politics

Pauline Hanson has refused to aplogise to Port Arthur victims' families for her conspiracy suggestion.

Pauline Hanson has refused to take responsibility for the offensive comments she made suggesting the Port Arthur massacre was a conspiracy.

In an interview with Today show host Deb Knight that she sat down for right after her defiant press conference on Thursday, the One Nation leader said she felt “sorry” for victims of the shooting’s families, but fell short of apologising to them.

During that press conference, Hanson addressed her comments aired in the documentary How To Sell A Massacre, in which an undercover journalist recorded her saying there were “a lot of questions” surrounding the 1996 tragedy.

“There are comments that have been aired in relation to Port Arthur that are obviously heavily edited and do not reflect about how I feel about those tragedies that occurred in 1996,” she told the media on Thursday.

“There is no question in my mind that Martin Bryant was the only person responsible for the murders of 35 innocent lives. My belief stands today that he should have faced the death penalty.”

Video via Nine News

During her interview with the politician, which aired Friday morning, Knight asked Hanson what she would say, in particular, to Walter Mikac, who lost his wife and two daughters in the shooting.

The 64-year-old first said that her “heart goes out to” him and other victims.

“I could never imagine what it’s like to lose your whole family like that, I really can’t and under those horrific circumstances,” she continued.

However, she revealed that the person she blames for any hurt her comments caused was not herself, but the Al Jazeera journalist Roger Muller, who filmed the documentary.

“To this poor man, these people that are going through it because this has been dragged out by Al Jazeera for this to – to go through the experience again, I’m sure this is the way it feels to them.”

Knight then asked if Hanson wanted to apologise to the victims in “any way, shape or form” for her comments.

“My comments were made at a dinner table, never made publicly. This is not my doing to have exposed this my comments. It was Al Jazeera and an undercover agent,” Hanson replied.

“I’m sorry for these people. I really am sorry for them. They shouldn’t have to go through this again.”

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Earlier in the interview, Hanson reiterated her position that her words had been taken out of context – despite admitting that he hadn’t watched the documentary in full, only the parts that have been “portrayed by the media”.

“They have cut and pasted the questions and the answers I have given. I felt that myself in today what was released with my comments and if you really have a look at it I have looked at parts of there,” she said.

“What I know from that I don’t see his face or lips moving. I feel this has been dubbed out, it has been cut and pasted so much times.”

Knight, however, was having none of it.

“We saw your face and the words coming out of your mouth. It’s on tape. You can’t deny they are the words you said,” the Today host told Hanson.

Hanson, however, attempted to explain that the journalist had badgered her with questions to get the answer he wanted.

“That night there was five of us sitting at the table and there was a young fellow who doesn’t drink, so he wasn’t – he hadn’t been drinking whatsoever,” she said.

“He could not believe Muller, he kept asking me questions then he would give a break then come back to the same question, he said a lot of things, until he got the answer that he wanted.

“It’s how the question was put across. There’s no denying that was cut and spliced.”

Hanson also further denied that she believed that the government was somehow involved in the Port Arthur shooting.

“If I really believed that, of course I have always spoken my mind, when I got into parliament I was only in there a month and the massacre happened just after that, if I really thought ‘na it was a conspiracy theory; I had two and a half years on the floor of Parliament to have spoken up and said that.”

Hanson also seemed surprised that her comments had emboldened others to reiterate the incorrect belief that the massacre was a conspiracy on social media.

However, she had a clear message for them: “I say to the people it cannot be a government conspiracy.”

Also in the interview, Hanson defended James Ashby and Steve Dickson, who were caught suggesting they could weaken Australia’s gun laws in exchange for funding from America’s NRA. And she denied wanting to weaken Australia’s gun laws.

“I’m in a position now if I wanted to I could have had watered down gun laws. I don’t. I have one of the strongest gun law policies in the strongest gun law policies in the country that is acknowledged by a lot of gun organisations. They believe we have got it right.”

“That even it is stronger than the new gun laws that the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wants to bring into New Zealand mine are stronger than that.”

After the interview aired, Knight commented that Hanson “has come out firing”.

“She is on the offensive and is not accepting any blame or responsibility.”

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