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Raids in Conrovia! The battle over the NBN is getting feisty, and weird

As the AFP conducts raids on Labor email servers in Parliament House, politicians are descending into a war of words over stolen documents, NBN costs and the "parallel universe" of Stephen Conroy.


The inner workings of the NBN have been surprisingly exciting in recent months.

While the architects of the national infrastructure project have been talking fibre, copper, backhaul and brownfields, behind the scenes we've seen late night raids, federal police involvement and talk of secrecy going all the way to the top.

The Australian Federal Police has today confirmed it was conducting searches as part of its investigation into the "alleged unauthorised disclosure of Commonwealth information relating to the NBN Co."

The AFP says it has "lawfully obtained" a warrant to search the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) and "relative parties involved."

The ABC reports that the searches in Parliament House relate to the email servers of Labor staffers in the DPS. The DPS is responsible for overseeing and managing the running of the Parliament, including IT and communications services.

Today's search warrant comes after the AFP made pre-election headlines in May, when it raided Labor Party offices in Melbourne, including the office of former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, in relation to allegedly stolen documents relating to the NBN.

What followed was a war of words between the Federal Government and the Labor Opposition about the legality of the raids -- a debate that soon descended into an argument over who had the better plan for the NBN.

That war of words has continued, with Senator Conroy calling today's raids an illegal "abuse of process."

"Any reading of the legislation by anybody makes it clear that NBN Co have illegally called the police in to conduct this investigation," he told ABC's AM program. "This whole investigation is about covering up Malcolm Turnbull's incompetent administration of the NBN and its rollout and its costs."

Turnbull quickly retaliated, painting a picture of the strange Sci-Fi dystopia he sees as a Labor-run NBN.

"Senator Conroy this morning was showing yet again that he operates in a parallel universe. I used to describe it as Conrovia, another sphere, another universe," Turnbull said in a press conference.

"When we took Government in 2013, about 50,000 people had been connected to the NBN in 6 years of the Labor Government. The project had come to a grinding was a completely and utterly failed project."

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus then jumped to the defence of Labor, and slammed the Government's "multi-technology mix" NBN in one hit.

"On his watch when he was Communications Minister and on his watch as PM, we have had massive cost blowouts and massive time blowouts and Australians are getting a second-rate, slower copper NBN instead of the National Broadband Network that they should be getting,"

Welcome to Conrovia -- it's going to be a long ride.