This is a publicly available version of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation's classified annual report, providing insight into ASIO’s outcomes and activities.
This Report to Parliament is my first as the Director-General of Security. Since my appointment I have been impressed by the professionalism and commitment of the officers of ASIO. I come to the position as Australia faces a most challenging and complex security environment.
During this reporting period ASIO has continued its demanding job of identifying and investigating threats to Australia and Australians wherever they may be. ASIO operates as a security intelligence service and we continue to work in strict accordance with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979, other legislation which applies to the organisation, and within a thorough and comprehensive accountability and oversight framework.
Terrorism is the most obvious and immediate challenge, it poses a direct and ongoing threat to the safety and wellbeing of our people. In particular, the threat is associated with violent extremist ideologies that have aims hostile to Australia’s interests. It requires a coordinated, considered and comprehensive response.
Espionage and foreign interference directed against Australia by foreign powers also present a first order challenge. While the impact of such activity might not be as obvious to our community as that of terrorism, it has the potential to undermine our sovereignty. It can impact our ability to further our national interests and to defend ourselves against others.
Sitting under these major threats, and sometimes connected to them, are ongoing issues of communal violence, violent protest and other activities that can affect the safety or wellbeing of Australians. ASIO’s role is to identify and understand these threats and issues. ASIO provides intelligence and advice to help government manage threats while ensuring that, in protecting Australians’ democratic freedoms, those freedoms are not themselves infringed.
Duncan Lewis, Director-General of Security