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Scott Morrison defends blocking proposed federal corruption commission after MP crosses the floor

Prime Minister has defended the government’s decision to block debate on a federal anti- body, saying former New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian was “done over” by her state’s corruption commission.Key points:The government blocked a motion to debate a federal anti-corruption commission on a technicalityTasmanian MP crossed the floor and seconded the motion by an independent MPThe government narrowly defeated a similar motion in the Senate earlier this weekThe Coalition narrowly avoided embarrassment in parliament earlier on Thursday, managing to stop a crossbench attempt to bring on debate about a national anti-corruption commission.Independent MP tried to interrupt the usual business to force a debate on her federal bill, arguing the Coalition had been dragging its feet for three years and had not introduced its own model.Tasmanian Liberal MP Bridget Archer broke away from the government and backed Dr Haines’s motion, which was also supported by Labor and other crossbenchers.The vote resulted in a vote of 66 MPs for the motion and 64 against — but a COVID-19 technicality meant the motion did not pass.It needed an absolute majority — or 76 votes — to get through, but with a number of MPs not in parliament because of COVID restrictions, that was a larger task than usual. Liberal MP Bridget Archer crossed the floor and voted against the government.(ABC News: Tamara Penniket)After a number of minutes working out whether the government had in fact lost the vote, independent MP Bob Katter said what many MPs were thinking: “Clearly, a lot of us are very confused.”It took a few minutes more and another vote to confirm that, despite having more votes, Dr Haines’s motion was not successful.Mr Morrison said the government did not want to create a commission like the ICAC in NSW.”Those opposite want to support the sort of show in NSW, which has seen the most shameful attacks on the former premier of New South Wales,” he said.”The Australian people know that the former premier of New South Wales was done over by a bad process.”I’m not going to have a kangaroo court taken into this parliament.”Ms Berejiklian resigned as NSW premier after the state’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) announced it was investigating whether she breached public trust when she awarded to community organisations between 2012 and 2018, when she was in a personal relationship with then-MP Daryl Maguire.Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 1 minute 34 seconds1m 34s Scott Morrison says Gladys Berejiklian’s treatment by ICAC was an “absolute disgrace”.Dr Haines took aim at the government after her motion was voted down.”We were prevented by an undemocratic technicality,” she said.”The Prime Minister and the government are standing in the way now of not only the will of the people, but the will of the parliament.”This is an extraordinary moment, I think, in the House of Representatives.”Today you saw, I think, the absolute lioness of the 46th parliament, and that woman is the member for Bass, Bridget Archer.”Before the vote Ms Archer had risen to second Dr Haines’s motion, saying it was a difficult decision to break away from government ranks to bring on the debate.”Everyone in this House, I think without exception, thinks that we need a robust federal integrity commission, that people should have trust and confidence in us, in the people that they elect, the people they send here,” she said.”The problem is that the politics has wrapped it up so tight that we’re not progressing.”There is a place for politics, there’s a place for the partisan pointscoring, but on something as important as trusting confidence in elected officials, that’s not it.” Dr Haines and Ms Archer walked out of the chamber together after the vote.(ABC News: Tamara Penniket)South Australian crossbencher challenged other members of the Coalition to join Ms Archer.”I would urge government members, if you too have the courage of the Member for Bass, and many of you have said quietly and privately to many of us on the crossbench that you do, why don’t you put your action where your words are?” she said.”Come and sit on the right side of history.”The government also narrowly defeated a similar attempt in the Senate earlier this week, when and Labor tried to kickstart debate on a national integrity commission.In 2018 the Coalition announced a plan to introduce a federal integrity commission, but it has not introduced the proposal to parliament.Its model has been sharply criticised by senior lawyers as “having no teeth”.