NBN Investigation: Australian Federal Police To Raid Parliament Again

NBN Investigation: Australian Federal Police To Raid Parliament Again

Labor staffer’s emails at the Department of Parliamentary Services at Parliament House are to be accessed by the Australian Federal Police this morning, says Labor Senator and Former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. The raid is part of an ongoing investigation into leaked documents regarding the National Broadband Network.

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The AFP executed search warrants on the 19th of May on the offices of Senator Conroy, as well as the home of Andy Byrne, a Labor staffer for opposition communications spokesman Jason Clare.

The investigation is 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”.

At the time Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the raids are “entirely a matter for the AFP,” stating “As you know they operate entirely independently of the government.”

Some of the documents sighted and seized by the Australian Federal Police in those raids, which may be linked to the leaks themselves, are politically sensitive and have been protected by parliamentary privilege until Senate decides whether police should be allowed access to them.

“Privilege has now been claimed on the documents that have been seized at [Senator Conroy’s] office and the [Conroy staffer’s] private residence,” Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin told media. Those documents will be sealed, and forwarded to the Senate for “a process to be followed” where it is determined whether Parliamentary privilege will be invoked. After that, if the Senate decides that privilege is retained or not and that will determine their potential usefulness to the AFP’s investigation.

We will update further as the story develops.