Former Spy Boss Dies Aged 75


By Staff Writer.

Former top intelligence official David Irvine has died aged 75. Mr Irvine passed away in his home in Canberra on Wednesday.

The former diplomat and head of ASIO is being remembered for his sharp intellect, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison paying tribute to him, saying he was an exceptional Australian and public servant in every sense of the word.

“A gifted diplomat, security chief, and chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board, David Irvine was a wise counsel to successive governments.” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Irvine served Australia for over fifty years and held senior diplomatic and leadership roles for the past quarter of a century. Those roles included High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Ambassador to China, Director-General of ASIO, and Director-General of ASIS.

More recently, he was also dedicated to training the up-and-coming generation of defense, security and intelligence professionals.

“This is a very sad day because David’s curiosity, wisdom and judgment strengthened our democracy and security over many decades. David had a deep understanding of Australia and the region and the interconnection of diplomacy, security and economics. He also had a deep love of Indonesian culture, expressed through the publication of two books.” said the Prime Minister.

A former journalist, Mr Irvine began his public service career in 1970 in what was then the department of external affairs. He also served as high commissioner to Papua New Guinea from 1996 to 1999, and as Australia’s ambassador to China between 2000 and 2003.

Mr Irvine was highly respected by all sides of politics, with many that met him saying it was a privilege to know him.

“David Irvine’s passing is a tremendous loss to Australia, and to everyone in the National Intelligence Community who has benefited from his guidance, wisdom and expertise.” said Senator James Paterson and Senator Jenny McAllister, on behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

“There is no question that Australia is a safer, stronger and more secure nation because of David’s enduring contribution to our defence forces, intelligence community and our national security. A great defender of our freedom and democracy, David’s intellect, insight and judgement will be sorely missed.” they added.

The Prime Minister also reflected on Mr Irvine’s strong work ethic.

“He understood the work in democracies of maximising freedom and security. As he said in a 2014 speech, ‘I believe the threat of terrorism will be with us into the future, but that it should not be allowed to panic us or dominate our lives’. In his role as chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board, which I appointed him to as Treasurer, he played a seminal role in bringing new perspectives to bear in the face of changing geostrategic dynamics in our region.” said Mr Morrison.


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