The Australian Federal Police has searched the office of the senior Labor senator Stephen Conroy and a Labour staffer, in a move the Opposition says is “extraordinary and unprecedented” during an election campaign.
The raids were connected to leaked documents about the National Broadband Network (NBN) and Malcolm Turnbull’s time in charge of the internet rollout when the cost of the scheme blew out way beyond budget.
The raids took place overnight, catching both the Labor Party and the Government by surprise.
It is believed the NBN referred the matter directly to the police themselves to protect the investigation for as long as possible.
The staffer whose house was raided has been named as Opposition communications spokesman Jason Clare.
The leaked documents were first published by Fairfax last year and follow on from a number of high-profile leaks on both sides of the aisle.
Labor members were clearly shaken by the raids.
Bill Shorten was only informed of the raids once they were taking place, with the Government being the first let into the loop by the AFP.
“We’ll have more to say in coming days, it’s an extraordinary development,” Mr Shorten told reporters in western Sydney.
“It relates to Mr Turnbull’s time in charge of the NBN and the extraordinary blowout of costs and huge delays in the implementation of NBN and millions of Australian households not getting what was promised.”
Mr Turnbull stressed that the raid was not the result of meddling from the Government.
“They operate entirely independently of the Government and so this is a matter for the AFP, the Labor party know that as well as you and I do,” Mr Turnbull said.
More information about the raids and any resulting consequences are expected to be released today.