One Nation officials have been secretly recorded asking American pro-gun groups for millions of dollars to help the party relax gun control in Australia.
The party’s Queensland leader Steve Dickson and chief of staff James Ashby travelled to the US on several fundraising missions last year.
In one meeting with representatives from the powerful National Rifle Association, Mr Dickson described gun control as a ‘poison’ and said his party could ‘change Australia’ if it were given money.
In one meeting with a representative from the NRA, Mr Ashby is thought to be heard saying that US$20 million in donations to One Nation from US pro-gun lobbyists would give them parliamentary influence in Australia
In the meeting, Mr Dickson (pictured) described gun control as a ‘poison’ and said his party could ‘change Australia’ if it were given money
Mr Ashby (left), Mr Dickson (centre) and undercover reporter Mr Muller (right) on one of their trips to the US
The pair also met representatives of Koch Industries, an American company whose founders have donated millions to conservative causes.
Before the meeting, Mr Ashby said he was going to ask for $20million.
One Nation meets with the NRA: A transcript
In one meeting with the NRA, One Nation figures Mr Dickson and Mr Ashby discussed donations with Mr Muller, an undercover reporter posing as a gun rights lobbyist.
Dickson: ‘If we could get that sort of money, imagine, we could change Australia.’
Muller: ‘If One Nation could get $10 million…’
Ashby: ‘…You would pick up eight Senate seats.’
Dickson: ‘I mean, that guarantees you the balance of power, you’d have the whole Government by the balls.’
One Nation wanted their overseas missions to be kept secret and Mr Ashby said if people found out ‘it’ll f*****g rock the boat.’
According to secret recordings, Leader Pauline Hanson was aware of the visits but decided not to go herself, saying she was focussed on campaigning at home.
But the party was exposed by undercover reporter Rodger Muller working for Qatari news network Al-Jazeera.
Over the course of three years, Muller posed as the founder of a fake lobby group called Gun Rights Australia.
He became friendly with NRA and One Nation officials, arranged meetings between them and secretly filmed them.
A documentary about Muller’s investigation which aired on Monday shows a meeting with the NRA in Washington, DC in September 2018.
Mr Dickson told NRA officials that gun control is a ‘poison’ spreading throughout the world.
He said Australian gun law is important in context of a global battle for gun rights.
‘If we don’t change things, people are going to be looking at Australia and go “Well, it’s OK for them to go down the path of not having guns, it’s OK for them to go down that politically-correct path”,’ he said.
This image from one of the trips to the US shows Mr Dickson pointing a gun at a gun show
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and undercover report Rodger Muller, posing as Gun Rights Australia president and founder, meet in Queensland in December 2018
One Nation’s Queensland leader Steve Dickson (left) and Chief of Staff James Ashby (right) in Washington, DC, with undercover reporter Rodger Muller (centre) in September 2018
Undercover reporter Rodger Muller posing as Gun Rights Australia president at the 2016 NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky
‘And it’s like a poison – it will poison us all unless we stop it.’
He said that with donations One Nation could win more seats in the upper and lower houses and hold the balance of power.
‘We get the balance of power, very simply that means that we have the testicles of the Government in our hand at every given stage,’ Mr Dickson said.
‘And guns, in the scheme of things, are still going to be the be-all and end-all.
‘If we can get that sort of money, imagine, we can change Australia,’ he said.
Mr Ashby is then heard saying that $US20 million in donations to One Nation from US pro-gun lobbyists would give them parliamentary influence in Australia.
‘If you had 20 [$US20 million], you would own the Lower House and the Upper House,’ the recording states.
In the meeting with Koch Industries, Mr Dickson said One Nation could ‘change the voting system’ if his party secured donations.
‘It’s going to get down to money at the end of the day,’ he said.
‘We can change the voting system in our country, the way people operate, if we’ve got the money to do it.
‘The ingredients are there, we just don’t have the petrol to put in the engine.
‘So whatever you can do would be fantastic.’
Both One Nation or the NRA declined to respond to Al Jazeera about its investigation and documentary.
One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson and media advisor James Ashby in August 2018
Mr Dickson (pictured) said that with donations One Nation could win more seats in the upper and lower houses and hold the balance of power
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson (centre) and her two party Senate candidates for the next federal election Malcolm Roberts (right) and Steve Dickson (left) speak to the media in 2018
One Nation responded on Tuesday with a statement calling for Al Jazeera’s reporting to be investigated.
‘Al Jazeera are a state owned propaganda arm of the Qatari government that supports Islamic extremist groups and are not a legitimate media organisation,’ the statement read.
‘One Nation was invited by Rodger Muller, who has now been outed as a foreign agent working for Al Jazeera to meet with the NRA, American business leaders and attend the Congressional Sportsman’s Dinner.
‘One Nation has asked Al Jazeera to show complete transparency and release the full context of conversations.
‘The matter has been referred to ASIO and the Australian Federal Police due to concerns of foreign interference into Australian politics in the lead up to the imminent federal election.’
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham called Senator Hanson to front the cameras on Tuesday to explain the ‘sickening’ reports.
‘She should explain whether or not she was truly seeking an amazing $20million in foreign donations to One Nation,’ he told ABC’s Radio National.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is seen with chief of staff James Ashby (left) in Rockhampton in 2017
He said the idea of rolling back Australia’s gun laws seemed remarkable in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre two weeks ago, in which a lone shooter allegedly motivated by right-wing extremism killed 50 people at two mosques.
The meeting came not long before legislation cleared federal parliament in November banning foreign donations.
There is no evidence any money was given to One Nation from foreign donors.
Al Jazeera’s two-part documentary will be shown on the ABC on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Australia has had strict gun laws banning almost all automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns since the Port Arthur massacre which killed 35 in 1996.
In January, One Nation New South Wales leader Mark Latham said in an interview with Daily Mail Australia he would not support the relaxation of gun laws.
He said: ‘I support the Howard gun laws which followed the Port Arthur massacre for the common sense reason that they worked.
‘We haven’t had a public massacre, a public gun massacre in Australia, since Port Arthur. Touch wood. We’re not the United States. We’re not going down that path. Those laws work.
‘I can tell you as a parent it’s reassuring to know when the kids school, unlike the United States, there’s a very good chance they come home, it’s almost a certainty they come home safely. Same in shopping centres.
‘And the other worry we have from a One Nation perspective, you relax gun laws and a terrorist gets hold of automatic weapons through a shopping centre, that’s something that’s got to be avoided at all costs. Don’t change laws that are working.’