Scott Morrison has launched a withering attack on the floor of parliament, blowing up over the investigation into Gladys Berejiklian.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed the anti-corruption watchdog in NSW as a “disgrace” and a “kangaroo court” that “did over” former Premier Gladys Berejiklian by probing her love life.
The ICAC is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian had a conflict of interest and breached the public’s trust by having a part in awarding money to a gun club in Wagga Wagga without disclosing her relationship with the disgraced local MP Darryl Maguire.
It’s also investigating whether she failed in her duty to report suspected corruption, and whether she encouraged that sort of behaviour by turning a blind eye.
In his strongest attack to date on the corruption probe, the Prime Minister unleashed on the investigation during Question Time on Thursday as he faced a barrage of questions over his failure to implement an election promise.
Despite promising to introduce a federal anti-corruption watchdog for years, Mr Morrison has failed to pass legislation to implement the reforms.
In parliament, Labor leader Anthony Albanese noted that the majority of Australians supported a federal anti-corruption watchdog.
“Why has the Prime Minister refused to act for more than 1000 days?” he asked.
In response, Mr Morrison said the legislation that sets out the government‘s proposed reforms had been “out there” for some time and Labor didn’t support it.
“Instead, those opposite want to support the sort of show in NSW, which has seen the most shameful, the most shameful attacks on the former premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian,‘’ the Prime Minister said.
“What was done to Gladys Berejiklian, the people of NSW know, was an absolute disgrace.
“I’m not going to allow that sort of a process, which seeks to publicly humiliate people on matters that have nothing to do with the issues before such a commission, to see those powers abused and seek to reduce the integrity of people like Gladys Berejiklian.
“The Australian people know that the former premier of NSW was done over by a bad process, and an abuse. I’m not going to have a kangaroo court taken into this parliament.
“These things, these matters should be looking at criminal conduct, not who your boyfriend is.
“Criminal conduct! Criminal conduct is what this should look at, not chasing down someone’s love life.”
Earlier, there was chaos on the floor of parliament as a Tasmanian MP crossed the floor to vote with the independents and the opposition to establish an integrity commission.
Moderate Liberal MP Bridget Archer crossed the floor of the House of the Representatives, although the motion was defeated because it failed to achieve an absolute majority of 76.
Independent MP Helen Haines, whose proposal Ms Archer was supporting, praised the Liberal for her courage.
“Bridget Archer today walked across the aisle for the single most important thing that any Parliamentarian could do,” Dr Haines said.
“She walked across the aisle to vote for integrity in this parliament. She walked across the aisle to make sure that her constituents knew, that the nation knew, that she stands for accountability, transparency, decency and honour in parliament.
“She truly is a hero.”