Rebel MP’s emotional integrity journey

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A Liberal MP who sensationally backed an anti-corruption watchdog despite opposition from her own party has shared her emotional journey to establishing it.

Tasmanian backbench MP Bridget Archer walked through parliament last year in support of independent MP Helen Haines who called for an urgent debate on her proposed integrity commission.

His decision took the former coalition government and then Prime Minister Scott Morrison by surprise.

A year later, parliament is due to vote on an anti-corruption model presented to parliament by the new Labor government.

Ms Archer said when she first spoke about the creation of a federal integrity commission, people told her it was a “fringe issue” that communities didn’t care about.

“I had no doubt it was deeply important to Australians,” she told parliament on Wednesday.

“I cannot adequately express how deeply grateful I am to be here today as we take the final steps to rebuild trust with the Australian people.”

Ms Archer described the path to setting up the commission as “long, sometimes difficult and emotionally draining”.

But she maintained her push and support for the body despite the personal toll.

“Politicians shouldn’t have a different set of rules than everyone else,” she said.

Ms Archer said she was proud to have worked with her independent colleague to establish the anti-corruption commission.

“Democracy is a value we cherish in Australia and Australians have fought and died to uphold and defend our democratic freedoms,” she said.

“We must remain vigilant against threats that would erode it and integrity is at the heart of that goal.”

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