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Alarming national security report ‘a big wake up call’ for all Australians

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An alarming report given by the head of the nation’s domestic spy agency is being described as “a big wake up call”.

While delivering the annual threat assessment in Canberra on Monday, ASIO Director-General Mike Burgess gave an unprecedented level of information about the extent of ASIO’s operations.

He revealed foreign espionage against Australia is higher now than at any time during the Cold War and outlined four main national security threats.

  • Islamic terrorism
  • Right-wing terrorism
  • Foreign espionage
  • Foreign interference in politics and society

Director-General Burgess gave details of sleeper agents going undetected for years, university professors gathering intelligence and suburban cells saluting Nazi flags and training with weapons.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton tells Alan Jones we all need to start taking these warnings seriously.

“Universities need to heed the message, we need to make sure people in business, in academia, across government, hear the message that they are being targeted.

“And we need people to take appropriate steps… I think it’s a big wake-up call.

“We’ve provided these warnings for a long time now but there are a lot of people who aren’t heeding the warnings.”

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The revelations from the ASIO Director-General come as no surprise to international security expert Neil Fergus.

Deborah Knight spoke with the Intelligent Risks CEO, questioning if China is the unnamed nation responsible for much of the foreign interference.

“They’re the main protagonists,” says Mr Fergus.

“We absolutely need to defend our sovereignty but it is a difficult one. We are emersed in a really complex trade relationship with China.

“The Chinese have gone from being a very benign partner in the region to an extremely belligerent partner.”

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Image: ASIO Director-General Mike Burgess (SMH/Alex Ellinghausen)