One Year Since The AWU Raid Media Leaks, The AFP Has Wrapped Up Its Investigation
"I am not prepared to rule out or rule in or make any comment about who that investigation may or may not have taken an interest in," said AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has confirmed the investigation into the media being tipped off about the police raids on the Australian Workers' Union's (AWU) offices has been completed, and no-one has been charged.
The AWU's Sydney and Melbourne offices were raided by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) on October 24 last year as part of the Registered Organisations Commission's (ROC) investigation into donations made by the union over a decade ago when the union was led by current Labor leader Bill Shorten.
BuzzFeed News revealed that then employment minister Michaelia Cash's office tipped off the media about the October 24 raids by the AFP on the Sydney and Melbourne offices. Her senior media advised resigned an hour after the story was published.
BuzzFeed News has also spoken to a journalist who claims they were alerted by then justice minister Michael Keenan's office ahead of the raids.
The AFP referred its investigation into the "unauthorised disclosure of government information", which carries a maximum two-year jail term, to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) on August 20.
Deputy commissioner Leanne Close told Senate Estimates on Monday that from that date on, the AFP considered its investigation completed, pending any requests from the CDPP for further inquiries to take place. Close said she didn't know whether the CDPP had requested more information.
Labor senator Doug Cameron asked in estimates why no charges had been laid, given someone had admitted to the leak.
AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin said: "Public commentary by someone that in people's minds may look like an admission to a crime is a long way from the rules of evidence in terms of what is required from us to launch a prosecution."
Colvin would not answer whether he had sought advice over whether to charge anyone over the leak. He also refused to rule out whether Cash or Keenan had been investigated, interviewed or given witness statements.
"I won't comment on the specifics of the investigation ... but what I will say and what I can say is that matter has been referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, who will consider the evidence that we have given to them," Colvin said.
"I am not prepared to rule out or rule in or make any comment about who that investigation may or may not have taken an interest in."
The Australian Financial Review alleged in August that Cash declined to provide a witness statement to police, claiming she didn't need to make a fresh statement as she'd been quizzed on the matter many times in Senate Estimates, and everything she knew was on the public record.
Colvin said his officers have "absolutely no power to compel somebody to answer our questions".
Close refused to answer any questions about the accuracy of that story, on the grounds that it may prejudice the ongoing investigation and the assessment by the CDPP.
Cameron: Have you received any other external information other than from senator Cash?
Close: We received information from a range of witnesses and people, senator.
Cameron: Including other ministerial offices?
Cameron: Can you advise us what ministerial offices has provided information?
Close: No senator.
The AWU Federal Court challenge on the legitimacy of the raids has been delayed until the investigation has been completed. It is currently slated for trial in February.