One Nation MP Mark Latham, who was elected to NSW’s Upper House at the weekend, has attacked an investigation into the party’s stance on gun laws as a “do over”.
- As part of an Al Jazeera investigation, One Nation figures were filmed discussing the softening of Australia’s gun laws
- One Nation MP Mark Latham said the party had been targeted in a “dishonest” way
- The ABC said the reaction to the story proved it was in the public interest
Speaking on radio station 2GB, Mr Latham described Al Jazeera’s three-year investigation into One Nation as “media entrapment”, and claimed the ABC was trying to “do over” his party by running it.
An Al Jazeera documentary crew filmed One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s Chief of Staff James Ashby and the party’s Queensland director Steve Dickson discussing the softening of Australia’s gun laws during a trip to the US last year.
On the trip, Mr Ashby and Mr Dickson were filmed meeting officials from the National Rifle Association (NRA), and other gun lobby groups.
The pair spoke openly about wanting political donations.
“It’s certainly a sting, it’s an example of media entrapment,” Mr Latham said.
“I think it’s quite remarkable that a news agency headed by a guy who came from the ABC, now working for this Arabic news outfit, would spend three years paying someone to deliberately deceive, lie, spy, connive and set-up these Queensland One Nation officials.
“This three-year entrapment exercise is completely unprecedented in Australian democracy.”
In videos splashed over several news outlets yesterday, Mr Ashby and Mr Dickson can be seen discussing donations in the order of $10 million and $20 million.
There is no evidence to suggest the pair actually received any donations.
Mr Ashby and Mr Dickson held a press conference yesterday in which they said they had been set up by a “secret agent” from the Middle East.
Mr Latham today accused the ABC of working with Al Jazeera to conduct the investigation, which was carried out by Al Jazeera executive producer Peter Charley.
“Peter Charley used to work for the ABC, he’s the bloke behind the Al Jazeera sting,” Mr Latham said.
“George Megalogenis, an ABC character, is interviewed as part of the program so I assume the ABC had updates as to how the entrapment was going and now of course they’re feeding off it in their various news outlets today.
“So the ABC has seemingly been party to the targeting of One Nation in a way that is fundamentally dishonest.”
A spokeswoman for the ABC said the organisation was not involved in the making of the Al Jazeera program in any way.
“The Al Jazeera documentary ‘How To Sell A Massacre’ was commissioned and produced by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit,” the spokeswoman said.
“Al Jazeera approached the ABC about the documentary and we acquired the broadcast rights according to our usual procedures.
“The ABC judged that it was clearly in the public interest that Australians had the opportunity to see this material for themselves.
“The reaction of the Australian public to these revelations has supported that decision.”
The ABC contacted Mr Megalogenis for comment.