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MP blasts Coalition over dumped integrity bill

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Independent MP Helen Haines has slammed the Morrison government for not bringing on debate on a federal anti-corruption commission, labelling it a broken promise.

The Coalition had pledged to set up a Commonwealth integrity body at the last election.

However, Attorney-General Michaelia Cash told Senate estimates on Tuesday the federal government would not progress with its proposal this term.

Ms Haines, who brought forward her own proposal for an integrity body to parliament last year, said she was disappointed by the delay.

“The Australian people have been hearing from the Morrison government now for three years that a federal integrity commission was on the way,” she told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

“There is a majority of MPs on the floor of the House of Representative who’d like to debate my bill, because there is no government bill to be debated.”

Despite Liberal MP Bridget Archer crossing the floor last year to bring on debate on Ms Haines’s proposal for the commission, the debate did not proceed due to a technicality.

Senator Cash told estimates the government’s plan for a commission would not go ahead during this term of parliament because it was unlikely to be supported by other parties.

“The reality is the Australian Greens and the Labor Party do not support that model,” she said.

“At this point in time, we won’t be proceeding with it because [Labor] do not support it, and we’ve always said we would require bipartisan support.”

Ms Haines said the government’s proposal for the commission was nothing more than an exposure draft.

She criticised the government for not bringing on debate on the issue.

“It’s nonsense … because the government have numbers in the House, what they don’t have is the numbers in their own ranks to support their model of an integrity commission,” she said.

“I don’t think anybody is buying this line that the Attorney-General and the Prime Minister are running.”

Ms Haines said the more than 300 people and bodies who made submissions on the integrity commission would be entitled to feel ripped off.

“This is very disingenuous, and to say now that we’ve run out of time in this parliament is really, absolutely outrageous,” she said.

There is just one sitting week left of federal parliament after the current sitting session.

The last sitting week will also include the federal budget.

The election must be held by May 21.

-AAP

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