Fifield knew of NBN's AFP leak referral

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Fifield knew of NBN's AFP leak referral

Says he didn't tell the PM.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield knew NBN Co had asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate the leaking of sensitive internal documents, but says he didn't inform the Prime Minister or any of his cabinet colleagues.

Fifield today revealed he had been advised by NBN senior management late last year that the government-owned enterprise had referred the matter to the AFP after an internal investigation failed to identify the source of the leaks.

He denied instructing or requesting NBN to bring in the AFP to investigate the series of damaging documents, which detailed problems with the government's multi-technology mix national broadband network.

Fifield also said he did not advise PM Malcolm Turnbull or any other ministers of the police investigation.

"I have had no interaction with the AFP during their investigation. Nor did I have any knowledge of, nor involvement in, matters that occured this week, as was confirmed by the AFP commissioner yesterday," Fifield said in a statement.

Federal police raided the office of Labor senator Stephen Conroy and the homes of two staffers for Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare on Thursday night.

The Labor party has criticised the "unprecedented" raids as being politically motivated given they came amidst the federal election campaign and six months after the matter was first referred to the AFP.

The ALP has called on the government to detail its involvement in the matter.

AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin yesterday denied the government had influenced the investigation and said both political parties had been informed of the raids after they were underway.

The AFP officers were accompanied in the raids by an NBN staffer who assisted in identifying documents of relevance.

It was later revealed that the staffer took 32 photographs on their phone of documents which Labor claims fall under parliamentary privilege, meaning the AFP cannot access the files until parliament determines whether to give them the status.

The Labor Party successfully pushed for the images of the documents to be deleted from the phone once they were downloaded onto USB for the Clerk of the Senate.

Four documents have been leaked out of NBN Co since November last year.

The most damaging leaks included an internal progress report that revealed the NBN was running behind on its fibre-to-the-node rollout, that NBN was considering overbuilding the degraded Optus HFC network, and that its remediation bill for Telstra's copper would likely be ten times more than it expected.

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