Australia

Australian Senate candidate Steve Dickson quits over strip club videos

Pauline Hanson and Steve Dickson Image copyright EPA
Image caption One Nation leader Pauline Hanson (l) has criticised her former candidate Steve Dickson

An Australian Senate candidate at the centre of a gun control controversy has resigned from his party after footage emerged of him touching dancers and making sexist remarks at a strip club.

The videos of Steve Dickson, of the anti-Islam One Nation party, were filmed in the US last year and broadcast on Australian TV on Monday.

Mr Dickson, who had been the minor party's leader in Queensland, apologised for his actions.

Australia will hold an election in May.

In the videos, Mr Dickson can be seen touching dancers and making derogatory comments about Asian women inside the club in Washington DC.

On Tuesday, he said he was "deeply remorseful" and that "the footage shown does not reflect the person I am".

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson accepted his resignation, describing his behaviour as "unacceptable".

However, Mr Dickson's name will remain on ballot papers for the 18 May election because it is too late for parties to announce new candidates.

Gun controversy

Mr Dickson was embroiled in a scandal last month when secret recordings, made by media organisation Al Jazeera, showed him and another senior party official allegedly seeking political donations from US pro-gun groups.

MPs across the political spectrum expressed concerns that One Nation may be seeking to water down Australia's strict control laws, introduced after a mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996 killed 35 people.

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Media captionAustralia election 2019: What's up for grabs?

Ms Hanson, however, has denied that her party is seeking to soften gun laws. One Nation won four seats in the 2016 election but it has since been plagued by defections and infighting.

The footage broadcast by Australia's Nine Network on Monday was recorded during Al Jazeera's investigation. It said Nine had used the footage without its consent.

Ms Hanson criticised the timing of the video's release so close to the election, but said Mr Dickson's actions "cannot be ignored or condoned".

Last month, Mr Dickson accused Al Jazeera of "interfering" with Australian politics by employing an Australian journalist to covertly record him in the US.

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