Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer has attempted to force the government to consider a bill for a federal anti-corruption commission by voting in favour of a motion to debate it.
Indi independent MHR Helen Haines brought the motion to the lower house on Thursday having consulted widely on her own model, which Ms Archer has - in the past - said she was open to.
This was the first time Ms Archer had brought her support of Ms Haines' model to the floor of Parliament however, and the government narrowly avoided embarrassment on a technicality.
Despite voting in favour to bring forward the debate - instead of the government's original plan to debate the religious freedom bill, which she also has concerns over - Ms Archer's effort was in vain due to a requirement for an absolute majority to support the motion - 76 members - with a number not in Parliament due to COVID restrictions.
Her support of Ms Haines' motion appeared to catch her own government by surprise, and prompted confusion on the floor of Parliament.
It appeared highly unlikely the government would attempt to introduce an anti-corruption commission before the election in the first half of next year, prompting frustration from Ms Archer.
She said it was a "difficult" decision, but it was a debate that needed to occur.
"Everyone in this house - I think without exception - thinks that we need a robust federal integrity commission, that people should have trust and confidence in us, in the people they elect," Ms Archer said.
"All sides - the Greens, Labor, Liberal and the independents - have all said, you know, we've got a bill. But the problem is that the politics has wrapped it up so tight that we're not progressing that bill.
"There's no debate about the fact that we need one, but we're not having the debate on what it should look like, and we shouldn't be afraid to have the debate on what it looks like.
"There is a place for politics, there's a place for the partisan point scoring, but on something as important as trust and confidence in elected officials, that's not it.
"We will never advance this if we can't find a way to come together, to collaborate on this. A good starting point for that is the member for Indi's bill.
"Is it perfect? Maybe not, why don't we talk about it? Why don't we all come here in good faith and have those conversations and find something that we can take forward in the best interests of all Australians?"
Ms Archer's electorate of Bass is the most marginal in Australia, with the Liberals holding it by just 0.4 per cent, giving her a stronger voice in the partyroom compared with other backbenchers.
She also abstained from a vote on the government's cashless welfare card at the end of 2020, which ultimately passed by one vote.
Bass Labor candidate Ross Hart - who lost his seat to Ms Archer at the last election - said he had "long argued" for an "independent effective commission against corruption".
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