The Coalition has been accused of being "scared stiff" of scrutiny after Scott Morrison walked back a pledge to establish a federal anti-corruption watchdog.
The backdown has thrust integrity to the centre of the election campaign, overshadowing the Prime Minister's attempts to keep focus on the economy and job creation.
Mr Morrison had promised to legislate a national integrity commission ahead the 2019 federal election, but he failed to even introduce the bill to the Federal Parliament amid disagreement with Labor over the chosen model.
The Prime Minister is now refusing to guarantee a federal ICAC will be pursued if the Coalition is returned next month, unless Labor changes tack and supports its proposal.
Mr Morrison confirmed the position as he faced a barrage of questions over the promises his government had broken in the past three years.
Integrity advocates, Labor, the Greens and independents have seized on the Prime Minister's concession, with crossbench MP Andrew Wilkie asking: "What's has the government go to hide?".
Speaking at a campaign pit stop in Launceston, Mr Morrison claimed his opponents wanted to introduce a "Kangaroo Court" akin to the NSW anti-corruption watchdog.
Mr Morrison has repeatedly attacked the NSW commission, which has brought down multiple premiers including Gladys Berejiklian.
"I need bipartisan support to put that in place," Mr Morrison said.
"I am not going to introduce a policy that I don't think is in the nation's best interests, and how it would be corrupted by a Labor Party that's more interested in playing politics with this issue than addressing the real issues."
Mr Morrison faced questions about his commitment to an anti-corruption commission as he campaigned in Launceston alongside local member Bridget Archer, who holds the seat of Bass for the Liberals on a razor-thin margin of 0.4 per cent.
Ms Archer has been outspoken in her advocacy for a national anti-corruption watchdog, even crossing the floor in the Federal Parliament to vote in support of allowing debate on independent Helen Haines' proposal.
But the backbencher stood by the Prime Minister during Thursday's press conference, saying she didn't support the Labor model and had always believed in a bipartisan approach.
Ms Archer was repeatedly asked if she agreed with Mr Morrison's description of the NSW anti-corruption commission as a "kangaroo court", but declined, saying she wasn't familiar enough with it.
The Coalition had a majority in the House of Representatives in the last term of parliament, meaning it didn't require Labor's support for it to pass the lower house.
But Mr Morrison said bipartisan support was needed to pass the bill through the the Senate.
Mr Morrison hasn't previously cited the Senate - where the government needed crossbench support to pass bills - as a barrier.
The Prime Minister was asked how voters could trust him given the string high-profile broken promises, which includes a failure to deliver commuter carparks pledged ahead of the last election.
He dodged the question, instead talking up the government's list of achievements.
"I'll talk about what my priorities are. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs," Mr Morrison said.
Labor's shadow attorney-general, Mark Dreyfus, said Mr Morrison would never introduce an anti-corruption watchdog because he was "terrified" of what it would mean for him and his government.
"Mr Morrison won't act. Labor will," Mr Dreyfus said.
"In government Labor will establish a powerful, transparent and independent National Anti-Corruption Commission."
Mr Wilkie, who is among the lower house crossbenchers who have been pushing for an anti-corruption watchdog, seized on the Prime Minister's statement.
"The Prime Minister's refusal to commit to an effective federal integrity agency is an outrageous failure of leadership," he said.
"Clearly this government is scared stiff of ever being scrutinised, and to somehow blame the lack of any progress on an integrity agency on his political opponents would be laughable if the matter wasn't so terribly serious."
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