The National Rifle Association advised members of an anti-Islam political party in Australia to shame gun control advocates and push inaccurate stories about armed African gangs breaking into homes in order to push for pro-gun laws in the country, according to reports.
An undercover investigation by Al Jazeera revealed the gun lobbyist group had met with members of One Nation while the far-right party was allegedly seeking up to 20 million Australian dollars ($14.22 million) in donations so it could obtain greater power and influence in Australia.
The footage was recorded by Al Jazeera reporter Rodger Muller, who posed as an Australian pro-gun rights lobbyist group member for three years as part of the news probe.
“We get the balance of power. Very simply, that means that we have the testicles of the government in our hand at every given stage,” Steve Dickson, leader of One Nation’s Queensland branch, can he heard telling NRA officials while discussing plans to win more seats in Australia’s parliament. “Guns, in the scheme of things, are still going to be the be-all and end-all.”
Australia has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. The country banned semi-automatic rifles and imposed stricter licensing rules in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, when a gunman killed 35 people on the island state of Tasmania.
During the secretly recorded meetings, Dickson and One Nation chief of staff James Ashby were found discussing with NRA media liaison officers Catherine Mortensen and Lars Dalseide how they managed negative media reaction in the wake of a mass shooting in the U.S.
“Just shame them to the whole idea,” Dalseide suggested. “If your policy isn’t good enough to stand on itself, how dare you use their deaths to push that forward. How dare you stand on the graves of those children to put forward your political agenda?” Read more