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Peter Dutton (ABC News/Ian Cutmore)

Labor’s hopes of passing two key bills with bipartisan support have taken a hit with a breakdown in negotiations on religious discrimination and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, labelling its hate speech proposal a “trap”. Source: The Guardian.

Mr Dutton addressed the Coalition party room yesterday for the first time since the Albanese Government revealed it intends to create a new criminal offence to protect all attributes – including sex, sexuality, gender, race and religion – from vilification.

According to three accounts of the meeting, Mr Dutton described the proposal as a “trap”, promised not to be distracted by a Labor “wedge” and vowed to stand for Liberal values including free speech.

Although the Coalition is yet to see legislation for the hate speech proposal, expected to be introduced in August, Liberal MPs Keith Wolahan and Garth Hamilton made remarks also calling for the Opposition to proceed with caution to avoid unintended consequences.

Separately to the hate speech proposal, Labor is still seeking opposition support for religious discrimination laws, which remove religious exemptions to sex discrimination laws and add anti-vilification protection for religion.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus yesterday met with his shadow counterpart, Senator Michaelia Cash, to seek the Opposition’s response to the bill, which it has seen but has not been released publicly.

Accounts of the meeting are disputed, with both sides accusing the other of aggressive behaviour including raised voices, which both deny.

Senator Cash said: “I was appalled by Mr Dreyfus’s behaviour. Mr Dreyfus needs to stop playing games with his religious discrimination legislation.

“As I told Mr Dreyfus, he needs to take on board the feedback he has received from the faith communities and release his legislation publicly.”

A spokesperson for Mr Dreyfus said Senator  Cash’s claims were “not correct”. “The Attorney-General did not raise his voice and at no point was aggressive or demeaning.

“Senator Cash interrupted the attorney general, described his request for the Opposition’s position … as unreasonable and walked out of the meeting.”


Peter Dutton tells colleagues Labor’s hate speech crackdown is a ‘trap’ (By Paul Karp and Karen Middleton, The Guardian) 


Michaelia Cash and Mark Dreyfus have reportedly clashed during discussions over the religious discrimination Bill (By Eleanor Campbell and Ellen Ransley, The Australian)