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Image: Lukas Coch/AAP.

The government has sought to derail widespread calls for a federal independent commission against corruption by unveiling a severely limited "Commonwealth Integrity Commission" (CIC), which will have minimal power to investigate corruption by politicians and public officials and to which the public will not be able to complain.

The new body, which is planned to cost $30 million a year and employ up to 150 full-time staff, will incorporate the existing, and widely derided, Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, as its law-enforcement division, to be joined by a separate division devoted to public service and political corruption.