Investigation launched into found Cabinet documents

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The ABC has revealed that the documents related to the loss of nearly 400 national security files over the last five years, a scrapped government plan to rescind welfare payments to under 30s and a home insulation scheme that claimed four lives among other revelations. It adds, "The thousands of pages reveal the inner workings of five separate governments and span almost a decade".

The Cabinet Files, as the documents have been aptly named, were found in the two filing cabinets sold at an ex-government sale in Canberra - and were bought for "small change" because the keys to unlock them could not be found.

Looking to cut spending under Prime Minister Tony Abbott, his top treasury and finance officials considered denying welfare to anyone who's under 30.

Asked about the leaked documents and the ABC's reporting on them, Australia's current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: I think they've come across someone's bottom drawer in Canberra.

The ABC says the documents, known as The Cabinet Files reveal the inner workings of five separate governments and four prime ministers - detailing Australia's intelligence priorities, counter-terrorism strategies, missile upgrades and profiles of terror suspects.

Papers also included sensitive documents left in the office of Penny Wong when Labor lost the 2013 election.

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The Australian reported an urgent inquiry had been launched to discover how the files were allowed to make it into private hands. Not so in Australia, where a leak can happen with the simple sale of a secondhand cabinet.

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. Nearly all of them were classified, including some as "top secret" or "AUSTEO" - for Australian eyes only. They were sold off cheaply because they were heavy and no one could find the keys.

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".

"Journalism like this relies on fearless confidential sources and we'll protect their privacy at all costs". State-funded broadcaster ABC News released some of these documents on Wednesday, calling it "one of the biggest breaches of Cabinet security in Australian history".

The files also revealed that former prime minister John Howard's National Security Committee (NSC) gave serious consideration to removing the right to remain silent when being questioned by police. But thanks to those other, more common cabinets, they're being scrutinized now.