Australian government breaks legislative stalemate with bill

The Australian government has won a crucial victory in Parliament by breaking a political stalemate that had sent the country to an early election five months ago.

The Senate passed legislation that will create a corruption watchdog for the construction industry, the Australian Building and Construction Commission, by 36 votes to 33 on Wednesday.

The vote on Parliament's second last sitting day of the year delivered Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's conservative coalition a rare win in a fractious Senate.

Turnbull called the July 2 election because the previous Senate had repeatedly rejected the legislation. Most senators regarded the watchdog as unnecessary or argued its investigative powers stripped away workers' civil rights.

But the early election tactic backfired on the ruling coalition, weakening its grip on power.