23 February 2023

Former spy chief David Irvine dies, aged 75

| Ian Bushnell
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David Irvine

David Irvine: “A wise counsel to successive governments.” Photo: Australian Army Research Centre

Distinguished public servant, diplomat and former Director-General of ASIO and ASIS David Irvine has died, aged 75.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Irvine was an exceptional Australian and public servant in every sense of the word.

“A gifted diplomat, security chief, and chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board, David Irvine was a wise counsel to successive governments,” Mr Morrison said.

“This is a very sad day because David’s curiosity, wisdom and judgment strengthened our democracy and security over many decades.”

Mr Irvine was born in Perth and studied at Hale School and the University of Western Australia, graduating with honours in Elizabethan history. He worked as a journalist in Perth and joined the Department of External Affairs in 1970.

He held senior diplomatic and leadership roles for the past quarter of a century, including High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Ambassador to China, Director-General of ASIO, Director-General of ASIS, and Chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board.

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More recently, he also devoted himself to training the next generation of defence, security and intelligence professionals.

“David had a deep understanding of Australia and the region and the interconnection of diplomacy, security and economics. He also had a deep love of Indonesian culture, expressed through the publication of two books,” Mr Morrison said.

“He understood the work in democracies of maximising freedom and security. As he said in a 2014 speech, ‘I believe the threat of terrorism will be with us into the future, but that it should not be allowed to panic us or dominate our lives’.

“In his role as chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board, which I appointed him to as Treasurer, he played a seminal role in bringing new perspectives to bear in the face of changing geostrategic dynamics in our region.

“To the Irvine family and all who loved him, I extend the condolences of the nation.”

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has also paid tribute.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Irvine family and to all who loved him and had the privilege to know him,” the committee said.

“David Irvine’s passing is a tremendous loss to Australia, and to everyone in the National Intelligence Community who has benefited from his guidance, wisdom and expertise.

“There is no question that Australia is a safer, stronger and more secure nation because of David’s enduring contribution to our defence forces, intelligence community and our national security.

“A great defender of our freedom and democracy, David’s intellect, insight and judgment will be sorely missed.”

Mr Irvine was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2005 for services to the promotion of Australia’s international relations.

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Isn’t this guy somehow connected to the Colleary/Witness X thing?

Capital Retro6:34 pm 01 Apr 22

You really write a lot of crap, Stephen.

Stephen Saunders5:04 pm 01 Apr 22

For a spook, David was a very decent guy,. A far better class of Old Haleian, than Ben Roberts-Smith or Christian Porter.

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