Coalition in 'good faith' integrity talks

·2-min read

Labor may not need the support of the Greens or independents for its federal anti-corruption watchdog if the coalition gets on board.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton says the coalition is engaging in "good faith" negotiations with the Albanese government on the bill to set up what will be known as the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

The bill will go to the Labor caucus for approval on Tuesday and be introduced to parliament after that.

It will then go to an inquiry involving MPs and senators, with the intention of being passed by the end of the year or early 2023.

Mr Dutton was a minister in the Morrison government which proposed its own Commonwealth Integrity Commission but did not bring a bill to parliament.

He told reporters in Canberra on Friday he had been tasked by the coalition party room to discuss the bill with Labor.

"I support the principle," he said.

"The form of that and the way in which we want to work with the government, we will make more comment on that in due course."

He declined to spell out where the coalition stood on various aspects of the bill.

"At the moment we're having discussions ... I've spoken to the prime minister about the issue and we continue that in good faith."

Advocates of a national integrity watchdog have spoken of the need for bipartisan support if the commission is to have any chance of long-term success.

The NACC would investigate federal ministers, public servants, statutory office holders, government agencies, parliamentarians and personal staff of politicians.

It would have the power to investigate allegations of serious and systemic corruption that occurred before or after its establishment, as well as hold public hearings where the commission determines it is in the public interest to do so.

While it could make a finding of corrupt conduct, such findings would then be referred to the Australian Federal Police or the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.

Without the support of the federal opposition, Labor would need the Greens and one crossbencher to get its bill through the Senate.