Matthew Doran, ABC News Australia
22 April 2016
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are investigating another leak of classified information relating to the bids for the $50 billion submarine program.
The ABC this week revealed Federal Cabinet's National Security Committee had met to discuss the three international bids for 12 new submarines.
It was reported the Japanese bid had been all but dismissed, leaving France and Germany still in the race.
The AFP lice has confirmed the Department of Defence has asked it to investigate how that information got out.
"The AFP can confirm it has received a referral from the Department of Defence regarding the possible unauthorised release of government information," a statement said.
"As the matter is ongoing it would not be appropriate to comment further."
News of the Japanese bid falling behind its competitors has led to the Japanese Government considering top-level diplomatic action to promote its case to be the successful builder.
The ABC has been told a direct call by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to plead Japan's case is among the options being considered.
It is the second investigation of leaks from the submarine program.
In March, Mr Turnbull announced the AFP would investigate how sections of the draft defence white paper were leaked to The Australian newspaper.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott was quoted in the story, launching a scathing attack about a potential delay in bringing the new multi-billion-dollar submarine program online.
South Australian federal Coalition politicians are awaiting the announcement, which will heavily influence their re-election hopes.
Popular independent Senator Nick Xenophon has been campaigning for the fleet of submarines to be built in his state, and his support has led some Government MPs to fear for their political survival.