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No action yet on integrity commission

Labor and the coalition have traded blows over the lack of a national anti-corruption watchdog ahead of the federal election.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus asked the government in parliament on Wednesday why the staff allocation for the proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission in the budget papers was zero.

Representing the Attorney-General, minister Paul Fletcher said the government had committed $172.1 million over four years for the commission.

“We stand ready to introduce this legislation just as soon as the Labor Party indicates that it wants to work with us to achieve this important public policy reform,” he said.

“We stand ready to do that, but unfortunately, we have not seen that cooperation across the aisle that we would like to see.”

Mr Fletcher said the government had completed “detailed, thorough, and rigorous work” on a policy framework.

The minister urged Mr Dreyfus, an experienced barrister, to “go out and get himself a new wig”.

Labor has pledged to introduce a national integrity body but says the government’s model is inadequate and does not address important areas of accountability.

“For the second straight year the budget papers confirm not a single staff member has been allocated for the long-promised Commonwealth Integrity Commission for this year or the next,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“This is a government that lives in fear of accountability and what a powerful, independent, and transparent anti-corruption commission would reveal.”

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