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Australian Federal Police say government ignorant of NBN raids

Confirms target was Labor members, rejects claims the timing of the raids was political

By Darren Pauli, 20 May 2016

Australian Federal Police (AFP) has confirmed it raided the office of Labor senator Stephen Conroy and the home of a staffer of opposition communications minister Jason Claire over leaked documents pertaining to Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN).

Sensitive documents have been repeatedly leaked since late last year revealing budget blow-outs, delays, and alternative network architectures.

Police began investigating in December following a referral by nbnTM, the organisation that builds and operates the NBN.

The company informed the Government and affected parties yesterday as a 'matter of courtesy', AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin told reporters in Melbourne this morning.

Colvin stressed that the raids are independent of government, an important fact as Australia is currently in the second week of an election campaign. The NBN is a politically-charged issue in Australia, with failures in delivery speed and build delays used as a political weapon by both the Government and opposition.

AFP officers also raided a home in the suburb of Brunswick.

Colvin says the AFP acted quickly since the leaks were ongoing stressing that the timing of the raids was not "influenced by external factors but by the progress of the investigation".

"We spoke to a number of people at nbnco in Sydney," Colvin says.

"The offending was ongoing during the investigation.

"There has been no influence on the AFP, and in fact the government became aware after commencement (of the raids) yesterday."

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus says he is concerned about Government pressure on the nbn to pursue document leakers.

"The documents reveal (Prime Minister) Malcolm Turnbull's mismanagement and incompetence in running the NBN," Drefus told ABC's Radio National.

The seized leaked documents are subject to a claim of parliamentary privilege meaning police cannot access the documents without parliamentary approval. ®

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