Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has defended the federal government’s decision to not introduce a federal integrity bill, saying there are “choices and trade-offs” to be made.
Mr Fletcher said the government’s priority lay with the religious discrimination bill and anti-trolling defamation laws, rather than any federal anti-corruption body.
The Morrison government has argued it has not introduced its proposed anti-corruption body – a 2019 election commitment – because it doesn’t have the support of Labor and would therefore fail to pass both chambers.
When asked why the government proceeded to introduce its religious discrimination bill, which doesn’t have the full support of its own MPs, but not an integrity bill, Mr Fletcher said there was “limited parliamentary time” left.
“The Prime Minister determines, in consultation with senior colleagues, the government’s priorities, [and] we’re juggling a lot of things. Inevitably there are choices and trade-offs that need to be made,” he said.
Attorney-General Michaelia Cash has ruled out introducing legislation on the matter before the next federal election – which is due sometime before May 21.
The Senate has only three days to pass legislation ahead of the next election due to estimates hearings and budget processes.
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