The ACT's anti-corruption watchdog should investigate the government's controversial Dickson land swap deal, according to some members of a Legislative Assembly committee.
The referral was recommended by Liberal members of the public accounts committee, which on Thursday morning handed down the long-awaited findings of its inquiry into the complex 2014 deal.
The committee's Labor members rejected the referral, sparking a fiery exchange that ended with one senior Liberal being kicked out of the chamber.
The Legislative Assembly inquiry was triggered by a scathing auditor-general's report into the tender process for the sale.
The audit report detailed a series of weaknesses and failures throughout the tender process, which resulted in the government paying the CFMEU-linked Tradies Club $3.9 million for a Rosevear Place block housing the union's old offices, as well as $45,000 for nearby land accommodating the Downer Club.
In exchange, the government sold to the club the car park next to the Dickson Tradies for $3.5 million.
The auditor found the deal benefited the club to the tune of up to $2.6 million. Settlement on the sale was delayed until the completion of the Dickson Coles development, which has yet to start despite receiving approval in July last year.
The committee's 205-page report found the government's handling of the deal "departed from good practice" in seven different ways. These included the government's economic development directorate advertising the tender before it had cabinet approval to do so. It also negotiated with the Tradies Club terms that were "significantly different" to those offered in the original tender.
The report found record keeping was "consistently poor" throughout the process.
Committee chair Vicki Dunne, speaking in the chamber as she tabled the report, said the government's conduct had been a "serious matter ... a serious failure of administration".
But Mrs Dunne said the "appalling" record keeping, coupled with the conflicting witness statements provided throughout the inquiry, meant that it could not get to the bottom of exactly what transpired.
The committee said the ACT Integrity Commission should be asked to investigate the saga.
However, the recommendation wasn't unanimously supported. Labor backbenchers Bec Cody and Tara Cheyne voted against a referral, arguing there was no evidence of "corruption or inappropriate conduct" in the government's handling of the deal.
Their objection means the committee won't refer the matter to the anti-corruption watchdog. However, members could choose to make their own referral.
If they did, it would be the second government land deal to be sent to the ACT Integrity Commission for further scrutiny, after the now-defunct Land Development Agency's land purchases at Glebe Park and Lake Burley Griffin were referred late last year.
The Labor members were also accused of watering down the report. Mrs Dunne claimed she made "substantial" last minute changes to the final report to appease the government backbenchers - who then proceeded to reject four of the committee's 10 recommendations.
Mrs Dunne claimed that Ms Cody's stance had been influenced by her strong ties to the CFMEU. She accused both backbenchers of "putting on their partisan shirts" in the dying moments of the inquiry.
Ms Cody rejected the accusation.
"I have never once denied that I am a proud union member," she said. "Does it colour my vision of the world? Maybe. Does it change my opinion about evidence that is put in front of me? No, never."
Deputy opposition leader Nicole Lawder went even further, saying she had "never seen such disrespect for the role of the committee".
Ms Lawder accused Ms Cheyne of being deceptive and duplicitous in the final stages of the inquiry.
Ms Lawder was asked to formally withdraw her accusation, which she refused to do. She was then kicked out of the chamber.
Opposition leader Alistair Coe had only briefly read the committee's report when asked to comment early on Thursday. But Mr Coe was again scathing of the government's conduct, saying Chief Minister Andrew Barr - who was the minister responsible for the deal - had questions to answer.
"If what transpired in the chamber, the fact that Labor members have been running such interference and been so defensive about this scandal ... to me, this highlights just how bad this deal was for the territory," Mr Coe said.
"There are still many unanswered questions. Why did the territory relinquish so much money to the CFMEU?".
An ACT government spokesman said there was "nothing new" in Thursday's report.
The spokesman said the recommendations that had been unanimously agreed to were sensible, and in many cases had already been acted on.
This included improvements to record keeping practices and the abolition of the Land Development Agency.
The spokesman noted that the committee's report, like the auditor-general's, found no evidence of political or ministerial interference in the sale process.
Planning Minister Mick Gentleman, who declared in 2018 that the audit report had "put the matter to bed", last year admitted that probity and governance standards weren't met during the deal.