SCOTT Morrison believes One Nation officials should not be let off the hook for talking about asking the American gun lobby for $US20 million because they had been drinking.
“Being drunk is no excuse for trading away Australia’s gun laws to foreign bidders,” the prime minister told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday. “That’s the conduct of One Nation officials.”
One Nation’s Queensland leader Steve Dickson and Pauline Hanson’s chief of staff James Ashby say they were drunk when they made the comments to an undercover Al Jazeera reporter.
The pair were also sprung meeting with pro-gun groups in the US, including the powerful National Rifle Association.
Mr Morrison has used the issue to urge One Nation voters to support him instead, stressing minor parties can’t solve big challenges.
“These are not parties of government, they are parties of grievance,” he said.
“Vote for the party that can actually deliver on the things that you’re interested in.”
Nationals senator Matt Canavan said the revelations had exposed One Nation as “absolute frauds”.
“They are fraudulently putting themselves out as somehow patriotic Australians while they fly around to other nations, somehow trying to undermine our country and our nation,” he told Sky News.
In the Al Jazeera footage, Mr Dickson is recorded as saying that with enough funding, One Nation could get the balance of power and have control over the government, and thus be able to weaken Australia’s gun laws.
Mr Ashby said the pair spoke only with undercover Al Jazeera reporter Rodger Muller about the potential $US20 million in donations.
“We’d arrived in America, we got on the sauce, we’d had a few drinks and that’s where those discussions took place – not with any potential donors, no one but Rodger Muller, Steve Dickson and myself,” he told reporters.
Mr Muller posed as the head of fake lobby group Guns Rights Australia, which was set up by Al Jazeera, and initiated the One Nation meetings with the NRA.
Mr Ashby accused Mr Muller, who is Australian, of being a “Middle Eastern spy”.
Mr Dickson and Mr Ashby met with the NRA and Koch Industries – America’s second largest privately held company and major conservative political donor.
The party insists it “strongly supports the rights of lawful gun ownership” and claims Al Jazeera targeted it because of its policies on restricting immigration.
© AAP 2019