National News

Parties joust over federal integrity body

Scott Morrison insists a federal integrity body needs to be different to those operating at a state level and be squarely aimed at public service criminality.

The prime minister's comments came as Labor leader Anthony Albanese said a national anti-corruption commission would be one of the first things he would address if he won the May 21 election.

Tackling corruption and improving integrity in politics has been a key issue in the election campaign, with a number of high-profile independent candidates and the Greens also putting it at the centre of their pitches to voters.

Campaigning with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet in Sydney on Tuesday, Mr Morrison - who previously described the NSW ICAC model as a "kangaroo court" - said he did not believe any of the state models for integrity bodies should be followed.

Mr Morrison said the issues being dealt with at a state level included such things as development consent and gambling, while at a federal level it was about taxation, competition policy, law enforcement integrity and immigration decisions.

His model would deal with "criminality across the entire public service", he said.

"It's not just about having any integrity commission - one that is driven by populism, one that has just been driven by the latest thought bubble," Mr Morrison said.

He said the NSW ICAC had destroyed people's reputations and careers before even handing down findings in some cases.

Mr Perrottet said all integrity agencies should ensure "the best standards in public life" including among politicians.

"Whether that's in the public service or in politicians, that is the expectation right around the country," he said.

The coalition's proposed laws have been widely condemned by legal experts and integrity campaigners who say ministers involved in corruption in awarding grants or approving contracts or projects, or even accepting bribes, could not be held accountable under them.

Mr Albanese said a powerful, transparent and independent anti-corruption commission would be a priority of a Labor government.

Asked by reporters in Melbourne about the Victorian IBAC model, he said the federal body should operate "according to how it sees it should operate and not take directives from politicians about how it operates".

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus told AAP the prime minister would not set up an integrity commission because he was "terrified it will hold him and his government to account for their rorts and corruption".

"That's why Mr Morrison broke his 2019 election promise to the Australian people that that he would establish an anti-corruption commission. Mr Morrison won't act. Labor will," Mr Dreyfus said.

On the first day of pre-polling on Monday, 309,769 people cast their ballots ahead of the election, according to figures released by the Australian Electoral Commission on Tuesday.

Of the top 10 early voting booths, two were in Queensland while the rest were in Victoria.

This year's election is expected to set a pre-poll voting record, eclipsing the more than 30 per cent of voters who did so in 2019.

The latest Roy Morgan poll has Labor on 54.5 per cent of the two-party preferred vote, based on preference flows from the 2019 election.

Labor is leading in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia while the Liberal-National coalition has the edge in Queensland and Tasmania, the poll shows.

"On current trends, the ALP will win a majority of seats at the federal election and any crossbenchers elected will not hold the balance of power," Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said.

"However, a late swing to the LNP over the last two weeks of the election campaign could still produce a hung parliament with the ALP favoured to be able to form government with crossbench support."

Mr Albanese started the day in Melbourne, where he announced support for the Suburban Rail Loop project in Victoria.

Meanwhile, the coalition pitched $5 million in spending to create a "technology skills passport" to help people get jobs.

© AAP 2022