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There were two interesting intersections of police and politics this week. The first was the Australian Federal Police obtaining text messages between Peter Slipper and James Ashby, which Ashby suggested proved Slipper had sexually harassed him. That complaint was dismissed, but the cops are now investigating whether former LNP member Mal Brough obtained Slipper’s diary illegally — and for that they’ll need Ashby’s text messages.

The second was of course the startling police raids on Stephen Conroy’s office and a staffer’s home last night. The raids were related to a December 2015 complaint from NBN concerning leaked documents that were damaging to the Coalition.

The Ashby decision, by contrast, has been years in the making — the allegations stretch back to 2012. Justice Geoffrey Flick, in the judgment giving the AFP access to the records, said: “The balance of the proceeding against Mr Slipper was not so easily or quickly resolved.”

But the AFP moved quickly when it came to the NBN leaks. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin on raiding Labor offices and staffer homes two weeks into an election campaign just months after the leaks:

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“The timing of these investigations is not determined by external factors, but by the progress of the investigation. Investigators follow the evidence and they take the steps necessary to conclude the investigation. We’ve always said leak investigations are difficult investigations, and no two investigations are the same.”

How fortuitous that the police were able to move so quickly on NBN’s allegations. A lucky matter of timing.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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