It’s been one scandal after another for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation — a right-wing, anti-Muslim Australian political party that won four Senate seats in 2016.
Last month, Al Jazeera released an investigation that appeared to show two One Nation politicians on a trip to Washington, D.C., asking for large donations from the U.S. National Rifle Association (NRA). After the footage aired, the politicians, including Senate candidate Steve Dickson, claimed that the comments were taken out of context and that they had been drinking. Hanson, who founded the party, stood by them.
But then, on Monday, Australia’s Nine Network aired further footage of Dickson’s already controversial trip to the District.
This time, it showed him repeatedly touching a dancer at a strip club and making disparaging comments about women, and Asian women in particular. The news network said the footage was filmed by Al Jazeera but leaked to its program, “A Current Affair.” The Associated Press reported that Al Jazeera said in a statement that it “did not consider it in the public interest to broadcast the material” and condemned its “unauthorized use” this week.
But the footage ruffled enough feathers in Australia to force Dickson out of the upcoming elections, set to take place May 18.
“We stand by the story and Mr. Dickson’s resignation this morning highlights the public interest in broadcasting the footage,” said Nine Network in a statement, according to the Associated Press.
Hanson called his language and behavior “unacceptable” and announced that Dickson would step out of the race.
“I’m upset with this, Steve is a family man,” she said, according to Australian Broadcasting Corp. “I wouldn’t tolerate my own children behaving this way towards women and I cannot and will not condone my own candidates dealing with women in this fashion either.”
In an interview with “A Current Affair,” Hanson broke down in tears discussing recent scandals within her party.
“I just feel I keep getting kicked in the guts, time and time again,” she said, claiming that the release of the footage “was a sting three years in the making to discredit One Nation and pull us down.” The earlier footage of Dickson and his One Nation colleague James Ashby apparently seeking gun lobby money was not well-received in Australia, where tough gun laws were imposed after a 1996 mass shooting.
After that footage aired, Dickson told reporters that their meetings were “not about sourcing money from the NRA.”
“This was about sourcing technology, sourcing an understanding of how they operate, but never was it about seeking $20 million from the NRA,” he said.
At the time, NRA Director of Public Affairs Jennifer Baker told The Washington Post in an emailed statement that “representatives of the state-owned anti-gun Al Jazeera network, fraudulently disguised as members of a group called ‘Gun Rights Australia,’ set up meetings with NRA employees and brought members of an Australian political party to those meetings.”
The NRA has never contributed “funding to any Australian political party or Gun Rights Australia,” she said.
Still, Prime Minister Scott Morrison accused One Nation of trying “to sell Australia’s gun laws to the highest bidders, to a foreign buyer, and I find that abhorrent.”
Then came the next round of footage.
This time, Dickson said in a statement that he “found the [strip club] footage difficult to watch as my words and actions under intoxication and in that environment, are not a true reflection of myself.”
Dickson’s campaign website said that he enjoys “liaising with people from all walks of life and believe family and community are two of our most important assets.” It also states that he lived in the Philippines as a teenager. In the footage aired Monday, Dickson appears to reference his time in the Philippines, saying that he enjoyed the strip clubs there.