The Investigation Into The AWU Raids Tip-Off Is As Important As A Minister's Account Liking A Porn Tweet
Both have no additional funding and were only meant to take six months.
Investigating the media tip-off from jobs minister Michaelia Cash's office about raids on Australian Workers' Union offices is the same priority as the "liking" of a porn tweet by Greg Hunt's Twitter account, internal Australian Federal Police (AFP) documents obtained by BuzzFeed News reveal.
BuzzFeed News revealed in October that Cash's former senior media adviser David De Garis had tipped off several media organisations, and in February a journalist claimed they received a phone call from then justice minister Michael Keenan's office informing them of the raids before they took place.
The raids were part of an investigation by the Turnbull government-established watchdog, the Registered Organisations Commission, into donations made by the union over a decade ago, when it was led by current Labor leader Bill Shorten.
The minister denied her office had any involvement in the leak five times in Senate Estimates last year, before announcing De Garis was behind it. After admitting he tipped off the media, De Garis resigned in October.
The AFP commenced an investigation at 11:40am the day after the raids, and under Freedom of Information law, BuzzFeed News sought a copy of the case categorisation and prioritisation model (CCPM) log that outlines what priority a case has been given, and how much funding has been allocated to the case.
The incident type is described as "corruption", but the crime being investigated is the unauthorised disclosure of government information, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
It has been classified as an "essential" priority, which is the same classification as the investigation into the "liking" of a porn tweet by the Twitter account of health minister Greg Hunt. This is above a "routine" priority and according to the AFP "must be acted upon due to key policy, organisation accountability, strategic, legal or other issues".
The guide suggests the matters should be acted upon within one week. The CCPM suggests the AWU investigation would take from three to six months. It's been running for seven months.
The Hunt tweet investigation has finished. It ran from December to May, and the AFP concluded no offence was made.
Just like the Hunt case, no additional budget has been assigned to the Cash investigation but six to 10 AFP officers have been assigned to the case.
It's also been ranked as of "high value" and "high impact" to the AFP. The guide states this means it could relate to corruption by a public official, politically sensitive matters, or impact the system of government and government policy. A high value case is one that has a high degree of relevance to the AFP. It also requires considerable investigative skill and can relate to a strategic target involved with other activity of interest to the AFP.
The impact to the client [the government] is described as "significant", which according to the guide means: "a serious or complex crime has been committed which the agency cannot resolve without AFP involvement".
An AFP spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the investigation had not been finalised, and that the AFP could provide no further comment until that happens.
But in March, AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin said he wasn't ruling out whether more people, including a police officer, were involved.
Interviews have been conducted with more than 10 staffers in ministerial offices, but no ministers. Cash said in March that she had not been interviewed. The AFP has also spoken to people from the ROC and the Fair Work Commission. No charges have been laid.
The Federal Court has adjourned the AWU's challenge into the legitimacy of the raids until the AFP's investigation is finalised. The next hearing is scheduled for June.