SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia's nationalist One Nation party allegedly demanded millions of dollars from the US arms lobby and discussed with the US National Rifle Association (NRA) the weakening of the country's stringent arms control laws, Al Jazeera said.
Australian Senator Pauline Hanson speaks with media representatives at a road safety event in the North Australian town of Townsville in Queensland, Australia, November 10, 2017. Reception on November 10, 2017. REUTERS / Jonathan Barrett
Posing as chairman of a fake Australian lobby For professionals, Al Jazeera secretly filmed top executives from Pauline Hanson's One Nation, allegedly meeting with NRA executives in Washington in 2018.
In addition, One Nation representatives reported the opportunity to raise A $ 20 million ($ 14.22 million) before meeting with a supporter of the US arms lobby.
Concerned about outside influence in Australian politics, especially from China, the government passed laws prohibiting donations for foreign policy in November last year. The One Nation meeting took place in September.
"Reports that high-ranking One Nation representatives have been soliciting foreign political donations to influence our elections and undermine our gun laws that bring us to safety are deeply troubling," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday.
The two party representatives, Chief of Staff James Ashby and Head of State Queensland, Steve Dickson, who were included in the Al-Jazeera report, confirmed that they attended the sessions, but denied accepting a donation from the NRA.
"These talks with the NRA should look no further than their (campaign) techniques," Ashby told reporters in Brisbane.
"It was not about getting money from the NRA."
Calls and emails to NRA Headquarters in Virginia were not returned immediately.
Australia has implemented some of the world's strictest firearms laws after a single gunman killed 35 people in 1996 in Port Arthur, Tasmania.
In Australia, semi-automatic weapons were banned, a weapons buyback program was launched, and after the massacre, strict licensing rules imposed requiring weapons to be locked up when not in use.
Al Jazeera said on his website that the report was in preparation for three years.
The report allegedly told Ashby and Dickson to tell NRA officials that the party could use them to gain enough seats to maintain the balance of power in the Australian Parliament building.
"We get the balance of power, which simply means that we have the testes of the government in each hand at each stage," says Dickson. "Weapons, according to the scheme of things, will always be the nuts and bolts."
At another meeting with a US fan of gun lobby fans, Dickson says: End of the day. We can change the voting system in our country and the way people work if we have the money.
The material allegedly includes an NRA lobbyist who tells both Dickson and Ashby that this was the US arms movement if Australia's gun laws were relaxed.
"This helps us, because the biggest argument we get from people is," Look at Australia, "he says.
In an e-mail message to Reuters, Ashby described the footage as" He said he had referred the matter to the Australian security organization and the Australian federal police election in May.
Al Jazeera is a state-owned broadcaster in Qatar. The network did not immediately respond to a Reuters email in which comments were filed on allegations of foreign interference.
The role of One Nation in promoting right-wing nationalism in Australia has become a focus in recent days after 50 Muslims were killed in New Zealand, allegedly by an Australian white supremacists have been killed.
Nationalists have had difficulty in reaching a major bloc in the Australian Parliament, obw ohl One Nation had significant influence in the House of Lords between 2016 and 2018.
The party collapsed with several resignations last year, but hopes to regroup In the upcoming national elections, rural voters were largely disillusioned by the major parties that they call city-centered.
coverage by Colin Packham and Byron Kaye; Editing by Michael Perry and Sam Holmes