Australia

AFP raids home of former defence minister adviser

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Australian federal police have raided the Canberra home of a former ministerial adviser.

The Australian Federal Police has raided the Canberra home of an intelligence officer and former ministerial adviser. 

An AFP spokesperson confirmed the search took place on a Commonwealth official's Griffith property on Wednesday morning. 

The police have not named the target of the search warrant, but it's understood Australian Signals Directorate officer Cameron Gill lives at the property.

Mr Gill is a former adviser to coalition minister Mal Brough and he is married to Australia's ambassador to Iraq, Dr Joanne Loundes.

The property raided by AFP officers.
The property raided by AFP officers.
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"This activity does not relate to any current or impending threat to the Australian community," an AFP spokesman said in a statement. 

The raid comes three months after the AFP raided the ABC's Sydney headquarters and the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst over separate news stories based on government leaks. 

The back-to-back June raids sparked concern about press freedom which are now the subject of two parliamentary inquiries. 

In a statement News Corp Australia executive Campbell Reid described the raids as part of a process of police "intimidation". 

"We have always said the AFP raids on journalists were not intended to intimidate journalists but the people who have the courage to talk to journalists," he said in a statement. 

"Today we are seeing that process of intimidation continue." 

Officers left the Canberra property carrying evidence bags. 

Canberra lawyer Kamy Saeedi told reporters outside the house it was a "complex" and "sensitive" situation and he could not comment. 

Greens response to AFP raids

Greens spokesperson for Media and Communications and Chair of the Senate Inquiry into Press Freedoms and Whistleblower Protections Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said: "Today’s raid by the AFP on an intelligence officer is very concerning. The intimidation of truth-tellers by this government is alarming."

 

“Journalism and the protection of whistleblowers are essential pillars of democracy," she said.

 

“First the AFP raided the journalists, now they are raiding public servants.

“The Government should be upfront about whether today’s raid is in relation to the earlier raids on a News Corp journalist who exposed the Government’s draconian plan to allow the Australian Signals Directorate to spy on Australians.

“The Senate Inquiry into press freedoms and whistleblowers is increasingly urgent, and will consider protections for public sector employees who disclose sensitive and classified information.” 

Greens spokesperson for Justice Senator Nick McKim agreed and said: “These raids are designed to intimidate potential public interest whistleblowers.”

 

“This is the stuff of a police state, not a democracy,” he said.

 

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