Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee

Opening Statement from the Director-General of Security

Monday, March 2, 2020

CHAIR: I welcome to the table officers from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Would you like to make an opening statement

Mr Burgess: Yes. I promise it will be a brief one. Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today.

Our organisation has an important mandate: to protect Australia and Australians from serious threats to security.

The mission to protect drives the focus of our work and has a direct impact on both our community safety and the integrity of our democracy.

Last Monday, I presented my first annual threat assessment, outlining the threats to security ASIO is dealing with. I won't provide additional here, other than to say in summary that the threat of terrorism at home remains probable.

This means there is credible assessed intelligence indicating there are groups and individuals with the capability and intent to conduct an attack onshore.

Australia is also the target of sophisticated and persistent espionage and foreign interference activities from a range of hostile foreign-intelligence services

This activity is occurring at a scale and level of threat that is unprecedented.

Given the evolving nature of these threats we face, ASIO continues to review our capabilities and the powers we have to ensure they are appropriate and proportionate to the threats.

Thank you.