Director-General of National Intelligence Andrew Shearer has highlighted the imperative of a whole-of-nation approach to safeguarding Australia’s sovereignty and national security interests, speaking at an event hosted by the United States Studies Centre (USSC).

DGNI Shearer joined Meghan Quinn PSM (Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science and Resources) and David Frederick PSM (Secretary of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water) in a discussion with Dr Michael Green, shedding light on how Australian policymakers perceive the shifting geopolitical and economic landscape.

Addressing the evolving challenges, DGNI Shearer noted a significant shift in intelligence operations in his 35-year career.

“We cannot provide security without bringing in a wholeofnation, not just a wholeofgovernment response. And that means partnering much more proactively with business, building up trusted relationships with business and with our most important international partners,” said Mr Shearer.


Ms Quinn remarked that the diversity of thought that Australia brings to issues within government was striking, and that national security touches on almost her entire portfolio, including gas, nuclear waste management, technology, and artificial intelligence. 

“So, on all that we do, you might think from the outside of the Department of Industry and Science and Resources it's all about business, it's all about either spending money or not spending money depending on what the view is, said Ms Quinn.

“But one of the really interesting things is how important the integration of economics and national security, and then thinking about the tools that we use as well.”


A key theme emphasised by David Fredericks is the dual strategic focus of his department, highlighting how domestic policy on decarbonisation intertwines with Australia's national security and foreign policy imperatives.

“In the more difficult world that we face we can't afford the luxury of senior public servants thinking only of the particular interest that we are charged with. We have an added responsibility to find opportunity to reinforce Australia's national interest as well,” said Mr Fredericks PSM.

Mr Shearer also underscored the inseparable link between prosperity and security, stressing the critical need for robust partnerships with the private sector.

"Prosperity and security are two sides of the same coin," said Mr Shearer. 

“We can't have prosperity in this country without security, but we can't have security without prosperity, and so we have to demonstrate by what we do and what we say to business leaders that we understand that Australia needs a strong, open, dynamic, flexible economy with productivity growth, and that is absolutely essential to pay for the resilience and the defence and other capabilities we're going to need to navigate this period.”

His remarks highlighted the role of trust in fostering collaboration, particularly in securing vital supply chains and critical infrastructure essential for national resilience.

24 June 2024

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