Al Jazeera: One Nation in bed with NRA gun nuts

From Al Jazeera:

How do you respond to a deadly mass shooting if you are a gun rights advocate?

First, “Say nothing.” If media queries persist, go on the “offence, offence, offence”. Smear gun-control groups. “Shame them” with statements such as – “How dare you stand on the graves of those children to put forward your political agenda?”

This was the advice the US’s most powerful gun lobby gave Australia’s One Nation party, according to an Al Jazeera investigation, when representatives of the Australian far-right group sought guidance from the National Rifle Association (NRA) on loosening the Pacific country’s strict gun laws.

The NRA’s playbook on mass shootings came to light during the course of a three-year undercover sting by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit. Rodger Muller, an Australian undercover reporter who infiltrated the gun lobbies in the US and Australia, used a hidden camera to record a series of meetings between representatives of the NRA and One Nation in Washington, DC in September last year.

The secretly filmed footage provides a rare inside view of how the NRA deliberates over mass shootings and seeks to manipulate media coverage to push its pro-gun agenda.

Australia’s One Nation party, led by Senator Pauline Hanson, has long sought to relax the country’s gun laws, which bans almost all automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. The rules, some of the toughest in the world, were introduced in 1996 after a gunman with a semiautomatic rifle killed 35 people in the town of Port Arthur.

Since then, Australia has had no mass shootings where the attackers did not know their victims. However, the NRA has denounced Australia’s laws as “not the definition of common sense”.

‘The graves of those children’

Muller, Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter who posed as a gun-rights advocate, introduced One Nation’s Chief of Staff, James Ashby, and the leader of its Queensland branch, Steve Dickson, to the NRA, and travelled with the pair to Washington, DC last year.

Ashby and Dickson were hoping to secure up to $20m in political donations from supporters of the US gun lobby.

In meetings at the NRA’s Virginia headquarters, officials provided Ashby and Dickson tips to galvanise public support to change Australia’s gun laws and coached the pair on how to respond to a mass shooting.

The best method to handle media inquiries in the wake of a massacre was to “say nothing”, according to Catherine Mortensen, an NRA media liaison officer. But if inquiries persisted, she recommended an offensive communications strategy.

That included deflecting public concern by smearing supporters of gun control.

“Just shame them to the whole idea,” said Lars Dalseide, another member of the NRA’s public relations team. “If your policy, isn’t good enough to stand on itself, 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?”

Dickson responded: “I love that, thank you”.

Then, explaining how the NRA manipulated media coverage, Darsedie told One Nation to enlist the services of friendly reporters.

“You have somebody who leans to your side that worked at a newspaper, maybe he was covering city hall or was a crime reporter,” Darseide said.

“We want to print up stories about people who were robbed, had their home invaded, were beaten or whatever it might be and that could have been helped had they had a gun. And that’s going to be the angle on your stories. That’s what he’s got to write. He’s got to put out two to five of those a week.”

‘Outrage of the week’

Another NRA tip was to ghost-write columns for pro-gun law enforcement officials.

“We pitch guest columns in the local papers,” said Mortensen.

“A lot of the times, we’ll write them for like a local sheriff in Wisconsin or whatever. And he’ll draft it or she will help us draft it. We’ll do a lot of the legwork because these people are busy. And this is our job. So, we’ll help them and they’ll submit it with their name on it so that it looks organic. You know, that it’s coming from that community. But we will have a role behind the scenes.”

As for social media, the NRA recommended producing short videos that highlight how useful a gun is for self-defence.

“These are hugely popular and they’re short little snippets. You know, ‘Joe Blow’, cashier at the local convenience store, had his firearm with him and protected himself,” said Mortensen.

“Those are good because they’re short and they kind of get you outraged. We call it like ‘the outrage of the week’.”

During the same meeting, Dickson told the NRA that “African gangs imported to Australia” were committing rape and burglary in the country, including “coming into the house with baseball bats to steal your car”.

To that, Dalseide advised the following: “Every time there’s a story there about the African gangs coming in with baseball bats, a little thing you can put out there, maybe at the top of a tweet or Facebook post or whatever, like with ‘not allowed to defend their home’, ‘not allowed to defend their home’. Boom.”

The NRA officials named in this report, One Nation, Dickson and Ashby did not respond to Al Jazeera’s requests for comment.

I’m not sure this will matter politically. ON is already covered in Christchurch ignominy and its rural support base appears to love guns. I’m not sure it can get any worse though whatever damage it does sustain may benefit the LNP. Scummo knows:

Or not, at the AFR:

The federal Coalition is under increased pressure to put One Nation last on its how-to-vote cards following revelations the minor party sought millions of dollars in donations from America’s National Rifle Association in return for weakening Australia’s gun laws.

Senior members of the Coalition have demanded Pauline Hanson explain her party’s latest actions, but have stopped short of a blanket commitment to putting the party last when it comes to deciding preferences.

The entire Australian right is unelectable while it toys with this evil.

Houses and Holes
Latest posts by Houses and Holes (see all)


  1. Dude…cars aren’t designed primarily to kill…

    Oops..edit…I was responding to the comment you just removed…feel free to remove this comment, too, as it is sitting out here on its own ,😋

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      No, I’m gonna go all Agatha Christie and work my way backwards to what the original, and now missing, comment was.

      Shut-ins have a lot of time for such pastimes.

  2. Simon Birmingham on ABC this morning labeling anyone who is anti-immigration or anti-trade as extremists needing to be shutdown. Globalists not letting a good crisis go to waste.

    • There isn’t a side of politics that lets a good tragedy go to waste.

      Meanwhile, in reality, it’s still trivially easy to legally get your hands on a gun, and trivially easy to get your hands on an illegal one, albeit expensive.

      • Speaking of not wasting a good crisis, could Latham use this as the excuse to slough off the One Nation membership and emerge as an independent?

        “I didn’t know about this, and I can’t in good conscience be a member of this party, so today I am announcing….”

      • He might as well, but really, that sort of gear should invoke an instant by-election. People voted for him as a member of PHON, not as an indie.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Hey, was he standing on graves AND shaming others!!??

      There’s an achievement unlocked.

  3. courted foreign political donations from the US

    Crazy thought: get the AEC to fund the political parties better.

  4. MB stick to your expertise. There’s plenty of social commentary on this. Its delicate. Your identity group comments are classless and poorly thought out. Quoted line ‘standing on the graves etc’ was epic and effective in the time and place when it was actually used years ago. Al Jazeera will understand this better but MB you best leave it lie.

    • Agreed, if the question was – do I prefer one nation receiving money from the NRA or major parties taking money from Chinese SOE – then the answer is that I would MUCH PREFER the former.

    • kannigetMEMBER

      Maybe I missed somethign but I didnt See MB comment on this, just quote the Al Jazeera article.

      Not sure this is that delicate either, You have 3 sides, One that thinks guns are not a general requirement in a modern society as the downsides far outweigh any good sides, another that thinks that guns ARE a requirement no matter how bad their argument is. The 3rd side is those that seek to profit from the divide between these 2.

      In a truly democratic society the wishes of the many should outweigh those of the few. To reach out to an organisation that is NOT part of our democracy in any way to get funds is an an attempt to profit from the divide, the external organisation profits because they get outreach into a country they have little influence over. Those who reach out profit in that they get funds to drive the agenda toward them getting elected again.

      Lobby groups and organisations trying to push an agenda in a democratic society are fundamentally apposed to the idea that the majority influence the decisions.

  5. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    “That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”
    ― George Orwell

  6. I’ve just wasted 48 minutes of my life finding out that Pauline and her party are more dangerous than I ever thought.

    Watch Pauline: go on punk, make my day. Scary, scary people in charge here

      • Thank you, hareeba, for your thoughtful comment.

        There are a few in this place who spruik for alt parties, like SA and ON. What I say to anyone in this place who suggests that we might like to look at ON as an alt to the majors is, are you kidding me?
        I know the majors support corps and donors; at our very peril… I don’t have an answer to that; but ON, mate. You can’t be serious, you just can’t. If you can’t stomach the majors, do a donkey.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Christopher, after seeing Teena McQueen in action on Q&A I think hareeba could be right and that there are parties out there far more dangerous than ON. That she is a VP in the mob that has their hands on the levers is mightily scary.

      • Fair point, Mining. What can I say? It’s broken, I know, but I’m not going to stand by and not call out the un-australian agenda of on, or any other party. I have no allegiances

    • CJ

      Remind me again who had P Hanson illegally incarcerated ?? JW Howard and A Abbott and they took some of her election policies.

      I suppose you get what you deserve.

  7. Anything James Ashby is involved in turns to controversy.

    A political party would have to be utterly lacking in any form of cognitive function to hire him.

    …and then there is One Nation….

    • Christopher J.

      One Nation are morons. We all know that. But as you acknowledge the major parties are the one’s destroying our country. I think One Nation are literally too dumb to be a serious problem to any policy formation. Maybe i should have elaborated more. Nothing personal.

      What is happening all around the world is obvious. Globalisation and the elites are screwing everyone over and the rednecks are revolting. Literally and metaphorically. It’s the left’s fault as they have abandoned their roots as they play identity politics and have also embraced neoliberal garbage.

      I voted SA last Saturday. Still hoping they get a seat in the Legislative Council. But i doubt it.

      • The problem with the rednecks revolting is that it’s being misdirected by the elites, who own the media and direct the message. They’re targeting anyone “foreign” and not Caucasian.

        It’s all smoke mirrors and misdirection to take the peasants eyes off their overlords – the elite learned a lot from the French Revolution. Control everything but don’t flaunt your wealth in the media as it makes you a target.

        Also, it was angry white men from middle class America that elected Trump.

        The person who controls the information, controls the message and the masses.

  8. Some non-endangered animals are a threat to crops and livestock, and sometimes to human life as well. (Some animals classified as endangered are no such thing.) Our gun laws work really well in the cities, but they make an already difficult life in the bush that little bit harder. If you’re going out at night shooting wild rabbits, foxes, pigs and cats, not being allowed a silencer is a problem. The noise from the guns frightens the animals into hiding and breaks the peace of the neighbours. Not being allowed a semi auto slows you down. The rise and rise of the wild deer population in SE Australia appears to have coincided with tighter gun laws.

    • C.M.BurnsMEMBER

      of course, i mean it’s not like humans have been hunting with gunpowder weapons for hundreds of years without the need for a silencer.

      • For Culling (less so hunting) silencers would improve productivity perhaps more than a semi, particularly for skittish quarry. They’re out there now, but it’s a pretty special license for them & not readily given out – same for semi’s, both are rarely given. While I’m unsure about the breeding up of deer because there’s nonsensical elmer fudd rules around them that might be an additive reason, the parallels are pretty clear for other ferals.

        The city refuses to understand & maybe that’s fair enough as the realities for idiocy in crowded spaces doesn’t bear thinking about – although as we all know there’s always other ways. It’s really about keeping them/anything out of the hands of lunatics & the rules in place here has done that pretty well so far thankfully. It’s a tool of trade on the land though & the more productive the better. It must be kept in mind the rules & the stigma now attached has been at quite a high price outside city bounds!

      • C.M.BurnsMEMBER

        we as a society are constantly making the judgement call between what is the most efficient way to achieve X; and what is the optimal way to achieve X given likely risks and consequences.

        For example – baiting pests on farmland – is much more efficient, but many countries have banned it because of the wider damage that it causes to the food chain and the local ecosystem.

        And since there is no practical way to prevent guns and accessories that might be sold to farmers from making their way to the cities and suburban areas via the black market, then on the balance I believe that they should remain banned.

      • I was modded Burnsy. Starting to wonder if there’s a narrative filter. Suffice to say I pretty much agree, but I’d like to see a special commission to streamline inconsistencies within the laws without the politicization, just rationality – it needs a revisit on quite a few fronts & that doesn’t mean getting them or keeping them will be easier or more semi’s in shooters hands.

        I’d also note Police are stepping up safe inspections & enforcing upgrades where applicable & raising security diligence of shooters where needed. Vic Police have stated the Melbourne shennenigans of late are all from imported stock sneaking through Customs, not local stock…..

    • Lol Robert, your post should come with a disclaimer

      “This is a paid for message by the NRA”

    • Didn’t the west try to close down Aljazeera for being a bit too truthy? Cover story being they were fomenting local ire with ‘fake news’ IIRC.

      • C.M.BurnsMEMBER

        Al Jazeera is from Qatar. The efforts to ban / diminish / restrict it as a news network were caused by the the ongoing cold war between Qatar and the House of Saud; and we all know whose side of that the American (including Trump), English etc Establishment comes down on