Wednesday, 29 March 2017 08:07

Documents seized in NBN leaks hunt withheld from police probe Featured

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Documents which were seized by the Australian Federal Police during raids last year in a bid to find the source of leaks to stories about the NBN Co will not be available to the police for their investigation.

The Australian Senate's Standing Committee on Privileges, in its final ruling on the matter, said on Tuesday that the material, seized both from the office of then Senator Stephen Conroy in Melbourne and the Labor Parliamentary office in Canberra, was covered by parliamentary privilege.

The raids on Conroy's office and the home of a staffer to Labor's then communications spokesman Jason Clare were carried out during last year's federal election.

The raids on Labor's parliamentary office were effected in August.

The committee upheld Conroy's claim that the documents seized were connected to his parliamentary business.

It did not make a finding of contempt in relation to the case saying this was done provided the seized documents were not used in the police investigation.

In February last year, there were claims in the mainstream media that the Coalition multi-technology mix broadband network rollout faced mounting delays and rising costs.

The claims were based on an internal progress report which detailed a large number of issues that were hampering the progress of the rollout.

At the time, NBN Co said it had asked the AFP to act, while the Labor Party accused the Coalition government of having orchestrated the raids.

NBN Co chairman Ziggy Switkowski used an op-ed in the Fairfax Press to defend the raids and was later found to have breached caretaker conventions by doing so.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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