Leanne Close, APM
Head of Counter - Terrorism Program, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Leanne Close is the head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s counter-terrorism program.

Prior to joining ASPI, Leanne was a Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), with over 33 years policing and law enforcement experience.

From 2017 – 2019, Leanne was responsible for the AFPs National Security portfolio. As part of that role she led and managed teams responsible for counter-terrorism investigations, protection and aviation operations. Leanne provided policy advice to Ministers and government and collaborated with Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies in relation to the development of key strategies for dealing with national security matters. She was also the AFP representative at the Australia / New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee.

In 2016, Leanne completed a 12-month secondment at the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department as Deputy Secretary Criminal Justice Group. In this role she was responsible for the strategic leadership and management of criminal justice matters on behalf of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. Specifically, Leanne led teams managing: criminal law policy and legislation development; Australian treaty negotiations; extradition and mutual assistance requests; anti-corruption policy; negotiation for international transfers of prisoners; national firearms policy, including successful re-negotiation of the National Firearms Agreement; and, international engagement with justice sectors in South-East Asia, the Pacific and Papua New-Guinea.

From 2015-2019, Leanne was the permanent Co-Chair of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering. The APG is the largest Financial Action Taskforce in the world today, comprising 41-member states. It is a regional multi-lateral organisation, with the strategic mission to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

Her qualifications include a Master of Education Leadership from the University of Canberra and two Graduate Certificates in Professional Development Education (University of Canberra) and Applied Management (Australian Institute of Police Management). Leanne Close is the head of ASPI’s counter-terrorism program. Leanne was awarded with the Australian Police Medal in 2005.

Changing Dynamics of Terrorism

The pervasiveness of technology in every-day life has had positive but also some perverse effects. One of these is the ability for people to encourage, incite and motivate others to engage in violence. The face of terrorism, over the past two decades, has predominantly featured Islamist extremists. The online presence and “marketing” of an Islamic State saw thousands of people travel to Syria and Iraq to fight for this cause, as well as the encouragement of violent actions in their own countries. Australia experienced several terrorist attacks, and thwarted many others over this time, by people radicalised online. Now we are seeing the rhetoric alter, with increasingly radical and violent actions being encouraged by extreme right-wing nationalists and some other fringe groups. Leanne Close will explore this phenomenon and discuss the implications for law enforcement and national security in Australia.