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Adam Bandt threatens Mark Dreyfus with legal action over comments on pro-Palestine protests | Australian politics

PoliticsAdam Bandt threatens Mark Dreyfus with legal action over comments on pro-Palestine protests | Australian politics

Greens leader Adam Bandt has threatened Mark Dreyfus with legal action over comments the attorney general made in an interview on Wednesday about pro-Palestinian protests at MPs’ electorate offices.

Bandt revealed on Thursday that he had sent the attorney general a legal letter over comments Dreyfus made on ABC TV’s Afternoon Briefing program.

“My lawyers have written to the attorney general regarding what I consider to be defamatory statements he made about me and the Greens yesterday,” Bandt said in a statement issued on Thursday morning.

Because Dreyfus’s comments on Afternoon Briefing were made outside parliament, they are not covered by parliamentary privilege.

“I think that the first law officer of this country should not make utterly unfounded statements and spread disinformation,” Bandt said in his written statement. “No politician should do that. I would prefer not to have to pursue these matters legally, and I hope the attorney will respond in a proper way.”

He said some media outlets had chosen not to re-publish or broadcast the remarks.

“I welcome their restraint,” he said.

Bandt criticised the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and Labor, saying they “are not the victims in these matters”. He said the victims were those being killed in Gaza and those killed in the Hamas attacks on Israel on 7 October.

Dreyfus was asked in the Wednesday interview about pro-Palestinian protests outside MPs’ offices and how much they were impeding the offices’ ability to operate.

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“It varies from day to day, but I have been made aware by the Australian Federal Police and by colleagues of a number of offices that have had to close for multiple days in the last several months,” Dreyfus said. “What that means is that the access that their constituents, that their communities deserve to have to their members of parliament is being impeded.”

He then went on to make allegations against the Greens and their federal leader, which are now the subject of Bandt’s defamation claim.

Mark Dreyfus’s office has been contacted for comment.

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