ASIO officers attend ABC officers to secure cabinet files

Bill Rogers
February 1, 2018

Chief among the documents' revelations is that Australia's former immigration minister, Scott Morrison - who is now Australia's treasurer - authorized his Immigration Department in 2013 to ask domestic security agency ASIO to delay security checks on asylum-seekers after he was told that 700 people had to be granted permanent protection under Australian law.

The sale of the furniture in the shop is not limited to Australians, the ABC said, which means the cabinets could have been bought by anyone, and indeed, sold on or given to anyone.

Gribbin said the arrival of the officers was "at the direction of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet".

The file cabinets were locked, and no one had the key.

They were unopened for several months until someone used a drill to get into the drawers, finding a trove of documents detailing nearly a decade of government workings, the ABC said.

The documents were in two locked filing cabinets sold at an ex-government sale in Canberra.

Top-secret Australian govt files "sold at second-hand shop" Canberra has launched an investigation into how hundreds of top-secret documents spanning five governments and dubbed The Cabinet Files ended up being sold at a second-hand furniture shop in the Australian capital.

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"They were purchased for small change and sat unopened for some months until the locks were attacked with a drill".

The ABC now has the files and has published several of them in recent days.

Dubbing the documents the Cabinet Files, the network calls it "one of the biggest breaches of cabinet security in Australian history", adding that "the story of their release is as gripping as it is alarming and revealing".

The documents also reveal that a former finance minister left 195 top-secret papers in her old office when her government was voted out in 2013. The ABC didn't reveal how it received the documents. The documents lost by the AFP were from the cabinet's national security committee, which controls Australia's security, intelligence and defence agenda as well as deploying the military.

Almost 400 national security files were lost by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in five years.

"As this has commenced it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time", the spokesperson said. They detail missile upgrades, profiles of suspected militants and Australia's desire in 2010 for more Indonesian cooperation to stop asylum seekers reaching Australian shores in fishing boats, the ABC said.

Australian Cabinet documents are usually kept secret for 20 years, before they are made public in a heavily redacted form.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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