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Overview of ASIO

ASIO’s purpose is to protect Australia, its people and its interests from threats to security through intelligence collection and assessment, and the provision of advice to the Australian Government, government agencies and industry[1]. Our functions are set out in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (the ASIO Act).

In 2017–18 we pursued our purpose through four key activities:

  1. counter terrorism;
  2. counter espionage, foreign interference and malicious insiders;
  3. counter serious threats to Australia’s border integrity; and
  4. provide protective security advice to government and industry.

ASIO exists to protect Australia, its peopleand its interests from threats to security

A commitment to legality and propriety

In working to meet our purpose, we must operate in a manner that is consistent with our values of excellence, integrity, respect, cooperation and accountability. These five values incorporate our firm commitment to operate lawfully, in proportion to threats we are investigating, and in line with the standards and expectations of the Australian community. A comprehensive oversight and accountability framework comprising legislation and ministerial, parliamentary and independent oversight provides assurance that we will continue to meet our commitment.

Organisational structure

An overview of ASIO’s organisational structure is provided below.


1 This purpose statement in included in ASIO's corporate plan 2017-18 and reflects out outcome in the ASIO Portfolio Budget Statement 2017-18. This outcome is supported by Program 1.1: security intelligence. Back to text