After controversial commentator Andrew Bolt was successfully accused of breaking the Racial Discrimination Act in 2011, the Cabinet later asked Bolt about changing the law's "unreasonably restrictive" reach - and "was the only person specifically named as having been consulted", the ABC says, citing draft legislation that is part of the files.
The cabinet files dump came under fire from security experts, but was made light of on social media.
As a justification to why they have chosen to publish some of the files, the ABC said that national security and the inner workings of our government affect the lives of all Australians.
Filing cabinets containing thousands of top-secret documents belonging to the Australian government have been sold in a second-hand shop.
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Hundreds of top-secret documents, which can embarrass multiple Australian governments of the recent past, have been found in a second-hand furniture shop in Canberra.
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According to a file among the recovered documents, the Australian Police lost 400 security documents between 2008 and 2013, of which the whereabouts of a large part remain unknown. The cabinets were locked and sold without keys, it added.
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The papers left in the office - but not included with the sold filing cabinets - included Middle East defense plans, national security briefs, Afghan war updates, intelligence on Australia's neighbors and details of counterterrorism operations.
"We think it would be highly undesirable (and legally confounding) if the Commonwealth were to simply produce cabinet-related documents to the royal commission on the basis of a purported waiver of public interest immunity", read the advice from Tom Howe QC, chief counsel at the Australian Government Solicitor. The ABC didn't reveal how it received the documents. The classifications include "top secret", "sensitive", "Australian eyes only", and "cabinet-in-confidence".
"Journalism like this relies on fearless confidential sources and we'll protect their privacy at all costs".
Cabinet documents are not normally released until 20 years after publication.
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While the ABC still has access to the documents, lawyers for the ABC and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) are now negotiating what will happen to them. But thanks to those other, more common cabinets, they're being scrutinized now.