David Irvine (diplomat)

David Taylor Irvine AO (born 10 January 1947) is an Australian diplomat, who from March 2009 to September 2014 was the Director-General of Security, the head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Prior to his appointment to ASIO, he was Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) from 2003 to 2009.[1] In 2017 he was unexpectedly appointed Chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board despite having no professional investment or business experience[2].

David Irvine

David Irvine DGS ASIO.jpg
Portrait of David Irvine from the ASIO website
12th Director-General of Security
In office
30 March 2009 – 14 September 2014
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Tony Abbott
Preceded byPaul O'Sullivan
Succeeded byDuncan Lewis
10th Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service
In office
1 March 2003 – 27 March 2009
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
Preceded byAllan Taylor
Succeeded byNick Warner
Personal details
David Taylor Irvine

(1947-01-10) 10 January 1947 (age 73)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Alma materUniversity of Western Australia

Irvine was born in Perth, Western Australia[3] and studied at Hale School and The University of Western Australia, graduating with honours in Elizabethan history. He worked as a journalist in Perth, and joined the Department of External Affairs (the Australian foreign service) in 1970, and served as Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea (1996–1999)[4] and Australian Ambassador to China (2000–2003).[1]

He has written two books about Indonesia: a 1990 English translation of Bisma: Warrior Priest of the Mahabharata by Satyagraha Hurip,[5] and Leather Gods & Wooden Heroes: Java's Classical Wayang (1996; about Indonesian Wayang shadow puppets).[6]


  1. ^ a b McDonald, Hamish: Puppet-master now pulling the strings at ASIS, The Age, 20 February 2003.
  2. ^ FIRB Chair Appointment, FIRB, Treasurer, 10 April 2017
  3. ^ Appointment of Director-General, ASIS, Minister for Foreign Affairs, 23 December 2002.
  4. ^ Evans, Gareth (9 December 1995). "Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea" (Press release). Australian Government. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012.
  5. ^ Bisma : warrior priest of the Mahabharata / Satyagraha Hurip ; translated from the Indonesian by David Irvine, National Library of Australia, 1990.
  6. ^ Leather gods & wooden heroes : Java's classical wayang / David Irvine, National Library of Australia, 1996.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Bill Farmer
Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea
Succeeded by
Nick Warner
Preceded by
Ric Smith
Australian Ambassador to China
Succeeded by
Alan Thomas
Government offices
Preceded by
Allan Taylor
Director-General of the
Australian Secret Intelligence Service

Succeeded by
Nick Warner
Preceded by
Paul O'Sullivan
Director-General of Security
Succeeded by
Duncan Lewis