After finally breaking her silence at a press conference on Thursday, Pauline Hanson sat down with reporter Deborah Knight for her first TV interview since the airing of two-part documentary How to Sell A Massacre.
The fiery interview was shown on Channel Nine’s Today programme on Friday morning just one day after Hanson appeared in public for the first time in Brisbane following a tumultuous week for her political party.
Hanson refused to take responsibility for anything that has been said or done by her party, following the release of footage which appeared to show One Nation Chief of Staff James Ashby and Queensland leader Steve Dickson lobbying for cash donations of up to $28 million from the National Rifle Association of America (NRA).
The party was then hit by further scandal when the second part of the documentary was aired on the ABC on Thursday evening, which showed Pauline herself apparently suggesting that the 1996 Port Arthur massacre was a conspiracy theory.
However, speaking to Knight, Hanson vehemently denied that she holds those beliefs, saying: “I never said at all that it was a conspiracy theory.
“No, I didn’t. It’s the media that are actually saying that. It could not possibly be a government conspiracy theory.”
Pauline Hanson is facing the toughest week of her political career, as the firestorm over the gun lobbying sting engulfs her party. @deborah_knight has sat down with the One Nation leader for an exclusive interview. #9News pic.twitter.com/ii5Zgh7C6H
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) March 28, 2019
The party founder was also asked whether she would apologise to the victims’ families, to which she replied that her comments were not made publicly and that it is Al Jazeera who are responsible for them coming to light. However she did go on to say that her “heart goes out” to the families of those killed by gunman Martin Bryant, adding that she is “sorry for them”.
Knight then quizzed the politician on whether she would accept any responsibility for recent events concerning her party. However the defiant 64-year-old refused to do so, describing the documentary as a sting designed to discredit One Nation.
“It was a sting,” she added. “It was entrapment.”
Hanson also suggested that the Al Jazeera documentary has been “cut and pasted” and “dubbed”, saying: “If you really have a look at it, I’ve looked at parts of it, but what I know about that is that I don’t even see his face, I don’t see his lips moving, I feel this has been dubbed out.”
As well as denying that her party travelled to Washington DC with the aim of seeking funding from the NRA or any pro-gun group.
“The media has portrayed that we went to the NRA for funding,” she said. “Never the case. They said we wanted to water down the gun laws. Never, ever the case.”
The One Nation leader also repeated her vow to stand by Ashby and Dickson, describing Dickson as “a good man, a family man” despite admitting that the Senate candidate had said some “stupid, inappropriate” things.
Hanson initially broke her silence on Thursday as she fronted the media in Brisbane, standing shoulder to shoulder with her Chief of Staff James Ashby and Queensland leader Steve Dickson following what has been a tumultuous week for One Nation.
The party founder vowed to stick by the pair following the release of episode one of the Al-Jazeera documentary How to Sell A Massacre earlier this week, which featured clips of Ashby and Dickson appearing to lobby for cash donations from the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) to water down Australia’s gun laws.
The footage sparked a fierce backlash and Hanson, who has reportedly been ill due to a tick bite, finally delivered a press conference yesterday in which she slammed Al Jazeera, which she branded an Islamist organisation, along with the ABC, ahead of the second part of the documentary which is due to air tonight.
“This is a political attack by Al Jazeera in cooperation with the ABC,” she said. “If ABC had any ethical bone in their body they would refuse to put this unfair and unbalanced story to air tonight.”