The Australian Federal Police has confirmed that it executed search warrants last night on the offices of Labor senator and former communications minister Stephen Conroy, as well as the home of Andy Byrne, a Labor staffer for opposition communications spokesman Jason Clare.
The raids are part of an investigation concerning “allegations of the unauthorised disclosure of Commonwealth information” which contained documents showing the overblown state of the budget and lagging schedule for the NBN, and were prompted after a referral from the National Broadband Network Company on 9 December 2015, since which time there has been an “ongoing investigation”.
The AFP assures that both sides of government were “appropriately notified and advised of operational activity” after it commenced yesterday.
“This investigation has been undertaken independent of government, and decisions regarding yesterday’s activity were made by the AFP alone,” the AFP said in a statement, which went on to confirm that the initial raids are part of a “phased approach”. The next phase will examine and analyse the material collected during the search.
“The AFP has received assistance from the NBN Co in this investigation,” the AFP confirmed, which included organising up to 20 interviews with NBN employees.
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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told News the raids are “entirely a matter for the AFP,” stating “As you know they operate entirely independently of the government.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had more to say on the matter, calling the raids an ” “extraordinary development” and stating “there was a massive blow out in costs of billions and billions of dollars and of course huge delays to the delivery and the rollout of the NBN. We’ll have more to say in coming days.”
This investigation remains ongoing, and the AFP has stated it will “provide further detail when it is appropriate to do so.”