Today host surprised by shock Hanson admission
PAULINE Hanson has refused to back down over her claim that the damning Al Jazeera documentary was a sting.
In a fiery interview with Today hosts described as "extraordinary", the embattled One Nation leader was directly asked if she would apologise to the Port Arthur victims after footage emerged of her suggesting the 1996 tragedy was a conspiracy.
"My comments were made at a dinner table, they were not made publicly," Ms Hanson told host Deborah Knight. "This was not my doing to have exposed these comments. It was Al Jazeera and an undercover agent. I'm sorry for these people - I really am. They shouldn't have to go through this again."
She said her "heart goes out" to the families who lost loved ones in the tragedy, but reiterated her claim that Al Jazeera and "foreign interference" were to blame for her remarks.
She also admitted she hadn't watched the documentary.
Today host Tom Steinfort described her admission as "extraordinary stuff".
"You know what jumped out at me is the fact she denies everything and says it's all a conspiracy and then says she hasn't watched the documentary," he said.
HANSON CLAIMS FOOTAGE WAS 'CUT AND SLICED'
Ms Hanson remains in damage control after she appeared to suggest on a hidden camera that the Port Arthur massacre was an inside job.
Earlier in the Today interview, she argued the documentary had been "cut and sliced".
Noting she hadn't actually seen the footage, she said: "I feel this has been dubbed out. It has been cut and pasted so many times."
"We saw your face and the words coming out of your mouth," Knight replied. "It's on tape. You can't deny that those are the words you said."
"I know," replied Ms Hanson.
She stressed she does not want to water down Australia's gun laws, claiming that One Nation's gun law policies are "even stronger" than the new laws passed by New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern in the wake of the Christchurch shootings.
She also denied the premise of the footage - that her party went to Washington to seek funding from America's largest pro-gun organisation.
"The media has portrayed that we went to the NRA for funding. Never the case. They said we wanted to water down the gun laws. Never, ever the case. Even Muller, he was at me that women should carry guns … I said no way, I do not believe in that. It was a sting."
She also described Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a "fool". "He has not really waited to see the full information that's come out … this is a political interference from a foreign government. That needs to be investigated. He's the leader of this nation. If it's happened to us, how many other incidents like this may have happened?"
WATCH: One Nation’s @PaulineHansonOz says she does not support ‘any conspiracy theory’ about the Port Arthur massacre. #theboltreport @SkyNewsAust— The Bolt Report (@theboltreport) March 28, 2019
MORE: https://t.co/hsV68hmnDj pic.twitter.com/0go8NN7P7h
BOOK AT THE CENTRE OF HANSON'S CLAIMS
Asked where her claims in the footage came from, Ms Hanson repeatedly cited a "book".
She could not name the title or author, but said it was "a light blue in colour" and "not very thick".
The One Nation leader said the book was sent to her, but added that if she "really thought (the massacre) was a conspiracy theory", she "had two and a half years on the floor of parliament to have spoken up about it".
The book also got a mention during an interview she gave on The Bolt Report last night.
Asked plainly on The Bolt Report last night who was responsible for the 1996 tragedy, the One Nation leader said: "Martin Bryant. I have no doubt about that whatsoever."
But when pressed further about why she spoke of "precision shots" and alluded to conspiracy theories in the hidden footage, Ms Hanson appeared to reiterate her suggestion in the footage that the Port Arthur massacre was not what it seemed, pointing to the conspiracy book.
"The whole fact is that people were angry about their heirlooms - their guns - being taken away from them. People were telling me their own stories and had their own conspiracy theories," she told host Andrew Bolt. "I had the book sent to me. It was years later that I actually read that book, and thought well, I want to know about Port Arthur, so I read the book. The precision shots, and the MP, that was all in the book."
"But precision shots? There were no precision shots," replied Bolt. "Martin Bryant walked up to people laying there and shot them in the head. That's not a precision shot."
Ms Hanson then echoed one of the main conspiracy theories again, responding: "I saw some pictures of him also, that he was standing … it's only what I saw and what I remember at the time, there were a couple of photos in the book, he wasn't up close to all these people. It's what I read in the book Andrew."
Ms Hanson appears to be referring to a theory among Port Arthur "truthers" that the killer was a trained professional who was employed to commit the massacre as an excuse to change the nation's gun laws.
Several Port Arthur "truther" websites and articles have claimed that Bryant - who was intellectually disabled and had an IQ lower than most 11-year-olds - couldn't have killed 35 people from a distance with no firearms experience.
When Bolt said the name and author of the suspected book and asked Ms Hanson to clarify if it was the same one, she only said: "It was a blue book. It wasn't real thick."
Asked how Al Jazeera undercover reporter Rodger Muller managed to dupe her and her party members, Ms Hanson said she was "gobsmacked".
"Even people that knew Muller believed he was involved with a gun rights associate," she said. "How can this man be around for three years purporting to be something he's not?
"I apologise to the Australian people if they feel I've let them down, but I'm telling you I haven't. My interest is in the Australian people and I always try to be upfront and honest."
Yesterday afternoon, Ms Hanson gave a press conference responding to the damning documentary, claiming her staffers James Ashby and Steve Dickson were "stitched up" by a "foreign agent".
She said the comments captured on camera by Al Jazeera had been taken "completely out of context", called Al Jazeera an "Islamist" organisation and claimed the Qatari government was involved.
"This is Australia's first case of severe political interference from a foreign government," Ms Hanson said.
"Qatar is a government that enforces sharia law, public floggings, genital mutilation and suppression of women.
"This is a political attack by Al Jazeera, in co-operation with the ABC."
She also confirmed Mr Dickson and Mr Ashby would remain in her party, adding that One Nation would "never" accept foreign donations.