Daily News Roundup

March 28, 2019

THURSDAY, March 28

The Liberals will preference One Nation below the Labor Party at the next federal election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement today in the wake of the Al Jazeera undercover investigation into One Nation’s links with a US gun lobby and revelations Pauline Hanson appeared to suggest the 1996 Port Arthur massacre was part of a conspiracy.

Mr Morrison has faced repeated calls for the Coalition to preference One Nation last at the election.

His comments today relate to candidates running under the Liberal banner and it will be for the Nationals, the junior Coalition partner, to decide its own preferences for its candidates.

It remains unclear how the combined Liberal National Party in Queensland will preference One Nation at the election.

The footage, taken as part of the Al Jazeera documentary sting, also revealed senior figures of the party wanted millions of dollars in donations from America’s National Rifle Association and discussed softening its policies on gun ownership as it tried to secure the funding.

The second instalment of the documentary to screen on ABC today shows Senator Hanson discussing Port Arthur with her chief of staff James Ashby and undercover journalist Rodger Muller at a dinner in the central Queensland town of Yeppoon.

“An MP said it would actually take a massacre in Tasmania to change the gun laws in Australia,” she told Mr Muller, who was posing as a gun rights advocate to infiltrate the group.

“Have you heard that? Have a look at it. It was said on the floor of Parliament.

“Those shots, they were precision shots … they didn’t muck around … I read a book on it, on Port Arthur. A lot of questions there.”

Former NSW premier Barry Unsworth was the MP who originally made the statement in the 1980s, and the quote is a popular one among internet conspiracy theorists who believe the killer was set up so Australia would tighten its gun laws.

The recorded comments were met with outrage, with federal Labor MP Brian Mitchell, who represents Port Arthur, saying Senator Hanson was not fit to be in Parliament.

“Pauline Hanson is not fit to represent the Australian public, in the Senate in the Parliament or anywhere,” he said.

“She’s a disgrace, she’s an absolute disgrace and she has no place in the Parliament.

“And I would urge every Australian, young and old, to make sure One Nation’s put last on every ballot paper around the country.”

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A Melbourne CBD train station was shut down when heavily armed police swarmed in looking for an alleged gunman.

But it was a mistake. The supposed gunman was a busker carrying his instrument in a duffle bag.

Heavily-armed police swooped on Flagstaff station and evacuated it about 8.30am, with distressed passengers forced to rush out of the underground platforms.

The man’s bag was later described as a sports duffel bag that looks “nothing like” a gun bag.

“He was a local busker who was there to play an instrument in town,” Inspector Jacob Bugeja told reporters.

“There was a bag that the person was carrying and he had his tools to busk with him.”

The man was doing breathing exercises on the train when he aroused suspicion, but police spoke to him about 20 minutes later in the city to confirm he did not have a weapon.

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Prince William will visit Christchurch late next month to honour the victims of the Christchurch mosque terror attacks.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the visit, which follows the attacks that left 50 people dead and another 50 wounded after a gunman opened fire on two mosques on March 15.

“I’m really pleased that he can make a short visit to support those affected by the attack and pay tribute to the extraordinary compassion and solidarity that New Zealanders have displayed in recent weeks,” Ms Ardern said in a statement.

A national memorial service is being held in Christchurch on Friday, but the Duke of Cambridge’s visit, on behalf of the Queen, won’t be until April.

“I am mindful that the trauma in Christchurch will last long after the National Remembrance Service this week,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“I’m sure all New Zealanders but especially the Muslim community of Christchurch will appreciate seeing the compassion and support, that has been so tangibly demonstrated since the attack, continue into the future.

Prince William visited Christchurch in March 2011 following a deadly earthquake that cost the lives of 185 people.

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