Sky News with Kieran
24 August 2016
Subject: AFP, nbn
E & OE
Conroy, the former Shadow Minister for Communications and former Minister for
Communications in the then Labor Government has said it’s an extraordinary
attack on the Parliament and its Constitutional duty to hold the Government
of-the-day to account. He says it’s a shameful attempt by Malcolm Turnbull to
hide his incompetent administration of the NBN – what’s your reaction to that?
Kieran, I couldn’t believe my ears this morning when I heard Stephen Conroy on AM.
Everything he said was wrong. The AFP operate independently of government.
And the facts are that NBN was concerned about the alleged theft of commercial
in-confidence material. And NBN did what is completely within their rights as
an organisation. And that is to refer it to the relevant authorities to
investigate. This isn’t a whistle blower inquiry. This isn’t a leak inquiry.
This is an investigation into the alleged theft documents from NBN. But the
other thing that Stephen was completely wrong on was the allegation that NBN is
behind schedule and over budget. It’s not. Only last week NBN released their
financial year results, which showed that NBN is on-track and on-budget. That
three million households can now access the NBN. 1.1 million households have
actually hooked-up, are paying customers. So that three million figure
represents 25 per cent of the nation. And we’re on track to have it completed
by 2020, and that’s years ahead of what Labor proposed.
Conroy says it’s an attack on the Parliament and its Constitutional duty to
hold the Government of-the-day to account.
says he’s going to continue to assert parliamentary privilege over all material
that’s gathered here.
I’ve got to say, I don’t know if the AFP are undertaking any operational
activity today. And I wouldn’t, because the AFP operates independently of
he’s been told by the AFP that they’re going to raid the offices today, here in
Parliament. It’s quite extraordinary, isn’t it?
think the extraordinary thing is Stephen Conroy has called for the AFP to cease
their investigation. I was on Radio National Drive with Patricia
Karvelas a couple weeks ago, and Stephen said: “I’ve written to the AFP
Commissioner saying that he should cease the investigation”. I mean that’s
extraordinary, a Member of Parliament seeking to tell the AFP how to conduct
their business. We respect the independence of the AFP. Stephen Conroy and
Labor have continually sought to besmirch the good name of the AFP and to
question their integrity.
to have Federal Police on the grounds of Parliament, raiding politicians’
offices, is that appropriate?
AFP conducts their inquiries in the manner that they think is appropriate to
conclude their inquiry. The way that things have always been handled – and has
been traditionally respected by both sides of parliament – is that we have a
separation between the police and the Government and the Parliament. We should
all respect the independence and the integrity of the AFP and allow them to get
about their business.
the final question I ask you is about Stephen Conroy’s suggestion that NBN Co
isn’t entitled to special protections as a Commonwealth Authority. That it is
under its own enabling legislation, it is not a Public Authority, it’s taken
for the purposes of the Commonwealth Law not to have incorporated for the
purpose of the Commonwealth, not a Public Authority or an instrumentality or
agency of the Crown. So is NBN overstepping its rights, its jurisdiction here?
Australian Federal Police determine what is and is not within their
jurisdiction to investigate. Again, this is highly unusual for a Member of
Parliament to seek to take to them self, the duty of what is and isn’t in the
jurisdiction of the AFP, that’s something the AFP…
is more about the status of the NBN saying that they’ve overstepped the mark;
that they’re not a Commonwealth Authority, as far as special protection from
organisation is entitled if they have concerns about allegations of theft, to
refer those to the relevant law enforcement authorities. Once something is
referred to a law enforcement agency, that agency determines whether something
is within their jurisdiction. The AFP have determined that it is. They’re
conducting their inquiries. And it’s not appropriate for Members of Parliament
to seek to heavy the AFP, or to seek to question the integrity of the AFP. We
respect the AFP. We respect their integrity. Stephen Conroy should as well. And
quite frankly Bill Shorten should pull him into
thanks for your time.