You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Govt MPs should focus on budget: Joyce

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016

Barnaby Joyce has told government backbenchers agitating for changes to race hate laws to focus on the things that matter, including budget repair.

Several conservative coalition members are strongly lobbying for support to water down section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act but the deputy prime minister wants them to look at the economy.

"I do say is - concentrate on what affects your constituency the most - this is what really affects your constituency," he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he wasn't being distracted by the ongoing debate over the racial discrimination laws.

"We have other more pressing, much more pressing priorities to address and they include obviously the big economic reforms ... that we'll be introducing into the house today," he told reporters in Canberra at a press conference discussing plans to reinstate a building industry watchdog.

"The only person that's being distracted by this is you."

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said there was "open rebellion" against Mr Turnbull over the issue.

Asked if Labor would consider supporting a beef-up of exemptions in section 18D, Mr Dreyfus said that wasn't necessary because there were enough protections in place.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon