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PM&C, ABC come to agreement on return of 'The Cabinet Files'

PM&C, ABC come to agreement on return of 'The Cabinet Files'

The state-backed Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which has obtained the files, said that it had refrained from releasing details of some of the documents because they could endanger national security.

Inside of the cabinets was the trove of documents now dubbed The Secret Cabinet Files, consisting of thousands of pages that reveal the inner workings of five separate governments that span almost a decade.

The trove, some classified "top secret", was sold cheaply at a second-hand shop in Canberra, which stocked ex-government furniture.

"From what I've seen, the documents in those filing cabinets were classified, secret classified documents", Paul Murphy, from the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance told the ABC's 7:30 program.

Another document uncovers that the Australian Federal Police lost nearly 400 security files during a five-year period that ended in 2013.

The papers' classifications include "top secret", "sensitive", "Australian eyes only", and "Cabinet-in-confidence", the ABC reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told ABC radio Thursday that there had been a serious breach of security.

The ABC has refused to reveal who bought the cabinets and found the trove of documents, insisting they would "protect their privacy at all costs".

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The ABC said it had chosen not to publish numerous documents due to their classified nature.

"The risks referred to in the Cabinet documents used in the ABC report refer to financial and administrative risks to the programme for the Commonwealth, not safety risks to workers".

ABC chose to publish some of the files, containing information regarding Australia's counterterrorism strategies, missile upgrades and terror suspect profiles, because "national security and the inner workings of our governments affect the lives of all Australians".

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on Wednesday announced an urgent investigation into the leak.

The buyer found thousands of Cabinet documents spanning more than a decade and four prime ministers - the most recent being Tony Abbott, who was replaced in 2015 by current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

But the ABC understands the Australian Federal Police (AFP) are yet to join the inquiry.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Kevin Rudd has launched legal action against ABC after it published details from one of the document related to his government's home insulation scheme. The ABC says those classified records were from "the powerful National Security Committee (NSC) of the cabinet, which controls the country's security, intelligence and defense agenda".


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