I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of David Irvine, one of Australia’s most esteemed public servants and diplomats.
David enjoyed a long and decorated career, representing Australia in some of our most important overseas posts before leading a number of institutions at the forefront of protecting our country’s national security.
David joined the Department of External Affairs (now the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) in 1970. He served in posts in Rome, Jakarta and Beijing, before being appointed as Australia’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea in the late 1990s then as Australia’s Ambassador to China in the early 2000s.
Following his China post, he was appointed Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), followed by the appointment as Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).
After leaving ASIO in 2014, David was appointed to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) in 2015. Two years later, he was appointed FIRB’s Chair for a five-year term. In December 2021, I extended David’s appointment by a further two years.
David provided outstanding leadership at FIRB amid an increasingly complex foreign investment landscape. In recent years, this has included steering the FIRB through the challenges presented by COVID-19, and advising on and implementing the Government’s foreign investment reforms that commenced on 1 January 2021.
I feel very fortunate to have known David and counted him as a friend. He was a person of the utmost decency, always professional, highly capable and deeply committed to serving his country. That he did in so many ways. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten.
My thoughts are with David’s wife Robin and their family at this most difficult time.