Tuesday, March 26, 2019

One Nation sought donations, help from NRA

Advisers to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party met with representatives of the National Rifle Association in the US last year to seek funding and advice on how to loosen Australia’s gun laws. Al Jazeera has published hidden camera footage of Pauline Hanson’s chief of staff, James Ashby, and One Nation’s leader in Queensland, Steve Dickson, meeting with NRA representatives in Virginia, who explain how gun rights advocates should respond to mass shootings. Lars Dalseide, an NRA public relations adviser, told the pair they should “shame” those who call for tighter gun control laws, using talking points such as: “How dare you use their deaths to push that forward. How dare you stand on the graves of those children to put forward your political agenda?” Dalseide also recommends finding pro-gun stories of “people who were robbed, had their home invaded, were beaten or whatever it might be” and feeding them to friendly reporters.

Speaking to an undercover journalist posing as a gun industry lobbyist, Dickson sought substantial donations from the NRA, saying in the footage that “if they threw $10 million at us, we could win a fucking heaps of seats, plus a shitload” in the Senate. In the footage, Dickson says “England is being taken over by Muslims” and boasts of loosening gun laws while he was minister for sport, racing, recreation and national parks in Campbell Newman’s Liberal-National state government. “Once I found out about regulation, how easy it was, get out of my way, mate! Once you find out, mate, it’s like finding the Genie’s lamp. You just do anything. I was changing shit all the time, it was great.” Dickson also boasts of his dealmaking prowess, saying his former membership of Queensland’s parliamentary crime and misconduct committee means that “I’m never going to jail, it won’t happen because I walk the knife”. At an NRA conference in Washington, DC, Dickson says “We’ve been importing all these Muslims into Australia”, and that “they’re just breaking into people’s houses with baseball bats and killing people, stealing everything they own. Gangs. Our country’s going into chaos.” Ashby warned that One Nation’s attempts to solicit donations from the NRA should be kept secret, as “they’ll rock the fucking boat”. 

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejikilian has secured majority government, giving the NSW Liberals an historic third term in power. ABC election analyst Antony Green called the seat of Dubbo for the National Party’s Dugald Sanders on Monday, giving the Berejiklian government the 47 votes it needs to command an outright majority in the state’s Legislative Assembly. State opposition leader Michael Daley said on Monday he would stand aside as Labor leader until after the federal election, when the state party would hold a leadership ballot. Daley said he would contest the ballot, where he will likely face off against Kogarah MP Chris Minns and Strathfield MP Jodi McKay.

Shelves at pharmacy chain Chemist Warehouse are emptying as a workers’ strike over low pay, poor conditions and a widespread culture of sexual harassment begins to bite. Chemist Warehouse distribution centre workers in Victoria and Queensland voted to strike earlier this month, citing rampant job casualisation, below-award wage pay and the company’s failure to effectively respond to multiple allegations of sexual harassment against employees. Picketers told Nine newspapers on Monday that they had been targeted with harassment and violence, including from truck drivers attempting to run over workers on picket lines.

And New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a royal commission of inquiry into the Christchurch terror attack. Speaking on Monday, Ardern said the commission “will look at what could have or should have been done to prevent the attack”. Ardern has been widely praised for her response to the attack, which included banning assault weapons, paying for the funerals of the attack’s 50 victims and orchestrating public displays of solidarity with New Zealand’s Muslim communities. Meanwhile, in Australia, federal Coalition MPs continued to publicly feud on Monday over whether to preference One Nation. Ten Queensland Liberal-National Party MPs have voiced a desire for their party to preference One Nation above the Greens and Labor, while member for Goldstein in Victoria, Tim Wilson, said “we should show spine, not be supine, and that means standing up to them and discrediting them at every single opportunity”.



“Although a private-sector employee could easily be terminated for openly criticising their company, the government is no ordinary employer. In time, it began to be accepted that government employees are entitled to some degree of political participation and that there is a societal interest in their inclusion in the public discourse.”


“Having caught their breath over the weekend, they were back to their dog-whistling best: of course the Christchurch tragedy was an unforgiveable atrocity, but … And then followed the usual lines about how Jihadists are the real terrorists, the extremes of the left are just as culpable as the extremes of the right, and the usual self-serving sophistry.”


“From August 2017 until the following winter, Mayor was rarely seen without a cardboard cylinder under his arm, the Uluru statement rolled inside. The MUA covered his salary, travel and accommodation as he travelled to bush meetings, cities and community halls across Australia, to help to build the people’s movement needed to prompt a fresh flow of constitutional ink.”


“A week after the Christchurch massacre brought about a brief reckoning – albeit furtive and faltering – with racism in Australia’s discourse, a man who campaigned on  grievance, banning immigration from Muslim majority countries and junk science race theory now has eight years in parliament. Beyond the deeply dispiriting symbolism, it’s worth asking; what’s the worst that Latham can actually achieve?”


“One of Australia’s longest-running anti-gay campaigners, Fred Nile, has declared gay sex is an ‘abomination’ and ‘something God hates’ in an edition of his newspaper devoted to same-sex marriage ahead of the national postal survey on the issue. Nile, who is 82 and a member of the NSW Legislative Council, will be campaigning for people to vote ‘no’ in the survey over the coming months.”


“Shedding new light on the environmental factors influencing women’s views of royal privilege and responsibility, a study released Friday by New York University’s Department of Psychology found that the majority of girls who play princess develop skewed and possibly unrealistic perceptions of the role of the modern monarchy in a democratic society.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.