ASIO protects Australia and Australians from threats to their security.
Our functions are set out in section 17 of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (the ASIO Act):
In 2019–20, we pursued our purpose through four key activities:
- countering terrorism;
- countering espionage, foreign interference, sabotage and malicious insiders;
- countering serious threats to Australia’s border integrity; and
- providing protective security advice to government and industry.
Part 4 of this report summarises our performance in relation to these key activities during 2019–20.
ASIO must operate lawfully, in proportion to the threats we are investigating, and in line with the standards and expectations of the Australian community. We don’t just do what it is legal, we do what is right. ASIO is subject to rigorous oversight, including by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, who has powers akin to a royal commission.
ASIO’s accountable authority
Period as the accountable authority within the reporting period
|Name||Position title/position held||Date of commencement||Date of cessation|
|Mike Burgess||Director-General of Security||15 September 2019||N/A|
|Duncan Lewis AO DSC CSC||Director-General of Security||14 September 2014||14 September 2019|
Mr Mike Burgess, Director-General of Security, is ASIO’s accountable authority.
He has been Director-General of Security since 15 September 2019.
Out-thinking Australia’s adversaries
In a complex, challenging and changing security environment, our success is built on the imagination and intelligence of our team. ASIO’s people are ordinary Australians but they do extraordinary things—they are our most important asset. All our teams contribute to our mission.
Who are the people of ASIO?
ASIO staff are carers, parents, grandparents and community volunteersand come from various backgrounds, including music; teaching; geology; nursing; and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). We are proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and second- or third-generation Australians. We are introverted, extroverted and neurodiverse. We are tradespeople, as well as technical, corporate and intelligence professionals. We are your neighbours and part of your community. The only difference is that we don’t tell you where we work, what we do, or how we do it.
Our people need to out-think and out-imagine our adversaries. Being an ASIO officer requires the ability to be open-minded and the confidence to work both independently and as part of a team. Our people are engaging, are deeply analytical, and have foreign language, legal, and international and domestic politics skills. Some work in engineering and information technology, others in finance and human resources.
A diverse workplace
We seek to reflect the diversity of the community we protect. We want every ASIO officer to bring their unique skills, experience, perspectives and whole selves to work. In 2019–20 we recruited 141 staff. Our career opportunities are open to all.
View a larger version of the ASIO Organisational Chart