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Morrison rejects NSW-style model for federal ICAC

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Scott Morrison has pointed to the resignation of Gladys Berejiklian as a reason not to introduce a NSW-style federal anti-corruption commission.

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The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating the outgoing premier for potential breaches of public trust linked to her secret five-year relationship with former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire.

Berejiklian’s resignation from the leadership and state parliament has renewed calls by federal Labor, the Greens and independents for a national corruption-fighting body.

But the prime minister is among those who think this is a reason not to have a NSW-style ICAC.

“It’s certainly not a model that we’d ever consider at a federal level and I think that’s been on display for some time,” Morrison told the Seven Network on Tuesday.

“You’ve got to have processes that assume people are innocent before they are thought to be guilty.

“I’m sure there are millions of people who are seeing what’s happened to Gladys Berejiklian and understand that’s a pretty good call not to follow that model.”

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash is working through the findings of public consultations ahead of a bill being introduced to parliament before the end of the year.

Cash’s assistant minister Amanda Stoker criticised the NSW ICAC for destroying politicians’ lives and careers.

“Its broad sweeping powers of inquisition and compulsion have seen lives destroyed over trivialities, careers ended over investigations that have gone nowhere,” she told ABC radio.

“We need to also ask who’s going to watch these all-powerful armies of lawyers who are able to hide under the veil of independence.”

Stoker also dismissed criticism the government has been sitting on legislation for a national anti-corruption body.

“We are really keen to get this done and to get it done in a way that made sure we get all the advantages of having an integrity body and avoid the pitfalls of those bodies that, I would suggest, have become almost rogue in the way that they operate.”

Labor has promised a national anti-corruption commission which would operate as a standing royal commission into serious and systemic corruption in the federal government.

It would have a broad jurisdiction to investigate and hold to account federal ministers, public servants, statutory office holders, government agencies, parliamentarians, personal staff of politicians and other commonwealth public officials.

– AAP

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