Morrison ignores NSW anti-corruption watchdog ‘jester’ sled

Scott Morrison ignored a candid assessment from one of the commissioners of the New South Wales anti-corruption watchdog, who called critics of his organization “buffoons”.

On Monday, the outgoing commissioner of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, Stephen Rushton, took aim at people who described the agency as a “kangaroo court”.

He did not specifically mention the Prime Minister, although Mr Morrison has uttered the phrase several times to condemn NSW’s ICAC use of public hearings in its investigations.

“I stand by what I said about why I don’t think this model is a good model for federal jurisdiction,” the prime minister told reporters in Adelaide.

“He can say whatever he wants, I’m not easily offended. I think you learned that about me.

Mr Morrison’s criticism of NSW’s ICAC focused on the treatment of former Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian, where details of her relationship with then MP Daryl Maguire were released at public hearings.

The model proposed by the Prime Minister, the Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC), operates behind closed doors.

It has been criticized by federal labor and integrity experts as too secretive and lacking in teeth to effectively fight corruption at the national level.

Mr Morrison refused to present the bill to parliament, arguing that the Labor Party’s refusal to back the bill was the reason for the delay.

This is despite the fact that the legislation is regularly debated without express prior bipartisan support.

Deputy Liberal Leader Josh Frydenberg declined to use the phrase “kangaroo court” when questioned Wednesday morning.

Mr Frydenberg is facing a challenge from independent candidate Monique Ryan in his Melbourne constituency in Kooyong – the creation of a national integrity commission is one of the main issues on which Dr Ryan is campaigning.

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