Senate debates

Thursday, 5 December 2019


Foreign Interference through Social Media Select Committee; Appointment

12:17 pm

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

At the request of Senator McAllister, I move:

(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Foreign Interference through Social Media, be established to inquire into and report on the risk posed to Australia's democracy by foreign interference through social media, with particular reference to:

(a) use of social media for purposes that undermine Australia's democracy and values, including the spread of misinformation;

(b) responses to mitigate the risk posed to Australia's democracy and values, including by the Australian Government and social media platforms;

(c) international policy responses to cyber-enabled foreign interference and misinformation;

(d) the extent of compliance with Australian laws; and

  (e) any related matters.

(2) That the committee present its final report on or before the second sitting day of May 2022.

(3) That the committee consist of five senators, as follows:

(a) two nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate;

(b) two nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate; and

  (c) one nominated by minor party and independent senators.

(4) That:

(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority party or independent senator; and

  (b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee.

(5) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(6) That the committee elect as chair one of the members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and as deputy chair one of the members nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

(7) That the deputy chair shall as act chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.

(8) That, in the event of an equality of voting, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.

(9) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.

(10) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 3 or more of its members, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.

(11) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President of the Senate.

(12) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.

Question agreed to.