Update: Pauline Hanson gave a press conference on Thursday afternoon where she claimed her comments regarding the Port Arthur massacre were edited. She said there was “no question” in her mind that Martin Bryant was the only person responsible for the 1996 mass shooting. She also described her party’s policy on firearms as “one of the strongest in the country” and explained that it is even stronger than the recent restrictions imposed by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern following the recent terror attack in Christchurch.
Walter Mikac, who sadly lost his wife and two kids in the horrific Port Arthur massacre in 1996, has slammed One Nation’s Pauline Hanson for her “offensive” comments on the attack in which she appeared to suggest the shooting was a government conspiracy.
Appearing on radio station 3AW on Thursday, the heartbroken father labelled the politician a “disgrace” and said she needs to “get out” of parliament if that’s what she really believes.
The controversial footage taken by an undercover Al Jazeera reporter and obtained by the ABC, showed Hanson discussing the tragic event that left 35 people dead in Tasmania. Throughout the video the senator was secretly filmed saying she has “a lot of questions” about the mass shooting that rocked the nation.
“An MP said it would actually take a massacre in Tasmania to change the gun laws in Australia,” Hanson was heard telling Roger Muller, who posed as a leader of a fake gun lobby group called Gun Rights Australia.
She later added: “Those shots. They were precision shots. Check the number out. I’ve read a lot and I have read the book on it, Port Arthur. A lot of questions there.”
A frustrated Mikac did not take lightly to Hanson’s comments, inviting the politician to “walk in his shoes” to understand the devastation he has felt for over 20 years since the death of his family members. His wife Nanette Mikac died in the attacks, while six-year-old daughter Alannah Mikac and three-year-old Madeline Mikac were among the 35 people killed.
“We have really reached a low in political life in Australia when you’ve got people supposedly representing the population saying things like that,” he told host Neil Mitchell. “I’d just say to Pauline Hanson, come and walk in my shoes. I’ve been without Nanette and Alannah and Madeline for nearly 23 years. I haven’t seen the school graduations, I haven’t seen the 21sts or 18ths and I’m not going to see the weddings.”
Mikac continued by explaining the pain he has felt since that fateful day in 1996 and how comments such as Hanson’s make the situation all that more traumatising.
“The people who lost loved ones, the people who were there, experienced it, who were traumatised for the rest of their lives and have to live with that, it’s like putting a dagger in the heart and opening up those wounds again,” he added.
“I agree that she [Hanson] needs to retract that [comments] or make a very public statement about her thoughts on it because if we have someone with that idea representing us, then she does need to be out, it’s just a disgrace.”
Hanson’s comments come after video emerged of her Chief of Staff James Ashby and Queensland One Nation leader Steve Dickson sitting down with pro-gun officials during meetings that took place last September in Washington DC, in which Ashby could be heard claiming that donations of US$20 million (AU$28 million) would allow you to “own the Australian Parliament”.
However, speaking in Brisbane on Tuesday afternoon, Ashby declared he was “on the sauce” at the time, adding that the meetings were never about sourcing money from the pro-gun organisation, rather about techniques and technology that could potentially have benefitted One Nation.
“We arrived in America, we got on the sauce, we’d had a few drinks,” Ashby said. “That’s where those discussions took place. Not with any potential donors.”
This was followed by comments from Hanson who took to Twitter on Wednesday to share her first statement on the scandal. The footage, recorded by an undercover journalist from Al-Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, has since been compiled into a documentary called How to Sell A Massacre, which aired on the ABC this week.
I was shocked & disgusted with the Al Jazeera hit piece. A Qatari government organisation should not be targeting Australian political parties. This has been referred to ASIO. After the full hit piece has been released I’ll make a full statement & take all appropriate action. -PH
— Pauline Hanson 🇦🇺 (@PaulineHansonOz) March 27, 2019
Branding it a “hit piece”, she wrote: “I was shocked & disgusted with the Al Jazeera hit piece. A Qatari government organisation should not be targeting Australian political parties. This has been referred to ASIO. After the full hit piece has been released I’ll make a full statement & take all appropriate action. -PH.”