Kevin Rudd is suing the ABC

02 February, 2018, 10:32 | Author: Alyssa Little
  • These are the dodgy filing cabinets which held some of Australia's most sensitive secrets

The department launched an urgent investigation on Wednesday, after it was revealed the trove of documents had been discovered in two locked filing cabinets offloaded to a second-hand furniture depot in Canberra. We've withheld documents if there are national security reasons, if the information is already public, or to protect the privacy of public servants.

It was, the network said, "one of the biggest breaches of cabinet security in Australian history".

According to the report, the documents cover five separate governments over the past decade and many of them are labelled "top secret" or "AUSTEO" (meaning for Australian eyes only).

Head of the Australian National University's National Security College Rory Medcalf told AP that although the incident is "very weird and embarrassing", allies like the United States should not be anxious about the leak.

It adds: "The deals can be even cheaper when the items in question are two heavy filing cabinets to which no-one can find the keys".

Inside the cabinets were records of five separate governments that spanned almost 10 years; some of them refer to current members of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Cabinet.

The Australian government ordered an urgent investigation within an hour after the leak.

The papers left in the office - but not included with the sold filing cabinets - included Middle East defence plans, national security briefs, Afghan war updates, intelligence on Australia's neighbours and details of counterterrorism operations.

ASIO officers raided the ABC's bureaus at Parliament House and Brisbane at 1am on Thursday securing the documents in this safe
ASIO officers raided the ABC's bureaus at Parliament House and Brisbane at 1am on Thursday securing the documents in this safe

"Abbott gave all my government's cabinet documents to the Royal Commission on the Home Insulation Program, against the advice of the Prime Minister's department and the Australian Government Solicitor", he said. "And having seen this document, and all other relevant cabinet papers, the Royal Commission concluded that there was no finding to be made against me".

Rudd announced early Thursday morning he would be suing the ABC one of their articles published based on his government's controversial home insulation scheme, describing it as "a lie."

In a statement, the PM&C said securing the documents was the "outcome of a cooperative arrangement between the ABC and the Australian Government".

One document refers to an audit that revealed the Australian Federal Police had lost nearly 400 national security files over five years ending 2013. The cabinets were purchased for "small change", the report said, after which it sat unopened for some months until a drill was used to open the locks.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's expenditure review committee often referred to as "razor gang", was also mentioned in the secret cabinet files.

ABC has not said when the documents were found.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott said he believed a junior or mid-ranking departmental officer was to blame and insisted they "pay a price".

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