Pauline Hanson’s train wreck week continued on Friday, when the beleaguered One Nation leader doubled down on her claim that the controversial al-Jazeera documentary is “a sting.”
She said she isn’t willing to take any “blame” over the brouhaha: “No. I don’t.”
In an almost 12-minute one-on-one with co-host Deborah Knight on Nine’s Today show, Senator Hanson argued How To Sell a Massacre had been “cut and spliced” and “dubbed” to “discredit” One Nation.
But she also admitted she hadn’t “had time” to watch the full two-part al-Jazeera documentary (which screened on ABC-TV this week), and had only seen “what’s portrayed by the media”.
The second instalment of the documentary showed Senator Hanson insinuating on a hidden camera the 1996 Port Arthur massacre was engineered by the government.
It was uploaded to YouTube about six hours before the Today sit down was filmed on Thursday after Ms Hanson fronted the media but took no questions.
In her latest attempt at damage control, the Senator was by turns pleading (“Deb … you know me”) and defiant.
Coming out swinging, she accused al-Jazeera of tampering with the questions of undercover journalist Rodger Muller.
“What I know from that, I don’t see his face or lips moving,” Senator Hanson said.
“I feel this has been dubbed out. It has been cut and pasted so many times.”
Knight rallied: “We see your face. We see the words coming out of your mouth. It’s on tape. You can’t deny they were the words that you said.”
Ms Hanson was cornered. “OK, I know.”
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) March 29, 2019
The Senator deflected when asked if she would apologise to families of Port Arthur victims.
“My comments were made at a dinner table, they were not made publicly,” Senator Hanson – who appeared to have recovered from a tick bite that made her “unrecognisable” earlier this week – said on Today.
“This was not my doing to have exposed these comments. It was al-Jazeera and an undercover agent.”
While saying “I’m sorry for these people – I really am”, Senator Hanson insisted “foreign interference” was to blame for her remarks: “It was a sting.”
Senator Hanson said she “never said at all” that the Port Arthur massacre was “a conspiracy theory”, adding she would have “spoken up” on the floor of Parliament if she had believed it.
When Knight asked where her claims in the footage came from, Senator Hanson cited a “book” she said was sent to her.
She could not name the title or author, but said it was “a light blue in color” and “not very thick”.
She said she “categorically” doesn’t want to water down gun laws: “I don’t. I have one of the strongest gun law policies in the country.”
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) March 28, 2019
On Thursday night, part two of How To Sell a Massacre showed One Nation chief of staff James Ashby and Senate candidate Steve Dickson discussing how to funnel NRA donations through a third party.
Mr Dickson said he would use money he received to hire “one of those drug-dealing mansions on the beach” then would shoot “the sh-t out of everything in the water” with “machine guns and everything”.
Mr Ashby discussed how to sell a pro-gun message to Australians.
“It’s like Vegemite. You don’t put a f—ing bundle of the s–t on the toast. A light smear first. Get them used to the flavour,” he said.
On Today, Senator Hanson acknowledged “Steve said some stupid things. Or inappropriate things. All right.”
When Knight told her seemed to be “pointing the finger of blame” at a foreign government, an undercover journalist and the ABC, Senator Hanson again clapped back.
“Not blame. I’m actually telling you the truth.”
After the al-Jazeera report, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Liberals will preference Labor above One Nation at the federal election.
On Today, Senator Hanson repeated her claim from Thursday that Mr Morrison was a “fool” for his decision.