Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Shadow Attorney-General

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Senator for Western Australia


31 MAY 2024


Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus refuses to release his draft hate speech legislation after conducting a confidential consultation process with a handpicked group of 22 stakeholders.

Despite previously pretending to promote a culture of transparency within Government, Mr Dreyfus has again refused to publish his proposed legislation for the Australian people to consider.

Under questioning from Shadow Attorney General Senator Michaelia Cash at a Senate Estimates hearing last night the Attorney-General’s Department revealed they had sent a list of stakeholders to the Attorney’s office.

His office then told the Department which ones to consult with.

The Department sent emails to the stakeholders setting out the confidential nature of the consultation process including telling them they could not share the legislation with anyone outside their organisation without permission from the Department.

When asked to provide a list of the 22 stakeholders who have seen the legislation the Department took the question on notice saying they would have to ask Mr Dreyfus’s permission.

“Mr Dreyfus has continually claimed to be an advocate of open and transparent Government but time and again he demands confidentiality and conducts consultation behind closed doors,’’ Senator Cash said.

“Recently this has occurred with the Religious Discrimination Bill and now we learn it’s the same with hate speech. What has Mr Dreyfus got to hide?’’ she said.

“Mr Dreyfus is addicted to secrecy,’’ Senator Cash said.

“Mr Dreyfus should immediately release the draft legislation so the Australian people can clearly see what he is proposing,’’ she said.

“Australians deserve to know whether these new laws will be effective in addressing antisemitism, or whether they will just go down the path of telling people what they can’t say,” Senator Cash said.