Contention over the Albanese government’s anti-corruption watchdog is set to be thrashed out when a committee puts its legislation under the microscope.
A new joint committee has been established specifically to examine the National Anti-Corruption Commission bill at public hearings planned for this month.
Committee chair and Labor senator Linda White welcomed submissions from individuals, organisations and interest groups.
Independent MP Helen Haines, who’s been instrumental in pushing for the commission, will co-chair the committee.
The coalition has accused the government of breaking convention and playing politics with the inquiry as an opposition member is usually appointed to the position of deputy chair.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has provided tacit support for the bill but said a final position would be reached after the committee had a chance to examine it.
“That’s the time at which the party room can consider it but we’ve got an in-principle stance,” Mr Dutton said last week.
The body would operate independently of the government and have powers to investigate serious or systemic corrupt conduct across the commonwealth public sector.
Ms Haines is pushing for the bill to be strengthened over concerns the threshold to hold public hearings only in “exceptional circumstances” is too high.
Independent senator Jacqui Lambie has also raised concerns about the threshold but said she wouldn’t hold up the bill “over two words”.
Public submissions will close on October 14 and the committee will report back by November 10.