Securing Australia with Major General Duncan Lewis
The National Security Podcast
On this National Security Podcast, Head of National Security College Professor Rory Medcalf speaks with Major General Duncan Lewis, former Director-General of Security at ASIO, about securing Australia in an age of disruption.Since 9/11, it has become clear to Australia’s leaders that developing a national security pedigree in the Australian Public Service was imperative to meeting the challenges of an age of deep strategic disruption. To open the National Security College’s 10th Anniversary Conversation Series, Professor Rory Medcalf talks with recently retired Major General Duncan Lewis, former Director-General of Security at the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and National Security Adviser under the Rudd government, about the decision to create the National Security College. They also cover the daunting tasks of national security policymakers as Australia faces a grim strategic environment, and some valuable lessons from a lifetime of service in Australia’s national security community.Major General Duncan Lewis AO DSC CSC is the recently retired Director-General of Security at ASIO and served as Australia’s National Security Adviser. In the Army, he was both the Special Air Service Regiment's Commanding Officer and Special Operations Commander Australia, commanding the Australian Defence Force’s Special Operations Command.Professor Rory Medcalf is Head of the National Security College at The Australian National University. His professional background involves more than two decades of experience across diplomacy, intelligence analysis, think tanks, and journalism.We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or find us on Facebook. The National Security Podcast and Policy Forum Pod are available on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever you get your podcasts. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ep. 36: Ex-ASIO head Duncan Lewis (Part 2): foreign interference and national security policymaking in Australia
Australia in the World
In Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Duncan Lewis AO, DSC, CSC, the recently retired head of ASIO, the conversation turns to the more recent challenge of foreign interference. Duncan has been quoted recently as describing foreign interference as an “existential threat to the nation”, and so Allan begins by asking Duncan to explain how he thinks about foreign interference in Australian politics, and how he would describe its impact. Darren looks to draw some contrasts between how Australia manages the threat of terrorism and how it responds to foreign interference. What is the first line of defence against foreign interference? What are some of the dangers of overreacting to the threat? The conversation then turns to the new national security and foreign interference laws passed in 2018. Are these laws fit for purpose? What is the balance between the government’s duty to protect, and the individual's right to privacy? What is Duncan’s view of calls for vetting of parliamentary candidates, and is the securitisation of public policy a necessary consequence of dealing with modern threats? The conversation finishes with the structure of national security policymaking in Australia. Who is the “Minister for National Security”, and what principles should govern decision-making? Finally, what in Duncan’s view are the most important qualities of political leadership? As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: email@example.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj We want to thank AIIA intern Isabel Hancock for research and audio editing, XC Chong and James Hayne for research support, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music and also Julia Ahrens for technical support in studio.
Ep. 35: Ex-ASIO head Duncan Lewis (Part 1): on his military & govt career, and the challenge of terrorism
Australia in the World
In a first for the podcast, we present our first double episode, an exclusive interview with Duncan Lewis AO, DSC, CSC who until recently was Australia’s Director General of Security, leading ASIO, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. In this first part, Allan and Darren discuss Duncan’s remarkable career, which as Allan notes is unique in terms of his experience in senior national security positions. Much of Duncan’s career has been focused on the challenge of terrorism, and this is the main policy focus of Part 1 of this interview. Duncan joined the Australian army in 1975, rising to become a Major General and head of Special Operations Command, before making the transition to a civilian role in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, where he quickly became a Deputy Secretary focusing on national security issues, before Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed him as Australia’s first National Security Advisor. From there he become Secretary of the Department of Defence, then Ambassador to the EU, NATO, Belgium and Luxembourg, before returning to Australia in 2014 to run ASIO. Much of the conversation revolves around the unique circumstances of Duncan’s career. He provides his perspective on the 9/11 attacks and the (still ongoing) war in Afghanistan, his transition from the military to the Australian Public Service, what it meant to take the top civilian job running the Department of Defence as an ex-military officer, and being present in Europe at the time UK Prime Minister David Cameron called the Brexit referendum. This first part of the interview then concludes specifically on the topic of terrorism, especially through the lens of Duncan’s role leading ASIO, Australia’s domestic intelligence agency, and how the organisation has adapted to the challenge of terrorism on home soil. Duncan also reflects on some of the controversies he’s been caught up in, and how senior officials must navigate politically sensitive issues in an era when facts themselves are seen as partisan. As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj We want to thank AIIA intern Isabel Hancock for research and audio editing, XC Chong and James Hayne for research support, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music and also Julia Ahrens for technical support in studio. Relevant links Duncan’s Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncan_Lewis “An address by ASIO Director General Duncan Lewis”, Lowy Institute, 4 September 2019: http://www.lowyinstitute.org/news-and-media/multimedia/audio/address-asio-director-general-duncan-lewis
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is charged with protecting Australia and its citizens from terrorism, foreign interference, espionage, sabotage, and politically motivated violence.ASIO Director-General Duncan Lewis gave a public address at the Lowy Institute, followed by a Q&A with the Institute’s Executive Director, Dr Michael Fullilove.Duncan Lewis has served as the Director-General of Security since 2014. Mr Lewis served in the Australian Defence Force for 33 years, including as commander of the Special Air Service Regiment and Major General, Special Operations Commander Australia.Since 2005, Mr Lewis has served in a number of Australian Public Service roles, including assistant secretary of the National Security Division within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australia’s inaugural National Security Adviser, and Australia’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union, and NATO. Mr Lewis was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in 2005.