Politics

Holy Shit, One Nation Has Been Asking The NRA For Money In Exchange For Softening Gun Laws

They also got tips on how to play down a gun massacre.

One Nation NRA

If you thought Australia’s far right couldn’t sink any lower, brace yourself: a massive undercover investigation by Al Jazeera just revealed that One Nation has been seeking millions of dollars in donations from the US gun lobby, including the NRA.

Al Jazeera’s investigation revealed that Pauline Hanson’s chief of staff, James Ashby, as well as One Nation’s Queensland leader Steve Dickson, travelled to the US last year to meet with the NRA and representatives of the conservative Koch Industries, seeking up to $20 million in donations.

That funding, as Dickson was recorded saying in a meeting with the NRA, would help One Nation increase its influence in Australian parliament. “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,” Dickson was recorded saying.

The One Nation representatives were also recorded telling the NRA that softening Australia’s gun laws is a policy priority.

An undercover reporter for Al Jazeera also recorded meetings where the NRA gave One Nation advice on how to respond to people calling for gun control after mass shootings occur.

“‘How dare you stand on the graves of those children to put forward your political agenda?’ Just shame them to the whole idea,” was the response suggested by Lars Dalseide, an NRA media liaison.

“I love that,” was Dickson’s response.

“It’s like, ‘if you, if your policy, isn’t good enough to stand on itself, how dare you use their deaths to push that forward?!'” Dalseide continued, to which Ashby responded “that’s very good, very strong.”

One Nation’s meetings with the NRA took place in September last year, just a few weeks before Australian parliament moved to ban foreign donations. As the ABC notes, Pauline Hanson was vigorously opposed to foreign donations during that debate, saying things like “overseas money should not have an influence on our political scene, so I believe that foreign donations should be totally stopped”. She even asked whether the ban on foreign donations went far enough.

At this stage there’s no evidence that One Nation was successful in obtaining any money from the NRA, and there’s no suggestion that they broke the law on foreign donations.

Asking for advice from the NRA is still a really bad look for them, though, and their response today hasn’t helped — in a statement, One Nation has called Al Jazeera “a state-owned propaganda arm of the Qatari Government that supports Islamic extremist groups and are not a legitimate media organisation”, and referred it 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”.

You can read Al Jazeera’s investigation here. They have provided the ABC with several of the secret recordings.