Peter Dutton confirms Coalition in talks to pass Labour’s anti-corruption commission bill

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Peter Dutton says the opposition is talking to the Albanian government “in good faith” regarding the Labor Party’s national anti-corruption commission bill due to be tabled next week.

The Liberal leader on Friday reiterated his support for the anti-corruption commission (Nacc), but warned against powers so sweeping that they could result in “show trials” or “protracted investigations”.

Dutton declined to take part in a “clause-by-clause” analysis of the bill when he spoke to reporters, but said he “spoke to the prime minister on the matter and we pursued it in good faith.”

Related: Anthony Albanese says crossover bank will be to blame for any anti-corruption commission delay

On May 30, after his election as Liberal leader, Dutton supported in principle Independent MP Helen Haines’s bill from the previous Parliament, warning of “unholy alliance” between workers and unions in the building, electrical and maritime.

But when asked on Friday whether he supported Haines’s bill or the Labor version, Dutton said the opposition “will continue our discussions with the government…that has been the direction of my nightclub.”

“I support the principle … and the form of that and the way we want to work with the government. We will comment further on that in due course.”

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus will introduce the Labor bill in the House of Representatives next week before a joint select committee investigation and a possible final vote in the Senate in November.

The bill will face amendments from Haines, Sen. David Pocock, the Greens and others to protect whistleblowers and allow the Nacc to investigate parties outside the public sector, even if they don’t have government contracts.

Labor’s majority in the lower house means it will pass there, but Coalition cooperation would allow the bill to pass the Senate without amendment or need for Green support.

Dutton said there was “no room for corruption at any level of government” and that he would consider what powers the commission required.

At the same time, as we have seen in [the states], public servants are involved in this”, he said. “We have seen people commit suicide as a result of show trials and false accusations being made against them, [and] lengthy investigations that last for years.”

Related: Rebuilding trust in public institutions will require more than a federal Icac, but work has begun | peter lewis

Asked if the Nacc should have powers to investigate interested parties outside of government, even if they did not have public sector contracts, Dutton said he supported a body that would “eradicate corruption wherever it exists”.

When asked specifically about unions, Dutton noted that if they provided training services, they would already be included in the bill.

Crossbenchers have criticized the possibility of a major match deal.

Pocock said: “Major parties coming together to agree on a watered-down integrity commission would be turning on its head the strongest message sent by the electorate in the election. Australians want more integrity. That has never been clearer.”

Independent MP Zoe Daniel said a deal would “compound cynicism in an already cynical electorate”.

Earlier on Thursday, Pocock agreed with Haines and the Greens in arguing that the Nacc should be able to investigate third parties, such as political donors or those affected by government decision-making.

“We know that a lot of corruption starts with people potentially coming into contact with politicians, whether it’s businessmen, unions, developers,” Pocock told ABC. “This body should be able to investigate them and bring them before the integrity commission.”

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