AFP raids Parliament House over NBN leaks

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AFP raids Parliament House over NBN leaks

Updated: Labor claims parliamentary privilege over new files seized.

The Australian Federal Police today conducted further raids over leaked NBN internal documents, targeting the Department of Parliamentary Services this morning.

NBN Co called in the AFP late last year to investigate a series of damaging documents leaked from inside the network builder.

In May the federal police raided the office of Conroy and the home of a staffer of Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare. Conroy has claimed parliamentary privilege over the documents targeted as part of the raids, meaning the AFP cannot access the files until parliament votes on whether to keep them sealed.

Two NBN Co staff have been stood down over the affair.

The AFP this morning said it executed a search warrant in relation to the investigation at the Department of Parliamentary Services but declined to comment further.

The search warrant specifies any computers or electronic storage devices, as well as emails, logs, government records and correspondence that relate to a series of terms including the names of certain media outlets, the leaked document names, and Jason Clare staffers Andy Byrne and Ryan Hamilton.

Labor senator Stephen Conroy claimed the raids were an attempt by NBN Co and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to hide the "embarrassment" of costs blowouts with the NBN. Last August the government revealed the NBN would now need as much as $56 billion in funding, compared to the previous $41 billion.

"What we're seeing here is an attempt to intimidate people to not actually do their parliamentary duties," he told ABC's AM program.

"We're protecting the whistleblowers .. inside NBN Co [that] have had no choice but to expose - using members of parliament - the blowouts of costs and not meeting rollout targets at NBN Co. So what is at stake here is the ability of members of parliament to protect the whistleblowers that come to them."

Labor has claimed parliamentary privilege over documents seized in today's raids. 

Conroy argued that NBN Co was using its governing legislation inappropriately to investigate the leaks.

"NBN Co [is not] a public authority [and its staff] are not Commonwealth officers. So NBN Co are using the police in a way that the legislation clearly states should not be," Conroy said.

"Turnbull should accept that the legislation of NBN Co does not allow it to use the police to investigate whistleblowers. This is absolutely an abuse of process. The legislation makes it clear that NBN co have illegally called the police in to conduct this investigation."

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said it was "extraordinary" for a politician to try to intervene in an AFP investigation, and argued NBN Co was well within its rights to call the AFP.

Fifield said he had no knowledge of the impending DPS raids and the police were acting independently of the government.

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