Federal police conduct raids on Labor members over NBN leaks

The Australian Federal Police has conducted raids on several Labor party members' homes and offices, including Stephen Conroy, after a referral from NBN.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has conducted raids on the Melbourne Labor Party offices as part of an investigation into the leaking of confidential National Broadband Network (NBN) documents.

ABC first reported that former Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy had his offices raided, while two staffers of Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare had their homes searched.

"I can confirm the office of Labor Senator Stephen Conroy has this evening been searched by the AFP. I understand two Labor staff members have also been named in warrants relating to this matter," Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus added in a statement.

"I understand these searches are in relation to documents relating to NBN Co. I have no further information about these documents."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the NBN leaks have continually proven that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's NBN is delayed and over-budget.

"It's an extraordinary development," Shorten said in regards to the AFP raids.

"It relates to the time when Malcolm Turnbull was communications minister, and it concerns his embarrassment over revelations that the NBN under his watch -- the largest Commonwealth taxpayer-funded development of infrastructure -- it related to his embarrassment over the fact that there was a massive blowout in costs of billions and billions of dollars, and of course huge delays to the delivery and the rollout of the NBN."

Turnbull simply said that the AFP is an independent organisation that is separate from the government.

"It's entirely a matter for the AFP, you know they operate entirely independently of the government, so this is a matter for the AFP. The Labor Party know that as well as you and I do," the prime minister said.

A member of the NBN corporate affairs team confirmed over Twitter that NBN itself had referred the matter of the leaked documents to the AFP.

The AFP confirmed that raids are being conducted in Melbourne, but would not detail where, what, or who is being targeted.

"As this activity is related to an ongoing investigation, it is not appropriate to comment any further at this stage," an AFP spokesman said in a statement.

NBN confirmed to AAP that it is assisting the federal police with the ongoing investigation, but said it wasn't appropriate to comment any further.

NBN has been subject to a number of leaks over the last six months: In November, a leaked document revealed that Optus' HFC network is "not fully fit for purpose", with 470,000 premises in the footprint needing to be overbuilt; in December, a leak divulged that the cost to replace or repair the legacy copper network would amount to AU$641 million; and in February, a document alleged that the rollout was seriously delayed and costing more to connect each premises.

In March, a document stated that NBN had conducted trials of FttP with skinny fibre that had found FttP was no more expensive than FttN, and in April, a leaked document alleged once again that 40 FttN areas were behind schedule.

Both NBN and the Coalition have continually denied the truth of these allegations, reaffirming that the NBN is on track.

With AAP

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