Islands in the Storm? Responses to Foreign Election Interference in Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand have only recently adopted legislation addressing the question of foreign “interference” in electoral campaigns, and in particular foreign political finance. This paper explores and compares the two nations' responses, explaining both the political context and the legal ramifications of these responses. The nations share much in common that is relevant to the question of foreign electoral involvement—each is an island, with a Westminster colonial parliamentary tradition, perched between the southern edges of Asia and the western edges of Oceania. Unsurprisingly, the responses (though not coordinated) have so far been similar. In each case, a key driver has been storm clouds in the form of growing influence of the People's Republic of China, a factor that is not fully admitted in either nation given their reliance on trade with China.