The Cabinet Files security breach 'a one-off', Government tells intelligence allies

The Cabinet Files security breach 'a one-off', Government tells intelligence allies

The Cabinet Files security breach 'a one-off', Government tells intelligence allies

Updated 3 February 2018, 13:50 AEDT

The Federal Government is working to ensure "disappointed" intelligence partners' trust will not be eroded after the "very, very grievous breach of national security", Cabinet minister Michael Keenan says.

Australia is moving to reassure key allies their secrets are safe after this week's massive breach of security and release of The Cabinet Files.

Hundreds of classified documents obtained by the ABC have now been secured by the nation's top spy agency after it was revealed the papers were found in two filing cabinets purchased at an ex-government furniture sale.

Cabinet minister Michael Keenan said the Federal Government was working to ensure intelligence partners' trust will not be eroded after the "very, very grievous breach of national security".

"Of course we'll reassure our allies that this is a one-off," Mr Keenan told the ABC.

"We have very good intelligence sharing arrangements, particularly with our Five Eyes partners, and of course they'll be disappointed to see that there's been a breach of security here."

The ABC has been told the security blunder has been the subject of "chatter" among the Five Eyes partners, which include the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

Mr Keenan said the sensitive and classified documents in The Cabinet Files appeared to be "in relation to Australia's own internal concerns", but security partners would be given assurances regardless.

"It's not reflective of the very robust systems we have in place for protecting classified information," he said.

"We will make sure that this is not something that occurs again."

Another Cabinet minister, Simon Birmingham, declared "nothing" would threaten the relationship with Australia's Five Eyes partners.

"The tightness of our security relations with other countries is something we value and that we work closely with and nothing really threatens that close bond and cooperation we have with our security partners," Mr Birmingham said.

The breach has revealed the inner workings of five separate governments, sparking fears it will alarm Australia's security and intelligence allies.

"It sends a signal to our intelligence partners and allies that Australia might not be trustworthy when it comes to sharing information and intelligence with us," independent federal MP and former intelligence analyst Andrew Wilkie said.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has confessed it lost the documents and the secretary of the department Martin Parkinson said the breach cast a poor light on his workforce.

He said the failure would have implications for the entire public service.

Mr Keenan said "somebody needs to be held to account" for the bungle.

He said it was for Mr Parkinson to decide if those responsible should be sacked, but said "they need to take appropriate measures to make sure that never happens again".