The ABC’s Brett Worthington reports (26.3.19) on revelations that Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party sought millions of dollars in political donations from US gun lobby groups, including the NRA, to support efforts to weaken Australian gun restriction laws.
‘There has been widespread condemnation for One Nation as politicians demand answers from Pauline Hanson amid revelations her party sought foreign funding to change Australia’s gun laws.
‘Secret recordings of senior One Nation figures revealed the party wanted millions of dollars in political donations from America’s National Rifle Association (NRA) and discussed softening its policies on gun ownership as it tried to secure the funding.
‘Liberal Cabinet minister Simon Birmingham said Senator Hanson must explain why One Nation wanted donations from the powerful American gun lobby.
‘… The secret recording of Senator Hanson’s chief of staff James Ashby and the party’s Queensland leader Steve Dickson was broadcast as part of an undercover Al Jazeera investigation.
‘That investigation, which will air tonight on the ABC, involved setting up a fake gun lobby group called Gun Rights Australia headed by a fake gun rights advocate, Rodger Muller.
‘Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie, an avid sport shooting enthusiast, demanded Senator Hanson reveal whether she knew her staff were trying to secure foreign political donations.’
Guns, politics and policy: what can we learn from Al Jazeera’s undercover NRA sting?
Samara McPhedran writes in The Conversation (27.3.19) that, in light of the revelations about One Nation and America’s NRA, firearms policy is more complex than people often allow, and evidence about what works to reduce gun violence is also not clear-cut.
‘Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation into the US National Rifle Association (NRA) has gained international headlines, partly because of One Nation political wannabes drunkenly bragging about how important they could be if only they had the money.
‘None of this should come as a surprise. You would have to be living under a rock to not know that the NRA has money, lobbies with it, and uses a standard set of PR tactics. Likewise, nobody has ever accused One Nation of being sophisticated or lacking grandiose delusions.
‘However, in a carefully timed release to the ABC, a report commissioned by Gun Control Australia and Getup! claims gun control in Australia is being eroded because of the gun lobby.
‘In reality, Australia’s gun laws remain virtually the same as when each state and territory introduced them more than 20 years ago. The last major change was in 2017, when all jurisdictions agreed to ban lever-action shotguns with a magazine capacity of more than five rounds of ammunition. Hardly “watering down”.
‘What is really going on? Simple: when all we hear is guns, guns, guns, it means an election is on the horizon. It is not about guns, but politics.’