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Statement from Mike Burgess on appointment as Director-General of Security

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Being appointed the Director-General of Security is a great honour and an even greater responsibility.

As I recounted yesterday, just over 24 years ago I spotted a weird geeky-sounding advertisement in the newspaper. It was short on the details of who was recruiting but, being a curious guy, I thought I'd give it a go. When I rang the number listed the person who answered only said… “Hello.” I responded with, “Hello?” And after a pause, all the voice at the other end would say was another, “Hello.”

That was my introduction to the world of intelligence and security.

A lot has changed in the quarter of a century since. But some things haven't.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) performs incredibly important work protecting Australia from serious threats – and those threats are very real. In my current role, I get to see ASIO up close as it counters terrorism, espionage, and foreign interference.

It's an incredibly impressive organisation and more so the people who do that work. They are professionals who work tirelessly and effortlessly to protect Australia from serious threats. And while they operate in the shadows, they operate within the law.

My role will be to continue that important work.

While I'm humbled and excited about the challenge ahead, leaving the Australian Signals Directorate will be difficult. I’d like my appointment to be seen as a vote of confidence in ASD as a whole.

I’ve enjoyed a productive and rewarding 18 months here. Most importantly, I will miss the staff – the clever, curious, committed individuals who belong to a great team and, like ASIO, truly make a difference to the security of our country.

I’d like to wish the staff of ASD all the best, personally and professionally, for the future.