Pauline Hanson will not sack two senior staffers she says were “stitched up” by an Al Jazeera documentary about One Nation’s murky dealings with the US gun lobby, the NRA.
Senator Hanson said her chief of staff James Ashby and Queensland senate candidate Steve Dickson would remain in their positions.
“These are two very good men who want nothing but the best for this country and the people of Australia,” she told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.
Al Jazeera’s damning videos as part of an undercover investigation showed Queensland One Nation leader Steve Dickson and Hanson’s chief of staff James Ashby speaking to the undercover reporter about potential donations.
The pair made the case for funding in meetings with pro-gun groups in the US.
The minor party has also been rocked by revelations Senator Hanson questioned whether the Port Arthur massacre was a government conspiracy during the undercover investigation by Al Jazeera.
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.
“My belief stands today that he should have faced the death penalty.”
Scott Morrison condemns One Nation
The incidents have prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to order One Nation to be put below Labor on Liberal how-to-vote cards.
Mr Morrison said the issues prompted him to contact the Liberals’ organisational wing to ask them to preference One Nation below the ALP at the May election.
“My recommendation to them, which they’re accepting, is that One Nation will be put below the Labor Party at the next election by the Liberal Party,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Perth on Thursday.
Senator Hanson used a 17-minute televised statement to blast the prime minister’s decision, as well as defend her advisers over the Al Jazeera story.
“Prime minister, you have just handed the keys to The Lodge to Bill Shorten, (Greens leader Richard) Di Natale and the (construction union) CFMEU. You’re a fool,” she told reporters in Brisbane, reading from a statement.
Labor has committed to putting One Nation last on its how-to-vote cards, with leader Bill Shorten calling for the Liberals to do the same.
Mr Shorten said he was concerned the LNP in Queensland and the Nationals had been given a “leave pass” by Mr Morrison to do preference deals with One Nation.
“This is sneaky. He can’t bring himself to put One Nation last because he wants their preferences if he can get away with it,” Mr Shorten told AAP on Thursday.
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