Shorten ‘no anti-corruption warrior’: PM


Malcolm Turnbull has pre-emptively gone on the attack ahead of Labor’s expected announcement it will support a national corruption watchdog.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is slated to use his first major speech of the year to announce a Labor government would establish a national integrity commission.

But the prime minister says the Labor leader’s track record in the area isn’t great.

“Bill Shorten is no anti-corruption warrior,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Sydney ahead of the speech on Tuesday.

“This is a guy who has done everything he could to prevent the corruption in the union movement and corruption between unions and businesses being exposed.”

He cited Mr Shorten’s opposition to the trade union royal commission and the Registered Organisations Commission.

The Turnbull government continues to consider recommendations from a Senate committee about the best format for an integrity watchdog.

The prime minister insists it has not been ruled out as a concept, but cautioned there was much to be learned from experience in the states where some watchdogs had worked better than others.

“Obviously in anything like that, the devil will always be in the detail … It’s not something to embark on in a rushed or ill-considered way,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on Sunday said a federal corruption watchdog was unnecessary because there was ample parliamentary oversight of government decisions.

“We’ve got a Senate in federal politics which all the time calls inquiries, it can basically subpoena people, it has the capacity if there is a query to follow that through,” he said.

“I just don’t want to get to the position where people are scared for the government to govern and all that happens is departments govern.”

The Australia Institute has been running a series of television advertisements calling for a national corruption watchdog to improve trust in the political system.

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