News National One Nation blames gun control scandal on booze and ‘Middle East spy’
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One Nation blames gun control scandal on booze and ‘Middle East spy’

pauline hanson's one nation & nra - steve dickson and ashby
Steve Dickson and James Ashby held a bizarre press conference on Tuesday. Photo: AAP
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Pauline Hanson’s right-hand man James Ashby has blamed a four-hour booze-up for the scandal engulfing One Nation, insisting he was “on the sauce” when he bragged of courting a $20 million donation from the US gun lobby.

Despite being caught on video in the sting – claiming One Nation would have the government “by the balls” with a donation that size – Queensland leader Steve Dickson insisted the men “had a few drinks” when they discussed the donations over a scotch with a “Middle East spy”.

The “spy” is Australian journalist Rodger Muller, who went undercover for Al Jazeera for three years to pose as a gun lobbyist while he filmed his encounters.

“And the conversations that have been recorded where there is talk of $10 to $20 million, 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,” Mr Ashby told reporters on Tuesday.

One Nation has referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police and ASIO, insisting that Qatar-owned Al Jazeera was “spying” on them.

“Rodger Muller had organised these meetings. This was a deliberate set-up by the Qatari government under Al Jazeera,” Mr Ashby said.

“He set these meetings up. This is skulduggery at its worst. This is the very first time Australia has witnessed political interference from a foreign government.”

Ms Hanson was nowhere to be seen during the bizarre press conference, with both men insisting she was “very unwell” and unable to front the cameras.

Mr Dickson insisted he trusted the fake gun lobbyist because he was wearing an Akubra hat.

“This is the stuff you see in James Bond magazines,” Mr Dickson said.

Earlier, former Labor leader Mark Latham, who has switched to One Nation and will re-enter NSW Parliament in the upper house, sidestepped questions about what should happen to the two men.

He made it clear that he supported John Howard’s gun laws and did not support Australia’s current regime being watered down in any way.

“It’s not something I would have done. It’s a Queensland question. I won’t be making public comment about what should happen. It’s not something I would do or support,” he told 2GB.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday said the revelations were “appalling” and called for One Nation voters to return to the Coalition.

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