Hidden camera footage of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson questioning the details of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre has been revealed, just days after two of her party’s key figures were shown seeking funds from America‘s powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) to change Australia‘s gun laws.
The second part of Al Jazeera’s How To Sell A Massacre investigation, which aired overnight, showed Hanson discussing the NRA’s meeting with One Nation chief of staff James Ashby and Queensland leader Steve Dickson.
In footage recorded by undercover reporter Rodger Muller, Hanson expressed her doubt over the facts of Australia’s deadliest mass shooting and appeared to suggest a political connection.
“An MP said it would actually take a massacre in Tasmania to change the gun laws in Australia,” Hanson told Muller.
“Have a look at it. It was said on the floor of Parliament.
“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.”
Ashby also appeared to express doubts over the legitimacy of the September 11 attacks in the footage.
Hanson’s comments in the footage stands in contrast to the views publicly expressed by One Nation.
In 2001, nearly five years after Martin Bryant pleaded guilty to shooting 35 people dead in the Tasmanian town, Hanson told the ABC “we do not support any conspiracy theories regarding Port Arthur or Martin Bryant, we do believe that he has been convicted of this and he’s been charged over it, and that he is guilty of the offence and the crime committed at Port Arthur.”
The same day, One Nation’s Tasmanian leader Peter Stokes took pains to distance the party from conspiracy theories.
Discussing the incorrect theories that Bryant had an accomplice, or that the shooting was a government ploy to ease the passage of Australia’s sweeping gun law reform, Stokes told the ABC “One Nation’s position is we don’t hold with that theory at all.
“And we certainly will distance ourselves from that statement.”
In 2017, the party was forced to remove their endorsement of Queensland state election candidate Peter Rogers after he was found to have implied the Port Arthur shooting was “a fabricated incident.”
The hidden camera footage has already been seized upon by political opponents, who see it as more proof that Hanson and One Nation – both already beleaguered by Al Jazeera’s bombshell exposé – are unfit to serve the Australian people.
Labor MP Andrew Leigh tweeted that one of his former colleagues was killed in the shooting, and called Hanson’s suggestion “revolting”.
Leigh’s federal Labor colleague, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen, asked if the latest revelation was enough for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Liberal Party to preference One Nation last at the upcoming federal election.
Hanson is yet to publicly comment on her Port Arthur statement.