House debates

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Statements on Indulgence

Lewis, Major General Duncan, AO, DSC, CSC

3:12 pm

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

Mr Duncan Lewis AO DSC CSC will conclude his term as Director-General of Security this Sunday 15 September. This concludes a very distinguished period of service to our nation, spanning some 47 years, both in uniform and in senior civilian roles. Fifteen of those years have been spent around the table of the National Security Committee, where Mr Lewis has diligently served governments of all persuasions in a number of vital roles.

Graduating from Duntroon in 1975, Mr Lewis commanded at all levels, including command of the Special Air Service Regiment. His military career saw him serve in many conflict zones, spanning the Middle East to closer to home in East Timor. In his final military appointment as major general, Mr Lewis oversaw the Australian special forces engaged in operations across Iraq and Afghanistan. Not just content with his military service alone, he chose to do further to serve his nation in the Public Service, working in the National Security Division of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and serving as the inaugural National Security Adviser before his appointment as the Secretary of the Department of Defence in 2011. Mr Lewis served Australia's interests abroad once more in his capacity as the Australian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO between 2012 and 2014.

The role of Director-General of Security is one of great responsibility. As the 13th person to have held that position in our history, he has led ASIO for the last five years, in a time when Australia has been facing an unprecedented level of complex threats at home and abroad. Throughout his tenure, the national terrorism threat level has remained at 'probable', reflecting the heightened level of operational tempo within ASIO and across the national security apparatus of government. We have successfully disrupted 16 terrorist attacks since 2014, and Mr Lewis has played an important—in fact, an integral role—in leading ASIO's investigative and operational efforts, which have helped to protect Australians and our national interest.

Mr Lewis has been at the forefront, albeit discretely, of Australian national security throughout his almost five decades of public service. I commend him most highly and thank him for that service and the way in which he's been able to engage with me personally during my time in this office.

Throughout his professional life Mr Lewis has had the absolute support of his family. He's married to the wonderful Jenny, and together they have provided a significant contribution to our country. Jenny Lewis has provided support and a contribution in her own way. We wish them both every success in their future endeavours.

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