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Intelligence Review

In Conversation: The 2017 Independent Intelligence Review

Speakers Michael L'Estrange , Stephen Merchant and Laura Tingle

ASPI invites you to attend an in-depth conversation with Michael L’Estrange and Stephen Merchant, the authors of the 2017 Independent Intelligence Review.

“Mich­ael L’Estrange, a former secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and international adviser to John Howard; and Stephen Merchant, who has headed the Australian Signals Directorate and was a deputy secretary in Defence with deep experience of the intelligence world.

Neither man is in the business of political gamesmanship or interested in Canberra’s public service rituals of fighting for bur­eaucratic power. Their review is as straight an assessment as one can get about how the intelligence system needs to be reshaped to handle a risky strategic environment that, the authors judge, is quickly deteriorating.

L’Estrange and Merchant argue that a rising competition for influence between states, the spread of missiles and more lethal military technology, the growth of extremism and terrorism, and the interdependence of countries through information technology and economic links combine to make the world less predictable and threats more immediate.

They see a worrying trend of international and domestic security risks becoming more interconnected. Our intelligence system was designed around keeping foreign and domestic security arrangements separate. Now the challenge is to make our 10 intelligence agencies operate more like a single enterprise.” Peter Jennings in The Weekend Australian

Image courtesy of Flickr user CWCS Managed Hosting.


Michael L'Estrange

Michael L'Estrange was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University (1976-79) and later joined the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in 1981.

Stephen Merchant

Stephen Merchant now conducts his own consultancy business, having completed almost 40 years of service with the Australian Government in August 2015.

Laura Tingle

Journalist, Essayist and Author Laura Tingle has spent most of her 35 year career reporting on Australian federal politics, and the country’s major policy debate.