Flat White

Al Jazeera has exposed One Nation as part of the political establishment

31 March 2019

12:04 PM

31 March 2019

12:04 PM

During an eighteenth century parliamentary debate, British statesman Edmund Burke professed that “in the reporters’ gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate far more important than they all”. Burke noted that only with the media’s free scrutiny of government can regular citizens hold their representatives to account.

The One Nation party website lists policies to prioritise “Australians in need” ahead of refugees, to “bring back Australian values”, to ensure “jobs for Australians first and foremost” and to exit trade deals “not in Australia’s best interest”.

However, Al Jazeera’s How to Sell a Massacre has exposed an important reality for Australian voters – One Nation is more than happy to discard its ‘Australia-first’ mantra when the smell of foreign finance hits the air.

It is true One Nation did not have any link to the National Rifle Association before undercover journalist Robert Muller’s intervention. It is also true that One Nation did not ultimately receive any funding. But what is damning is that when the opportunity came to them, the party actively investigated the sale of Australian gun policy to a foreign interest.

The party’s Queensland leader Steve Dickson signalled an intent to pursue funding before their trip to the states:

Mate, we want to get funding… You make this shit happen, I’ll make sure we open any fucking door you need open.

The fact that Australia’s 1996 gun reforms have ensured no mass shootings since Port Arthur is a constant irritant for gun advocates in America. Dickson knew this and worked to solicit their concern; “if we lose (our battle for guns in Australia), you’ll be next,” he is filmed telling US congressman Ted Budd.

Before meetings in America, he suggests a need to convince the NRA that One Nation is “a political wing in Australia that can work hand in glove with the United States.”

If Hanson’s party actually wanted to soften Australia’s gun laws and was transparently working to better the interests of gun-owning Australians, she would be at little fault. Just like the renewable industry can fund the Greens for pushing 100 per cent clean energy, Hanson seeking NRA support having announced a pro-gun policy would be less of an issue.

But last week she told The Bolt Report “One Nation will never allow for the weakening of gun laws in Australia.” Evidently, the party is presenting itself to the Australian electorate in one way and doing the opposite behind closed doors.

Chris Kenny wrote last week that “mocking Pauline Hanson …. merely confirms the Canberra bubble versus the mainstream dynamic that fuels (One Nation’s) popularity”. Indeed, Hanson went some way on Thursday to paint the story as “a day of shame for the Australian media”.

However, this time it is not racist rhetoric or absurd burka-wielding stunts that has her in hot water. She and her party have been exposed by the media as hopeless hypocrites who are not in Canberra to save the Aussie battler, but to chase power and political office for themselves.

Illustration: Al Jazeera.

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