The Opposition Leader slammed yesterday's raids as nothing but a taxpayer funded political stunt.
Bill Shorten has called the police raids on the Sydney and Melbourne offices of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU), a “grubby effort by a grubby government, and quite frankly, a grubby prime minister”.
Yesterday afternoon, the offices were stormed by the Australian Federal Police on the orders of the Registered Organisations Commission (union watchdog), largely over a $100,000 donation the AWU made to activist group GetUp in 2006 while the Opposition Leader was secretary.
“Since the investigation commenced, the ROC received information which raised reasonable grounds for suspecting that documents relevant to this investigation may be on the premises of the AWU… and that those documents may be being interfered with [by being concealed or destroyed],” the ROC stated.
But Mr Shorten rubbished the premise, saying it was nothing more than a taxpayer-funded smear campaign.
“I know that this government will keep digging and digging and digging, and wasting taxpayers’ money right up until the next election,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Canberra today.
“The government is wasting taxpayer money in an increasingly grubby effort by a grubby government, and quite frankly, a grubby prime minister, who has been exposed as standing for nothing.”
The AWU’s National Secretary Daniel Walton described the raids as a “shameful new low”.
“It is clear the ROC has been established not to promote good governance, but to use taxpayer and police resources to muckrake through historic documents in an attempt to find anything that might smear a future Labor PM,” he told the ABC in a statement.
“This is a shameful new low for a Government already scraping the bottom of the political barrel.”
This is a shameful new low for a Government already scraping the bottom of the political barrel
The PM just reiterated that Mr Shorten has “questions to answer”.
“The AWU should comply with the law,” Mr Turnbull told reporters. “The AWU has got questions to answer, Bill Shorten has questions to answer.”
Waste of police resources
While the PM was conducting an investigation into the AWU, he was also rubbishing claims he has personally been hindering the crime-stopping efforts of national police.
As reported in the Daily Telegraph today, an Australian Federal Police commander claims the crime-fighting capacity of the AFP is suffering because 22 officers (the equivalent of three investigative teams) have to be stationed full-time at his Point Piper residence and other AFP buildings.
A three-page document written by the Sydney-based commander in July, was released during Question Time, and claims international drug mail detections that are usually carried out by the AFP had to be forwarded to the NSW Police, and 23 active investigations had been terminated or suspended because of the shortage of resources.
In response, Mr Turnbull said: “If the honourable member spent more time listening to the AFP and less time co-ordinating his Question Time tactics with the ABC, he’d have a better insight into national security.”
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said an investigation was underway to ascertain how an internal document was leaked. He also said the provisions in place for the PM were “entirely consistent” with what they offered previous leaders.