Australian PM denounces foreign vote meddling after NRA report

Scott Morrison says laws were made to ‘criminalise taking foreign political donations’ to prevent lobbyists’ influence.

    Australia’s prime minister on Tuesday expressed concern over an Al Jazeera report that an influential minor political party had asked the US gun lobby for donations to help undermine Australian gun laws.

    A three-year Al Jazeera investigation showed One Nation party officials Steve Dickson and James Ashby flew to the United States for meetings with the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun interest groups in September last year, just weeks before the Australian Parliament banned foreign political donations.

    It is unclear whether they secured any money.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government had made laws to “criminalise taking foreign political donations so foreign lobbyists cannot seek to influence our politics”.

    “Al Jazeera are a state-owned propaganda arm of the Qatari government … and are not a legitimate media organisation,” the party said.

    The role of One Nation in promoting right-wing nationalism in Australia has come under the spotlight in recent days following the killing of 50 Muslims in New Zealand, allegedly by an Australian white supremacist.

    New Zealand has responded by banning a range of semi-automatic weapons and foreshadowing a government-funded buyback of newly outlawed guns. The country’s response is similar to how Australia strengthened its gun laws following the murders of 35 people by a lone gunman in 1996 in Tasmania.

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