While China favoured a Bill Shorten win in last year's election, the state did not put its Twitter influence campaign to work on his behalf, a Canberra University analysis has found.
Nor did Russia make any clear attempt to influence the 2019 Australian election, although Russia did work to pressure the Australian government on behalf of Julian Assange, whom Russian intelligence supplied with documents undermining Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.
Both Russia and China used fake Twitter accounts to stir alarm over climate change, which the Canberra academics speculate could fit with a "larger pattern of Russian propaganda activating anxieties in a population", or could be playing to a Marxist audience.
The director of the university's News and Media Research Centre Kerry McCallum and colleagues appear on Wednesday before a parliamentary inquiry into the 2019 election.
They analysed 7743 Russian propaganda tweets and 3441 from China.
They said it was clear from statements to Chinese press that the Chinese government wanted a Labor win, but analysis of the Twitter stream did not show a concerted campaign to help Mr Shorten.
"Like pundits and politicians here in Australia, they may have assumed Labor was going to win, based on voting intention poll results. There was, therefore, no reason to intervene and risk potential backlash later," Professor McCallum speculates in a submission to the inquiry.
"If this was the reason, we can expect that [the People's Republic of China] will be more active during the term of this current government and during the subsequent election."
The researchers examined propaganda in support of Clive Palmer's election, in light of Russian support for disruptive right-wing figures in Europe, but found Russia-linked tweets were actually less likely to support Mr Palmer.
From Russia, they found significant appeals for Australian intervention to bring Julian Assange back to Australia. And from China, election tweets were mostly aimed at promoting its Belt and Road project expansion agenda and Huawei's attempts to get a foot-hold in 5G networks.
The academics have not ruled out a larger influence campaign beyond Twitter, and also point out that China was implicated in a hack on Parliament House before the last election.
Professor McCallum said the clear pattern was that neither Russian nor China intervened to direct Australia's vote one way or another.
But she nevertheless predicted that Australia would be the victim of foreign interference attempts at the next poll.
She urged intelligence briefings for political parties at state and federal level so alert them to the threats.
"There has been some reporting in the Australian press of contact between foreign agents and Australian politicians. However, it is likely to be happening on a scale much larger than we are aware of in public."