What do The Cabinet Files mean for Australia's allies?


What do The Cabinet Files mean for Australia's allies?

Australia now is facing its highest threat of espionage and foreign interference since the Cold War, the Telegraph reported, citing the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

The ABC also said the documents "expose repeated security breaches of Australia's most sensitive and classified documents and a seemingly casual attitude of some of those charged with keeping the documents safe".

The Australian reported an urgent inquiry had been launched to discover how the files were allowed to make it into private hands.

The Australian Federal Police lost almost 400 national security files in five years.

The Australian government on Wednesday ordered the probe into how hundreds of exclusive documents relating to national security, immigration, welfare, communications and controversial racial discrimination laws ended up at the shop in Canberra.

We have published some of the documents, but not all.

"I think they've come across someone's bottom drawer in Canberra", current Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Sky News when asked about ABC's release of some documents. "I was not consulted but was once told what had been decided", he told the ABC.

The government of former Prime Minister John Howard seriously considered removing an individual's right to remain silent when questioned by police, leaked documents showed. The options included cutting off under-30s from income support entirely, cutting off under-30s in areas with employment opportunities and limiting income support to young people with a work history.

For example, files discussing the NBN Co's secret negotiation strategies were revealed.

The ABC cited departmental report warning of "critical risks" in the scheme in April 2009, before it rolled out, saying "many of these risks can not be adequately managed in the lead-up to the July 1 start date". It does not specify whether any of these were safety concerns. But it has used them in recent weeks to report stories that have been embarrassing to the former administrations of Kevin Rudd and Abbott, as well as a number of serving lawmakers.

He said in a statement to ABC: "The Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program had unprecedented access to cabinet material and made no adverse finding against Mr Rudd".

Mr Rudd issued a statement via Twitter this morning, saying that the allegation he had ignored warnings of risks to the safety of installers was "a lie" and that the referenced documents had been submitted to the Royal Commission.

The Cabinet is the top decision making body in a parliamentary system, composed of the prime minister and his or her most senior ministers.



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