Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has called for Pauline Hanson to sack her chief-of-staff James Ashby and Queensland One Nation leader Steve Dickson (pictured on the left) who were caught on video seeking a $20 million donation from America’s National Rifle Association.
The Guardian reports, the One Nation leader, who is reportedly unwell from a tick bite to the face and has not appeared in public since the scandal broke, did not admonish the two explicitly when she issued a statement via social media yesterday.
She instead attempted the same defensive strategy as Ashby and Dickson, in an obvious effort in damage control, accusing al-Jazeera, the state-funded broadcaster of Qatar, of producing a “hit piece” on One Nation.
The al-Jazeera investigation, which captured the damning conduct from the two One Nation officials, used hidden cameras and an undercover journalist posing as a grassroots gun campaigner to expose the party’s extraordinary efforts to secure funding in Washington DC last September.
The documentary revealed Ashby and Dickson had sought millions in donations from the firearms lobby in a bid to seize the balance of power in the Australian parliament, and weaken Australia’s gun laws.
Ashby and Dickson claimed on Tuesday they had been “on the sauce” drinking scotch for “three or four hours” when they were filmed covertly discussing seeking the donation from the NRA.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday that wasn’t much of a plea bargain. “Frankly, being drunk is no excuse for trading away Australia’s gun laws to foreign bidders – that’s the conduct of One Nation officials.”
Senator Bernardi has told Chris Kenny on Sky News the actions of these men has done enormous damage to the Australian body politic.