Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Federal Police probes potential leak of classified submarine documents

Anna Henderson/News NX
2 March 2016

The Australian Federal Police will investigate the leak of classified documents about the timeframe for building Australia's new fleet of submarines.
A report in The Australian newspaper has referenced "several sections of the draft white paper" that was produced under former prime minister Tony Abbott and former defence minister Kevin Andrews.
At the heart of the story is the timing of when the Government planned to have the next fleet of submarines in action.
The paper says the allegedly leaked documents had the subs being in use by the mid 2020s, whereas Mr Turnbull's white paper has them in service nearly a decade later in the early 2030s.
Mr Turnbull has been questioned about the leak in parliament, and confirmed a review had been initiated.
"I can confirm that the secretary of the Department of Defence has advised me that he has initiated an investigation," Mr Turnbull said.
He said it would be conducted by Australian Federal Police.
Mr Abbott was also quoted in the News Corp story.
He was scathing about the potential delay in bringing the new multi-billion-dollar submarine program on line.
"I'm not just disappointed, I am flabbergasted by this decision," he said.
He was also sceptical about whether the existing Collins submarines could fill the gap.
"Keeping any of these subs operational for any length of time is very difficult," Mr Abbott told the paper.
Mr Abbott's spokesman said: "As prime minister, Defence advised Mr Abbott that it was feasible for Australia's new submarines to start entering service in the second half of the next decade."
In a statement, Mr Abbott said: "I don't leak, I don't background against colleagues."
"If I've got something to say, I say it."

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