One Nation Blames Scotch, 'James Bond' Tactics For NRA Gun Scandal
Steve Dickson and James Ashby have fronted media over the One Nation NRA gun scandal, claiming they were tricked by a "spy" who was "employed by a Middle Eastern country" after having a few drinks.
A fired-up Dickson said the explosive documentary -- filmed by an undercover Al Jazeera journalist, which alleged One Nation asked the powerful American gun lobby to help fund their election campaign -- was an infiltration by a foreign agent.
"This is the stuff you see in James Bond magazines. I would never expect you would see this for real in the real world," Dickson, One Nation's QLD leader, said in a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
But the pair ultimately defended their meeting, with Pauline Hanson's chief adviser James Ashby claiming they had only visited the NRA to learn campaigning and social media tactics.
"This was about sourcing technology, sourcing an understanding of how they operate, but never was it about seeking $20 million from the NRA," Ashby said.
"And the conversations that have been recorded where there is talk of 10-20 million dollars, I will be the first to admit, we'd arrived in America, we got on the sauce, we'd had a few drinks and that's where those discussions took place".
Dickson claimed the pair had been drinking scotch with the journalist Rodger Muller after landing in America, when the comments were made.
"I'm going to apologise to the people of Australia for some of the things that Rodger Muller has taped me saying when we were having a few drinks at the bar at our local hotel," he said.
I don't talk like that publicly. We were three men talking together and having scotches for about three or four hours. That is the truth of the matter.
Dickson also accused Muller -- who he said he initially trusted because he wore an Akubra hat -- of using "James Bond" techniques to secretly tape the meeting.
"I never, ever, ever suspected in my wildest dreams that this guy was employed by a Middle Eastern country, by Al Jazeera, as an Australian spy to interfere in Australian politics," Dickson said.
Dickson did not specifically apologise for what he said, instead suggesting many of his comments were taped "out of context", and slamming the documentary as an attempt at political interference.
He claimed he told the journalist that legalising semi-automatic weapons was "never going to happen in Australia."
"We have some of the strictest gun laws in the word. They're working pretty well," Dickson claimed he said.
He did, however, offer an apology for his use of "colourful language"
"I was born on the land, it is the way I grew up," he said.
"There are some swear words that I used in those undercover videos - again, I apologise to the people of Australia for those use of those words".
Earlier on Tuesday, despite describing the alleged actions of senior One Nation figures James Ashby and Steve Dickson as "abhorrent", PM Scott Morrison refused to confirm his party would place One Nation last on their how-to-vote cards.