Libs uniting in support for Federal corruption watchdog
A LIBERAL senator has become the first Coalition backbencher to openly support the crossbench push for a national anti-corruption body.
Although Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly rejected calls for a "federal ICAC" to be established, the proposal has gained momentum in recent months following a series of foreign bribery and corruption scandals.
Liberal senator Bill Heffernan told ABC Radio yesterday that he was in favour of creating a federal anti-corruption body or "a federal judicial commission".
Mr Heffernan said he was primarily worried about "where the country's going to be in 30 or 50 years' time".
A Senate inquiry is also considering the proposal, which is backed by figures such as Queensland's Integrity Commissioner, Richard Bingham.
Crossbench senator Glenn Lazarus has made the establishment of such a commission a condition of his support for the government's building industry watchdog bill, despite potentially dealing himself out of talks over the legislation when parliament resumes next week.
Mr Heffernan said he would not offer a "position" on Labor proposals for a royal commission into the banking industry but he remained concerned about financial scandals, including those surrounding managed investment schemes.
Both the Coalition and Labor are opposed to the establishment of a national anti-corruption body, although the Opposition supported the crossbench-initiated Senate inquiry investigating the proposal.
Crossbenchers including Senator Nick Xenophon have supported the push for the anti-corruption body but said it should not be confused with the government's construction watchdog legislation, which is due for debate in Canberra next week.