Ex-spook to head up Foreign Investment Review Board

Ex-spook to head up Foreign Investment Review Board
Former spy boss David Irvine has been put in charge of the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Treasurer Scott Morrison on Saturday announced that the former director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) will chair the Foreign Investment Review Board, replacing outgoing chair Brian Wilson.

That will make him responsible for advising the Government on foreign investment policy and administration, including foreign investment applications.

“The Turnbull Government has taken consistent and determined action when it comes to ensuring foreign investment is not contrary to the national interest, whilst never underestimating its importance to our national economy,” Mr Morrison said in his statement.

Mr Irvine also served as ambassador to China and High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea.

His appointment follows a number of controversial decisions on foreign investment where national security came into play.

That included the 2015 deal that saw the Port of Darwin leased to  a Chinese company with alleged links to the People’s Liberation Army. The sale triggered concerns over the security implications and drew criticism from US government officials. Mr Morrison at the time conceded that processes were not in place for the Darwin port deal to be properly scrutinised by the Foreign Investment Review Board.


An award winning author and journalist, commentator, lecturer, and speaker, Leon is a freelance business journalist who covers a range of areas including politics, strategy, globalization, leadership and all the big trends ahead. His main skill is summing up all the news that’s around. For the last 30 years, his main focus has been on management issues. He also produces two podcasts for RMIT University, Talking Business and Talking Technology. Leon has worked for Fairfax, News Limited, AAP and the Herald and Weekly Times.

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