A furious Pauline Hanson has hit back at Al Jazeera after a hidden camera investigation recorded her hinting the Port Arthur massacre was a government conspiracy.
Senator Hanson, who had not appeared in public since the documentary aired due to suffering facial paralysis from a tick bite, spoke for the first time about ‘How To Sell A Massacre’ alongside chief of staff James Ashby and One Nation Queensland leader Steve Dickson.
She said her comments on Port Arthur were ‘heavily edited’ and ‘do not reflect how I feel about those tragedies’.
‘There are no questions in my mind that Martin Bryant is the only person responsible… my belief stands today that he should’ve faced the death penalty,’ she said.
Senator Hanson said her comments had been ‘taken out of context’ and that without the ‘Islamist Al Jazeera’ she would have had no contact with the National Rifle Association or the wealthy political donor Koch brothers.
Senator Hanson, who had not appeared in public since the documentary aired due to suffering facial paralysis from a tick bite, spoke for the first time about ‘How To Sell A Massacre’
She spoke to media on Thursday alongside chief of staff James Ashby (left) and One Nation Queensland leader Steve Dickson (right)
‘This is Australia’s first case of severe political interference from a foreign government,’ she said.
Al Jazeera is a news organisation based in Qatar and owned by the Qatari government.
Senator Hanson said her party would never accept money from foreign donors.
‘In relation to the discussion of donations from America, I did not give my consent for those conversations to be had,’ she said.
‘One Nation’s firearms policy is one of the strongest and most widely accepted policy in the country.
‘It is stronger than the new laws put forward by the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern because One Nation wants to take guns off criminals and those on terror watchlists.
‘One Nation will never sell its vote to donors and I make that very clear to those who have given money to this party.’
Senator Hanson said Prime Minister Scott Morrison was a ‘fool’ for preferencing Labor ahead of One Nation.
‘You, Prime Minister, have just handed the keys to the lodge to Bill Shorten, Di Natale and the CFMEU,’ 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.’
She said Mr Ashby and Mr Dickson will remain with the party.
Senator Hanson (pictured) said her party would never accept money from foreign donors
‘These are two very good men who want nothing but the best for this country and the people of Australia,’ she said.
‘There has been a deliberate and intent effort for years to destroy James Ashby’s credibility since he came to work for me.
‘He has made some stupid remarks, as we all have, but I have worked so closely with this man for years to know his integrity is unquestionable and he will not be given a trial by media in an effort to have him sacked.
‘I have no problem sacking people… that brings me to Steve Dickson.
‘When I first saw the initial hit piece and Steve Dickson’s comments I was disgusted. But having watched my own comments, knowing how out of context they were portrayed to the Australian people I knew he was stitched up.
‘I have worked closely with this man for at least two-and-a-half years. I know his family, and I have stayed at his home. He is a friend.
‘I acknowledge that Steve made some inappropriate comments, however, let’s not forget he was set up.
‘This is all a ploy to destroy One Nation. However, it has backfired. Instead we stand here today united, even stronger.’
Earlier, Senator Hanson has emerged in public for the first time since suffering facial paralysis from a tick bite – and an outcry over her suggestion the Port Arthur massacre was a government conspiracy.
The Queensland senator and party founder was pictured by Daily Mail Australia leaving her hobby farm near Ipswich, in southern Queensland, on Thursday morning.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has emerged in public for the first time since a tick bit her face
A stern-looking MP was seen driving her white Toyota LandCruiser Prado four-wheel drive down her driveway as she prepared to front a media conference in Brisbane to answer questions about her suggestion the killing of 35 people at Port Arthur, in April 1996, was a government conspiracy to justify gun control.
The One Nation founder left her rural home as Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed to put her party behind Labor on how-to-vote cards, claiming her stance on Australia’s worst ever gun massacre in Tasmania was the last straw.
‘The comments, particularly last night, and the linkages to Port Arthur, I’m sure all Australians would be shocked about. I was shocked by them,’ he told reporters on Thursday.
Senator Hanson cancelled her public appearances on Wednesday after a tick bit her face, causing it to swell and make her look ‘unrecognisable’.
Her sister Judy Smith had told Daily Mail Australia the senator was unwell.
‘No, she’s not okay,’ she said early on Wednesday afternoon.
Senator Hanson is furious at the Qatar-government owned Al Jazeera network going under cover for three years to film herself, her chief-of-staff James Ashby and her party’s Queensland leader Steve Dickson.
Mr Ashby and Mr Dickson were secretly videoed talking about the potential of receiving $20 million from the American National Rifle Association, as part of a documentary How To Sell A Massacre which the ABC has aired this week.
Hidden camera footage, released by Al Jazeera as part of an undercover operation, showed Senator Hanson saying she had ‘a lot of questions’ about the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania.
‘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, who had posed as the founder of the non-existent Gun Rights Australia lobby group.
The Queensland senator and party founder was photographed by Daily Mail Australia leaving her farm, southwest of Ipswich Queensland, on Thursday morning
‘Haven’t you heard that? Have a look at it. It was said on the floor of parliament.
‘I’ve read a lot and I have read the book on it, Port Arthur. A lot of questions there.’
In 1987, months before losing an election, former New South Wales Labor premier Barrie Unsworth prophetically predicted it would take carnage in Tasmania before Australia had national gun laws.
‘It will take a massacre in Tasmania before we get gun law reform in Australia,’ he told a national gun summit in Canberra, after Tasmania and Queensland rejected his policy idea.
One Nation’s New South Wales leader Mark Latham said Senator Hanson’s comments didn’t match up with his exchanges with the party’s founder, who previously ran a fish-and-chips shop in Ipswich.
She was seen driving her Toyota LandCruiser Prado four-wheel drive down her driveway as she prepared to front a media conference in Brisbane to answer questions about the One Nation gun scandal
‘I had a discussion with her about the making of the Howard gun laws and she didn’t raise any doubts about the veracity of the truth of what happened at Port Arthur,’ he told Seven’s Sunrise on Thursday.
Another of Al Jazeera’s videos showed Mr Dickson and Mr Ashby speaking to the undercover reporter about potential donations.
The men claim they were ‘on the sauce’ when the conversation took place.
Mr Morrison said being drunk was no excuse and has urged Australians to abandon the conservative minor party.
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.
Hidden camera footage, released by Al Jazeera as part of an undercover operation, showed Senator Hanson saying she had ‘a lot of questions’ about the 1996 Port Arthur, which saw 35 people shot dead
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.
Senator Hanson broke her silence on Wednesday, saying she was shocked and disgusted with the ‘hit piece’ by Qatari TV network Al Jazeera.
‘A Qatari government organisation should not be targeting Australian political parties. This has been referred to ASIO,’ she tweeted.
Labor leader Bill Shorten had repeatedly called for the Prime Minister to back up his condemnation of One Nation by putting them last on Liberal Party how-to-vote cards.
Mr Morrison has consistently said his party would wait until final nominations before deciding on its preferences.
Mr Ashby said the pair spoke only with undercover Al Jazeera reporter Rodger Muller about the potential $US20 million in donations.
Mr Ashby accused Mr Muller, who is Australian, of being a ‘Middle Eastern spy’.