Hanson digging in over US gun doco

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson speaks during press conference on March 28. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson speaks during press conference on March 28. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

ONE Nation leader Pauline Hanson is digging in and attacking the media after appearing to suggest the Port Arthur massacre was a government conspiracy.

The One Nation leader has also defended two senior officials caught talking about asking the American gun lobby for $US20 million.

Hidden camera footage, released by government-funded Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera as part of an undercover operation, showed Senator Hanson saying she had “a lot of questions” about Port Arthur.

“An MP said it would actually take a massacre in Tasmania to change the gun laws in Australia,” Senator Hanson told Al Jazeera reporter Rodger Muller.

“I’ve read a lot and I have read the book on it, Port Arthur. A lot of questions there.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Her “appalling” comments were the final straw for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who declared the Liberal Party would preference One Nation below Labor at the federal election in May.

However, Senator Hanson claims her remarks were “heavily edited” and do not reflect her views on the 1996 mass shooting.

“There is no question in my mind that Martin Bryant was the only person responsible for the murders of 35 innocent lives,” she told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.

“My belief stands today that he should have faced the death penalty.”

Senator Hanson is standing by her chief of staff James Ashby and Queensland senate candidate Steve Dickson after they were caught speaking to the undercover reporter about potential donations.

She said both men made stupid comments “taken completely out of context”, but claimed they were set up and deserved a second chance.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson speaks during a press conference alongside James Ashby and Steve Dickson. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The men claim they were “on the sauce” when the conversations took place.

Senator Hanson said she did not give her consent for her staff to discuss donations from the US gun lobby, and argued One Nation would never support watering down Australia’s firearms laws.

In the Al Jazeera footage, Mr Dickson says One Nation could get the government “by the balls” through holding the balance of power in both houses if they could get millions in funding.

That would allow them to weaken Australia’s gun laws, a point they raised with powerful lobby groups in Washington DC, including the National Rifle Association.

An Al Jazeera reporter posed as the head of fake lobby group Guns Rights Australia and initiated the One Nation meetings with the NRA.

Mr Ashby accused Mr Muller, who is Australian, of being a “Middle Eastern spy”.

Senator Hanson challenged the ABC to review the documentary, which aired on the national broadcaster, claiming the media had been blinded by “hate and bias” against her far-right minor party.

“Today is a day of shame for the Australian media who have been sold a story that is too good to be true, and you took it hook, line and sinker,” she said.

“To the media here today, you have come here baying for my blood and I will not give it to you. I am answerable to the Australian people only, and they will have their say at the ballot box.”

 

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