The AFP has this week been the subject of commentary and innuendo regarding its independence and the ability of AFP members to carry out their work objectively and without political interference. The AFP requires the ongoing assistance and support of the public to serve the community in which we all live, and undertakes its activities without fear or favour. The AFP rejects in the strongest terms any suggestion to the contrary. The AFP makes all its operational decisions independently, based on experience, operational priorities and the law.
The AFP’s primary obligations are to ensure the safety and security of the Australian community and enforce the rule of law. The AFP prides itself on its independence and integrity, and has a proven track record of these values while operating under the remit of eight individual Prime Ministers and their governments since it was founded in 1979.
Much of this week’s commentary has been prompted by search warrants executed in Sydney and Melbourne on Tuesday, 24 October 2017. The AFP has obligations to assist a wide range of other Commonwealth agencies in their activities, including the Registered Organisations Commission. The AFP had no operational reason to decline to execute a search warrant that was authorised by a magistrate.
Some of the reporting concerning this activity has inflated the number of AFP members involved. In executing these search warrants on Tuesday, 24 October 2017, the AFP deployed a total of 13 members across both cities – eight members in Melbourne and five in Sydney. Suggestions that more AFP members were involved are incorrect.