Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has launched legal action against the ABC after it published details of a secret cabinet document related to his Labor government’s home insulation scheme.
In a statement, Mr Rudd said the document referred to by the public broadcaster was about financial and administrative risks to the program for the Commonwealth, not safety risks, and rejected any suggestion he ignored safety warnings as a “lie”.
“For these reasons, legal proceedings against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation have now commenced,” he said on Thursday.
Mr Rudd said the document referred to by the ABC was considered by the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program in 2014.
“Having seen this document, and all other relevant cabinet papers, the royal commission concluded that there was no findings to be made against me,” he said.
The cabinet document was part of a trove of papers, some classified “top secret”, found in a filing cabinet sold cheaply at a second-hand shop in Canberra stocking ex-government furniture.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has launched an urgent investigation and ASIO early on Thursday morning visited the ABC offices in Parliament House and Brisbane to deliver a safe to secure the papers.
The so-called pink batts royal commission was established by the then-Abbott coalition government in response to the deaths of four installers employed by companies that delivered the $2.7 billion Labor program.
It was part of an overall national economic stimulus package set up in the wake of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.