Government

The Australian Federal Government, security agencies and the university sector will come together to deal with growing concerns about foreign interference at universities in the country.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, said that a New Taskforce has been appointed to investigate and counter cybersecurity, and theft of research and intellectual property in university grounds. The taskforce will also further investigate report stating pro- China intrusion of pro-democracy movements.

“One of the things that the taskforce will be doing will be looking at security on our university campuses, to make sure that students can go about their business freely, and be able to express their views freely,” he said.

Last month saw a violent incident, over students arguing on China and pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. The incident and the potentialities of similar occurrences prompted the creation of the task force. Mr Tehan said while Australia had strong research partnerships with countries such as China, he stated that Australian universities may become benign with their research leaving loopholes for security breaches.

“What we’ve got to understand is that occasionally what people will be looking to do, or what countries may be looking to do, is look at our intellectual property and then use it for their particular means, rather than for the greater global good or for the good of Australia,” he said.

Hong Kong is an important trading partner, as such business groups want the government to ratify the free trade agreement in the light of this rising concerns, to mitigate future issues.