The government's steadfast refusal to even debate proposals for a federal ICAC, let alone introduce legislation for one, is proof it is now in full election mode and that good governance and the national interest are on the back burner.
If the Coalition was truly committed to honouring the wishes of the electorate, and restoring some credibility to the legislative and executive arms of the federal government, it would have rolled out an integrity commission with teeth years ago.
Instead it continues to kick the can down the road, hiding behind a protracted and ineffectual consultation process.
That was made evident by Thursday's gallant attempt by independent Helen Haines to suspend standing orders to force a debate on her federal integrity bill. While the attempt failed due to the invocation of standing orders on COVID restrictions a majority of the MPs in the chamber supported her motion 66 votes to 64.
A highly significant development was the decision by Tasmanian Liberal MP Bridget Archer to cross the floor and to second the motion.
Ms Archer, the member for Bass, said there was no place for partisan point scoring on the issue: "Everyone in this house ... thinks that we need a robust federal integrity commission, that people should have trust and confidence in us," she said.
Ms Haines said the government's failure to deliver on its election promise of a federal ICAC in this parliamentary term, coupled with a string of scandals, had done much to further undermine trust in and respect for parliamentarians.
"The Prime Minister and the government are standing in the way now of not only the will of the people, but the will of the Parliament," she said.
Ms Haines said time was running out, given it was possible there might only be four more parliamentary sitting days before the next federal election.
A similar attempt by independent Senator Rex Patrick to bring on a debate over the crossbench integrity bill on Monday also failed on the same technicality. The Senate vote was tied 25 votes to 25, and the motion failed when One Nation members not present in the chamber sided with the government.
During that debate, Tasmanian independent senator Jacquie Lambie compared the government's performance to that of a child born 1077 days before when the integrity commission was promised.
"That baby's made more progress in 1000 days than the Liberal Party have on their own bill. Shameful, shameful," she said.
The reason for the Morrison government's recalcitrance on what a majority of voters regard as a core issue is clear to see. Given its poor track record on honesty and transparency, the last thing it wants right now is a serious debate about how allegations of malfeasance, corruption and dishonesty should be dealt with.
It seems that as far as the LNP is concerned, election optics trumps ethics and integrity.
That was further demonstrated this week when Mr Morrison and Mr Joyce refused to condemn Nationals MP George Christensen for comparing lawfully elected state premiers trying to protect their citizens to Nazis, totalitarian despots and genocidal maniacs.
Anything goes when a handful of votes might be on the line.
The trouble is that, given the government seems certain to campaign on the question of who voters trust "to get the job done" during the recovery from COVID, this does not augur well for its messaging.
Trust, once lost, is very hard to regain.
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