POLITICS

Search Warrants Executed At Parliament House Over NBN Leak

Labor says AFP raid is an extraordinary attack on the Parliament

24/08/2016 12:35 PM AEST | Updated August 24, 2016 14:01

CANBERRA -- The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have searched email servers at Parliament House over leaked classified documents showing a cost blow out with the National Broadband Network (NBN).

It's forced the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to defend the integrity of the AFP, after one of the alleged subjects of the search, Labor frontbencher Stephen Conroy, declared the AFP was being used to intimidate people.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has also stated his view at the National Press Club that the leak "complaint was triggered from within the government."

AFP officers searched the Department of Parliamentary Services in the basement of Parliament House around 11:00 am after a stand-off over filming rights between awaiting media and security.

Journalists, camera crews and photographers were later allowed to film AFP personnel leaving the area.

Alex Ellinghausen, Fairfax
AFP officers in the basement of Parliament House in Canberra

It is the latest stage of the AFP investigation into the leaks which were ordered by NBN Co after classified material was published in several media outlets.

The AFP raided Senator Conroy's parliamentary office in Melbourne and the homes of two staffers during the second week of the federal election campaign.

Wednesday's server search relates to the digital correspondence of Labor staffers.


The search warrant indicates the AFP is searching for correspondence relating to several Labor staffers, the NBN, NBN Co, several classified plans and briefings, as well as media organisations including The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, delimiter.com.au and the ABC.


Labor has claimed parliamentary privilege over the documents seized, so the material will be sealed.

A statement from the AFP confirmed the purpose of the search warrant.

The AFP can confirm a search warrant will be executed today in relation to its investigation into the alleged unauthorised disclosure of Commonwealth information relating to the NBN Co.

Senator Conroy has accused the Turnbull Government of shutting down scrutiny as the NBN leaks call into question Turnbull's management of the project when he was the Communications Minister.

Andrew Meares, Fairfax

"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."

Alex Ellinghausen, Fairfax
Parliament House security officers, staff members of Senator Stephen Conroy and AFP officers in the basement of Parliament House in Canberra

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has backed up Senator Conroy, saying the Prime Minister was embarrassed state of NBN Co exposed by the leak.

"It is information that NBN Co and Mr Turnbull did not want to be made public," he told reporters in Melbourne.


"Let me be absolutely clear. This is not about the Australian Federal Police. They are doing their job," Dreyfus said.

"The only person whose integrity in question is Mr Turnbull."

The Prime Minister has revealed he was told about the AFP activity on Tuesday night by the Justice Minister Michael Keenan.

Penny Stephens, Fairfax
The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull defends the AFP over NBN raids

Mr Turnbull has called on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to "pull Senator Conroy into line" over his comments, saying it was an "outrageous suggestion" that the AFP was not acting independently of Government.

"He knows absolutely as well as we do that the AFP are thoroughly independent of the Government, there is no political direction at all," he told reporters in Sydney.

"He should know better."

The AFP was referred to the leaks by NBN Co in December.

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