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Government blames Labor for ‘integrity bill’ going nowhere fast

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The Morrison government is sticking to its argument that Labor must agree to its version of an integrity commission before introducing legislation to parliament.

The government says draft legislation has been available for scrutiny for some time, but Labor says it does not go far enough.

Liberal backbencher Bridget Archer crossed the floor of parliament last week to back an independent attempt to bring on debate about a federal integrity commission.

Federal minister Anne Ruston says if the Labor Party is prepared to support the legislation that is before them, then the government will bring it to parliament.

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“One of the most important things for something as important as an integrity commission is to make sure it passes. The last thing we want to do is bring a bill into this place and then find out it won’t get through,” Senator Ruston ABC’s Insiders program.

She said the government believed its bill was a fair balance between making sure that serious corruption was called out and dealt with, but at the same time maintained the rule of law and the presumption of innocence.

“One of the things that we do need to be really careful of is that you don’t set up a structure that then allows for political purpose and political gain, one party to actually prosecute somebody from another party just for the political gain,” Senator Ruston said.

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She said a bipartisan approach to something as important as an integrity commission would send a very strong message to the Australian public that the issue of serious corruption was being taken seriously.

-AAP

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