Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers raided the Parliament House on Wednesday at 10 AM to investigate the leaking of classified documents from the National Broadband Network (NBN). According to reports, police want access to Labor staff emails, records of Labor staffers and news organizations.
The AFP met with the staff of Labor senator and Shadow Special Minister of State Stephen Conroy, also the former Communications Minister, in the Parliament’s basement. Although current Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says that the raid is conducted independent of the Government, Conroy says it is actually an attempt by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to hide his incompetent administration of NBN.
“What we are seeing here is an effort by the NBN Co. to hide the embarrassment that Malcolm Turnbull faces with a $6 billion cost. That’s a $15 billion blowout in the cost of Malcolm Turnbull’s National Broadband Network,” says Conroy. “This is an absolute abuse of process.
The leaked documents acquired by Labor call into question Turnbull’s mismanagement of NBN, which cost lengthy delays and blowouts. Conroy adds that their duty is to expose this but the raid is conducted to intimidate them.
Conroy calls this an extraordinary attack on the Parliament. The Labor senator also accuses NBN Co. to have illegally called the police in to conduct this investigation.
AFP has not commented on this issue yet. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister asserts that the AFP is operated independently from the government. Turnbull is disappointed with Conroy’s accusation.
An NBN Co. spokeswoman added that the organization was within its rights to report theft or other criminal activities to the authorities. It is also up to AFP to accept the referral and perform any action based on what they think is best.
On the other hand, Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus supports Conroy’s claim and stated that the leaks included embarrassing details that Turnbull does not want anyone to know.