Damning evidence today has sheeted home blame for the bungled $223 million Australia Network tender process to the Gillard Government, Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers today revealed in Senate Estimates, under questioning from Senator Birmingham, that confidential material was leaked to media sources from within the Government.
“The AFP has today confirmed what we’ve long suspected that information was leaked from within Government itself to the media,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Sadly for Australian taxpayers bearing the cost, the AFP has also confirmed that confidential information was so poorly controlled within the Government that they can’t tell where the leak came from because so many people had the information:
“Certainly the fact that a large number of people had access to that document is a very real issue for us in our ability to successfully investigate it.”
Mr Andrew Colvin, Deputy Commissioner, Operations, AFP, 24 May 2012
Today’s AFP evidence is consistent with findings of the Auditor-General in his report released last month:
“… briefings should have had greater regard to the confidentiality and sensitivity of the information being provided for what was still a ‘live’ tender process. Ultimately, information was not as tightly controlled as it should have been.” (p. 21)
The Auditor-General further found that there had been
“… a circulation of sensitive tender information beyond that demonstrably required.” (p. 80)
”This tender was a debacle from start to finish and we now know it was sabotaged from within the Government itself,” Senator Birmingham said.
“So deep was the hatred for Kevin Rudd that information was leaked to prevent policy outcomes he wanted to secure.
“The AFP’s findings of a leak demonstrate this Government not only can’t run a simple tender, but can’t be trusted with confidential information.”