Australia has a new spymaster

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Richard Maude is appointed new head of spy agency the Office of National Assessments.

Career diplomat and public servant Richard Maude has been appointed director-general of the Office of National Assessments (ONA), the nation's peak foreign intelligence agency, Julia Gillard announced today.

Mr Maude, currently working as the Prime Minister's senior international policy adviser, will take up the five-year ONA post next month.

The job is one of the most senior and demanding in the Australian intelligence world.

ONA reports directly to the Prime Minister, providing expert assessments and analysis of international political, strategic and economic events and what they mean for Australia. It also coordinates the nation's foreign intelligence efforts.

Mr Maude is replacing Allan Gyngell, who is retiring after a long and distinguished public service career. He has headed up the agency since 2009.

Mr Maude has an extensive background in national security and foreign policy and has served in Malaysia, Singapore and the United States.

He was selected after the government publicly advertised the position in January.

“The appointment of Mr Maude follows an open, merit-based selection process,” Ms Gillard said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/richard-maude-is-appointed-new-head-of-spy-agency-the-office-of-national-assessments/story-fn59niix-1226628831122