CANBERRA – Labor frontbencher Stephen Conroy has declared an "extraordinary attack on the parliament" with Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids at Parliament House into the leaking of classified documents from the National Broadband Network (NBN).
The former Communications Minister and Shadow Special Minister of State has revealed the AFP will raid Department of Parliamentary Services offices on Wednesday to access Labor staff emails.
The Communications Minister Mitch Fifield insists the AFP is going about its business and is operating independently from Government, but Senator Conroy is crying foul.
"This is a shameful attempt by Malcolm Turnbull to hide his incompetent administration of the NBN," Conroy said.
"It is an extraordinary attack on the Parliament and its constitutional duty to hold the government of the day to account."
"An extraordinary attack on the Parliament"
Labor's Stephen Conroy preempts AFP raids at Parliament House pic.twitter.com/aWUnX6J71W— Charles Croucher (@ccroucher9) August 23, 2016
The AFP raided Senator Conroy's parliamentary office and a house in Melbourne during the second week of the federal election campaign.
The NBN Co leaks had called into question Malcolm Turnbull's management of the project when he was the Communications Minister.
Labor claimed parliamentary privilege on the documents seized during those searches.
"What we are seeing here is an attempt to intimidate people to not actually do their parliamentary privilege," Conroy told ABC radio.
"This is an absolute abuse of the process," he said.
"NBN Co have illegally called the police in to conduct this investigation."
The Communications Minister has dismissed Senator Conroy as out of order.
"Everything he said was wrong," Senator Fifield told Sky News.
"The AFP operate independently from government."
"The facts are that NBN was concerned about the alleged theft of commercial in confidence material. NBN did was completely within their rights as an organisation and that is to the relevant authorities to investigate."
Mitch Fifield: "I have complete confidence in the AFP". He says Stephen Conroy is seeking to besmirch the AFP over NBN leaks #auspol— Tom McIlroy (@TomMcIlroy) August 23, 2016
"This isn't a whistle-blower inquiry. It isn't a leak inquiry. This is an investigation into the alleged theft of documents from NBN."
In May, the Prime Minister rejected any suggestion of Government interference in the investigation.
"The AFP acts independently of government and so it should," Turnbull said.
The AFP said, at the time, it was referred to the leaks by NBN Co in December.
The AFP has been sought for comment.Suggest a correction