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Cash leaves meeting with Dreyfus after ‘puffing up’ over religious discrimination laws

Liberal senator Michaelia Cash has walked out of a meeting with Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus after the frontbenchers clashed over the government’s religious discrimination bill, Sky News Australia can reveal.

Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell discusses the “blow-up” between Mark Dreyfus and Michaelia Cash over religious discrimination legislation. “The negotiations have failed,” Clennell said. “The version I heard from Coalition sources is that he (Dreyfus) raised his hand and told her (Cash) twice to pause and raised his voice, raised his hand in front of her face and basically stood up from his chair. “Michaelia Cash ran away. “From her point of view, she has never been spoken to or treated in such a demeaning manner by anyone in the 16 years she has been in Parliament. “We know it will have some difficulty passing – very little chance now I would say.”

Sky News Australia political editor Andrew Clennell said Coalition sources had told him there had been a heated “burst” between frontbenchers at a meeting discussing the proposed laws on Tuesday.

Senator Cash reportedly left the meeting after negotiations on the bill broke down.

Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash has left a meeting with Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus over the government’s religious discrimination legislation, Sky News can reveal. Photo: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

“The negotiations have failed… I am told a member of the Prime Minister’s staff was a witness and had to intervene to calm Mr Dreyfus,” Clennell told Sky News chief newsreader Kieran Gilbert.

“I have not been to Mr. Dreyfus about this, I must emphasize this, but the version I have heard from Coalition sources is that he raised his hand and told her twice to pause and raised his voice… raised his hand in the air. in front of her face and basically got out of his chair and raised his voice and Michaelia Cash walked out.

“From her point of view, she has never been spoken to or treated in such a… the term used to me in a ‘derogatory’ way by someone who served in Parliament for 16 years.”

In a statement to Sky News Australia, the shadow attorney general said she was “shocked by Mr Dreyfus’ behavior” at the meeting.

“Mr. Dreyfus must stop playing games with his religious discrimination legislation,” said Senator Cash.

“As I told Mr. Dreyfus, he must take the feedback he has received from faith communities and make his legislation public.”

Talks between Attorney General Mark Dreyfus and Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash over the proposed bill have reportedly broken down. Photo: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

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A spokesperson for Dreyfus’ office confirmed that the meeting was about Labour’s religious discrimination bill and was “intended to give the opposition an opportunity to express its position and provide feedback”.

“Senator Cash declined to engage with the substance of the proposed discussion,” the spokesperson said.

“Senator Cash declined to say she supported the parts of the administration’s legislation that were taken directly from the former administration’s Religious Discrimination Act.

“There were three government employees at the meeting and their account of the interaction differs from Senator Cash’s reported claims.”

The legislation failed to pass in 2022 under the Morrison government. The Albanian government has since been working on two bills following a report from the Australian Law Reform Commission earlier this year.

Not much is known about the bill yet, as the government has not yet publicly released the details.

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