EXCLUSIVE | James Ashby says alcohol was involved in NRA meeting
One Nation’s Chief of Staff James Ashby claims alcohol was involved in a sting which saw him apart of negotiations with the United States’ National Rifle Association.
Senior members of One Nation have been filmed seeking millions of dollars in donations from the US gun lobby.
Al Jazeera’s Australian reporter Rodger Muller posed as a gun advocate to infiltrate the United States’ National Rifle Association (NRA).
The three-year investigation included secretly recorded conversations with NRA officials and One Nation party members.
Queensland One Nation leader Steve Dickson was filmed seeking millions in political donations from the NRA in an effort to change Australia’s gun laws.
Senator Hanson’s chief of staff, James Ashby, was also recorded in the meetings.
One Nation released a statement calling for Al Jazeera to release the full recordings of the conversations that took place in September last year.
“The matter has been referred to ASIO and the Australian Federal Police due to concerns of foreign interference into Australian politics in the lead up to the imminent federal election.
“One Nation members have always complied with the law.”
Watch part of the investigation below
Ben Fordham has spoken with James Ashby and Pauline Hanson off-air.
Mr Ashby tried to claim alcohol was involved in some of the conversations but adds that is not an excuse.
But he did tell Ben, “I’m not saying we wouldn’t have taken the money if it was offered.”
Ben Fordham says anyone willing to take money to support gun laws “should hang their heads in shame”.
In a press conference, James Ashby says “this was not about sourcing money from the NRA”.
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Mark Latham tells Ben he hopes Mr Ashby and Mr Dickson can “do a U-turn” and acknowledge the meeting with the NRA was “quite a mistake”.
“It’s not something I would ever do, or think about or support.
“That’s not the Australian way, it’s not my way, it never has been, and it never will be.”
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Chris Smith says One Nation’s meetings with the NRA are “not a good look”.
“It’s gross and Pauline Hanson knows it. It says to me she knew it was dodgy and she couldn’t get involved.
“It just shows how easily policial parties, particularly minor ones who are scratching for a buck, can be bought.”
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