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

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ABC reporters Ashlynne McGhee and Michale McKinnon revealed the documents - and the nature of their discovery - in an expose titled The Cabinet Files.

Now, we know how they got the documents behind these stories: from an actual, literal filing cabinet, put up for sale at a Canberra secondhand furniture store.

The cabinets were sold at a furniture store for a discounted price because no one could find keys to open them, the national broadcaster reported.

Australian Cabinet documents are normally sealed and kept confidential until they are released to the public 20 years later.

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).

The ABC began publishing parts of the files this week, revealing the embarrassing inner workings of government - and, today, reporting that the trove of documents also include references to at least two other previously unknown breaches, in which hundreds more secret and sensitive documents were either lost or left unsupervised.

Some of the files divulge that former Australian Finance Minister Penny Wong left behind around 200 classified documents detailing Middle East defense plans and updates of the Afghanistan war in her old office when her Australian Labor Party was defeated by the Liberal/National coalition in the 2013 federal election.




The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the ABC reached an agreement on the return of the documents on Thursday night, according to ABC News.

The leaks run into "thousands of pages", revealing the inner workings of five separate governments, spanning almost a decade, ABC News said.

While Australians have been amused by the manner in which the documents came to light, government officials are furious at the leak. It said the files had been found in filing cabinets purchased by an unidentified person from the shop where ex-government furniture is sold cheaply.

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

They also reveal that police lost nearly 400 documents from the top-secret national security committee.

The ABC has not identified the buyer who removed the locks with a drill.

Among the revelations contained in the documents were details on former immigration minister Scott Morrison's treatment of asylum seekers' visa applications, former PM Tony Abbott's proposed welfare cuts and claims that Rudd and his successor (and predecessor) Julia Gillard knew of critical risks to the insulation scheme that killed four installers.

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