Prime Minister Scott Morrison has doubled down on attacks against NSW’s anti-corruption body while defending former premier Gladys Berejiklian who is under an integrity probe.
The prime minister launched a tirade against the investigation in parliament on Thursday after Liberal backbencher Bridget Archer crossed the floor in a bid to bring on debate about a federal integrity commission.
Mr Morrison wanted a federal body to focus on criminal investigations and not “vexatious, baseless, politically motivated and time wasting referrals”.
“Our model does provide procedural fairness,” he told ABC radio on Friday.
“[It] doesn’t allow for coercive powers to be used in an inappropriate way, that does safeguard against vexatious, baseless, politically motivated and time wasting referrals.
“This should focus on criminal conduct, not who your boyfriend is.”
Ms Berejiklian resigned under investigation for potential breaches of public trust linked to her secret five-year relationship with former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption needed to get the balance right after taking the scalps of three NSW premiers.
“I make the point that three premiers lost their jobs [and] in the case of two of them, [there were] not adverse findings against them,” he told Sky News.
“[But] we’ve yet to see, obviously, the final outcome of the issues involving Gladys Berejiklian.”
Multiple attempts by Labor and crossbench MPs and senators to set up an integrity commission have been blocked by the government.
The government has released its own draft model for consultation but has not brought it on for debate in parliament.
The government’s model has been criticised for being a toothless tiger and setting the bar for corruption too high.