Labor has directly linked police raids on the offices of a senior Labor frontbencher and the home of a party staffer to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Australian Federal Police raided the Melbourne offices of Senator Stephen Conroy on Friday as it executed search warrants relating to leaked national broadband network documents.
Senator Conroy was the minister responsible for the NBN prior to the 2013 election when Labor lost power.
A second raid was carried out overnight on the home of a Labor staffer who previously worked for another senior opposition figure, Anthony Albanese.
The government has dismissed as “nothing short of loopy” any suggestion the raids were timed to coincide with the election campaign.
Mr Albanese says the prime minister has questions to answer over his involvement given the leaks related to Mr Turnbull’s time as communications minister when he turned the NBN into “fraud band”.
“We know that he was desperate to stop it getting out that the rollout is way behind time,” he told the Nine Network on Friday.
The AFP says its investigation is “independent of government” and that decisions regarding the raids were made “by the AFP alone”.
That hasn’t satisfied Labor.
“These are extraordinary and unprecedented events and the government has a great deal of explaining to do,” shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said.
Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said Labor was trying to politicise the AFP investigation.
“If you are suggesting that the government has organised raids by the AFP against the Labor Party, that is an extraordinary allegation,” he said.
Mr Albanese questioned why there weren’t similar police investigations into leaks of cabinet documents ahead of the May 3 budget.
The raids are expected to dominate campaigning on Friday.