The Australian Bar Association has hit back at the prime minister's criticism of the NSW anti-corruption watchdog and says it is "deeply concerned" by his attack on the nation's barristers.
Scott Morrison renewed his criticism of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption on Tuesday, saying he had "serious criticisms of the NSW model".
"I've never been a fan of how it's conducted itself," he said.
"And I don't care if barristers and lawyers and others up there in Macquarie Street ... in the barristers' chambers - disagree with me.
"They disagree with me all the time - I've never had much truck with them over the course of my entire political career."
The ABA said it was "deeply concerned by the prime minister's attack today on the barristers of Australia".
ABA President Matt Collins said some 6000 barristers in Australia were committed to promoting the administration of justice, and accepted briefs through a cab rank rule, ensuring people were entitled to legal representation.
"(Barristers) provide countless hours of pro bono and poorly remunerated assistance to people from Australia's most disadvantaged communities," Dr Collins said.
"They frequently stand between the individual and the state, and provide a bulwark for the rule of law.
"Any person who has no truck with barristers cannot have made a conscientious effort to understand their indispensable contribution to civic society."
Dr Collins said it was one thing to debate anti-corruption bodies, but it was incorrect to call the ICAC "a kangaroo court".
"A kangaroo court is a body that operates with disregard for or perversion of legal procedure," he said.
"The ICAC Commissioners are highly experienced and respected jurists who preside over investigations conducted according to law and the powers given to them by the NSW Parliament."
Mr Morrison has repeatedly criticised the NSW ICAC, referring to it as a "kangaroo court", while under pressure to introduce a federal integrity commission.
Last week retiring ICAC Commissioner Stephen Rushton responded, telling a NSW parliamentary review those calling the commission a kangaroo court were "buffoons", and the comments could undermine public confidence in the ICAC's work.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet appeared with the prime minister on the campaign trail on Tuesday, and conceded he and the prime minister disagreed about the ICAC.
"What we both agree on is that there should be integrity agencies in place that ensure the best standards in public life," the premier said.
The ICAC played a pivotal role in maintaining high standards of public office in NSW, he said.
"We have people in jail today because of their behaviour and the corruption that occurred... Take (former Labor MP) Eddie Obeid for example, the previous government, which corruptly used taxpayer dollars for personal benefit," Mr Perrottet said.
"Whether it's politicians or whether it's the public service, I expect the highest standards of integrity."
Australian Associated Press
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