Australia

From answering a 'geeky-sounding' newspaper ad to ASIO spy boss

Australian Signals Directorate director-general Mike Burgess has been announced as the new head of ASIO. Source: Twitter

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has announced Mike Burgess as the director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

Australian Signals Directorate director-general Mike Burgess will replace Duncan Lewis at the helm of the nation's spy agency.

Mr Burgess has been appointed director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation after Mr Lewis announced his retirement last month.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said Mr Burgess had served Australia in the public and private sectors, making him the ideal candidate.

"I don't think anybody would argue against the fact that Mike Burgess is one of the most respected people in the Australian intelligence community," he told reporters.

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton made the announcement today.
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton made the announcement today.
AAP

"Globally he's recognised for his leadership at ASD, for the work that he's done in a number of areas over a long period of time to keep our country safe."

Mr Burgess said his intelligence career started more than 24 years ago when he spotted a "weird, geeky-sounding" advert in a newspaper.

"When I rang the number listed all I got was a hello, I responded with my hello and after a short pause all I got was a hello," he said.

"That was my introduction to the world of intelligence and security and a lot has changed in the last 24 years but some things haven't."

He said ASIO was an incredibly impressive agency which undertakes important work defending Australia from serious threats.

Former ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis.
Former ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis.
AAP

Asked about threats of espionage and foreign influence from China, Mr Burgess said threats were real and serious.

The new director-general will oversee the ASIO's digital transformation, a major project across the agency.

"ASIO's work is incredibly important in defending Australians from serious threats - (digital) transformation is a big part of that," he said.

"That is really all about how you put your best capabilities forward to make sure Australia is a safe place to live and work."

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