PM a ‘fool’ for putting One Nation behind Labor
SENATOR Pauline Hanson has branded the Prime Minister a "fool" for demanding Liberals preference against One Nation for her controversial Port Arthur comments - but will not punish him with a similar preference ban.
Senator Hanson, who has avoided the media since Monday after suffering a tick bite on her cheek, also said secretly recorded comments of her saying there were "a lot of questions" about the Port Arthur gun massacre were heavily edited and out of context.
Despite this, she defended her comments that there were "precision shots", saying she saw pictures in a book showing Martin Bryant was not close to all his victims.
It followed Scott Morrison demanding Liberals preference One Nation below Labor so that Australia's gun laws would be kept "sacrosanct".
The Courier-Mail can reveal Mr Morrison called Liberal-aligned LNP MPs from 7.30am on Thursday telling them to preference One Nation below the Labor Party.
Last night LNP president David Hutchinson said the state executive met in the afternoon - after Mr Morrison's declaration and calls - to endorse the position.
But it leaves Nationals-aligned MPs in marginal seats such as Capricornia and Flynn free to pursue deals.
It is unclear if the LNP will preference One Nation above or below Labor in the Senate ballot paper, which is where the minor party is most likely to have candidates elected.
Senator Hanson said One Nation preferences would be determined seat by seat.
In a fiery press conference, Senator Hanson broke her silence on the explosive Al Jazeera reporting revealed this week and made a direct appeal to ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose not to air part two.
The undercover report secretly recorded advisers James Ashby and Steve Dickson meeting the US gun lobby, talking about seeking $20 million in donations, and showed her questioning if Port Arthur was a conspiracy.
Senator Hanson stands by her team, refusing to sack them.
"These are two very good men who want nothing but the best for this country and the people of Australia," she said.
She also defended her recorded comments about Port Arthur in the Al Jazeera report, in which she said: "Those shots, they were precision shots. I've read a lot and I've read the book on it, Port Arthur. A lot of questions there."
Senator Hanson said it was "a day of shame" for the media for believing the footage, saying it was heavily edited.
"There is no question in my mind that Martin Bryant was the only person responsible for the murders of 35 innocent lives," she said.
But questioned about her comments, including about "precision shots", she said she had seen pictures in a book.
"There was a couple of photos in the book of him holding a gun, he wasn't up close to all these people. It's what I read in the book," she said.
It followed Mr Morrison slamming Senator Hanson for her comments and declaring Liberal MPs would preference One Nation below Labor.
"My primary focus is always to keep Australians safe. And to keep Australians safe, you need to keep your gun laws sacrosanct, and that's what I'm doing," he said.
"I haven't rushed into this decision in the same way that John Howard, who I have been consulting with closely on this matter, did not rush into this decision when he took it 20 years ago."
Senator Hanson also fired back at the Prime Minister.
"With Scott Morrison's comments today … you … have just handed the keys to The Lodge to Bill Shorten, Di Natale and the CFMEU. You're a fool," she said.
Petrie MP Luke Howarth, who previously supported the idea of a preference swap with One Nation, said he would now preference the minor party below Labor.
"The question is will the Labor Party put the LNP ahead of the Greens now? They're extreme," he said.
Labor leader Bill Shorten criticised Mr Morrison for not extending his declaration to the Nationals or the LNP.
"This is sneaky. He can't bring himself to put One Nation last because he wants their preferences if he can get away with it," he said.
Queensland Senator Murray Watt questioned Senator Hanson's comments.
"Anyone who watches the videos of her can see that she has bought into conspiracy theories which dishonour those killed at Port Arthur," he said.
One Nation has confirmed it will challenge LNP MP George Christensen in Dawson.
Deb Lawson is named as the One Nation candidate in material advertising a debate organised in Mackay.