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    5.2 Security classifications on Cabinet submissions

    Cabinet is the highest decision-making body in government and therefore matters discussed have significant implications for the State, the private sector and individuals. The unauthorised and/or premature disclosure of Cabinet-in-Confidence information can be damaging to the public interest, adversely affect businesses and individuals, and disrupt the public policy agenda. In addition, unlawful disclosure of Cabinet-in-Confidence information may constitute an offence under the Criminal Code, Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 and constitute official misconduct under the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001.

    Offence provisions relating to unlawful disclosure of Cabinet-in-Confidence information relates to both electronic and hardcopy forms of information.

    Access to Cabinet submissions is governed by a "need to know" principle with all submissions being assigned a security classification which determines the extent and method of their circulation by the Cabinet Secretariat. There are three levels of security classification ranging from "A" Secret, "B" Restricted, to "C" Confidential.

    Ministers will determine the appropriate security classification for their submissions based on sensitivity and the level of security required. As a general rule, the following circulation procedures will apply with submissions bearing the respective security classifications

    Security Classification "A" (Secret)

    Submissions will be distributed to Ministers in a separate sealed envelope. For departments that have been consulted on an issue, a copy in a separate sealed envelope (addressed to the Minister) will be provided to the relevant Minister for possible referral to that Chief Executive Officer. It is at the discretion of the Minister whether the submission is referred to the Chief Executive Officer, based on the sensitivity of the issue and security concerns that may exist.

    Security Classification "B" (Restricted)

    Submissions will be distributed to Ministers, Chief Executive Officers of the central agencies and those Chief Executive Officers of departments who were involved or need to be involved in the consultation process. Distribution is via the normal Cabinet folder process.

    Security Classification "C" (Confidential)

    Submissions will be distributed to Ministers and all Chief Executive Officers.

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    Last updated:
    18 May, 2016
    Last reviewed:
    17 July, 2009