The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will investigate the leak of classified documents about the timeframe for building Australia's new fleet of submarines. The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered the investigation.
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.
The papers show that under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's reign, the plan was to bring new 12 submarines into service by the mid-2020s.
The story published information from a classified draft of the defence white paper written while Abbott was PM and while Kevin Andrews was defence minister.
Turnbull said Defence had consistently advised the government it was highly unlikely the first of the new submarines could be delivered by 2026 and instead claim they always expected them to arrive in the early 2030s.
The classified documents were leaked to The Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan and Mr Abbott has denied any involvement, saying he was 'flabbergasted' to discover there was a delay on the arrival of the subs.
Amid speculation over the source of the leak, Abbott said he was not to blame. “I don’t leak, I don’t background against colleagues. If I’ve got something to say, I say it,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Turnbull told parliament: “The Secretary of the Department of Defence (Dennis Richardson) has advised me that he has initiated an investigation which will obviously be conducted by the Australian Federal Police into the apparent leak of these classified documents that were referred to in the newspaper."