Dan Tehan warns unis he has ‘blunt instruments’ to compel action on foreign interference

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has warned the government has “blunt instruments” at its disposal to enforce stronger action on foreign interference should universities fail to adequately protect students and research.

Amid heightened concerns about Chinese Communist Party espionage and influence on campus, a taskforce of government and university representatives has developed guidelines around cyber security, research and intellectual property, overseas collaboration and greater awareness of the threats.

“There are some fairly blunt instruments that are available to the government”: Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Mr Tehan praised universities for their willingness so far to work closely with the government, but said the guidelines would “only be as good as the action and change of culture [at universities] that they lead to, and warned failure to comply could affect an institution’s funding.

“We will obviously need to see action, not just words,” he said. “Once we get them [the guidelines] established, then the focus is going to be on implementation.


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