CANBERRA, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged voters to abandon the right-wing One Nation party in May's general election.
Morrison, leader of the governing Liberal-National Party Coalition (LNP), issued an appeal to voters who have drifted from his own party to One Nation because of "frustrations on a whole range of issues," inviting them to vote for a "party of government" in May.
Morrison is under pressure from his party to take a stand against One Nation after the party was caught attempting to undermine Australia's strict gun control policies.
"I know that people who have voted for One Nation in the past have done so because of frustrations on a whole range of issues ... managing the population, ensuring that our regions have jobs, that we're dealing with water infrastructure and we're supporting our farmers going through drought," he told reporters on Tuesday night.
"The answer is not One Nation. The answer is not to go to those extremes. The answer is the Liberal and National parties of this country."
International news network Al Jazeera on Monday night published footage from a three-year undercover investigation of high-ranking One Nation officials James Ashby and Steve Dickson meeting with America's National Rifle Association (NRA).
The footage shows Ashby and Dickson seeking up to 20 million Australian dollars from the NRA and Koch Industries to fund a campaign opposing gun control in Australia.
Responding to the allegations on Tuesday night, Ashby and Dickson said they got carried away while drinking with Rodger Muller, an Al Jazeera journalist who was posing as a gun lobbyist, in Washington.
Their version of events has been disputed by Peter Charley, the executive producer of Al Jazeera's Washington Investigative Unit.
"In a meeting at One Nation's Brisbane headquarters, Mr Dickson made clear the party's intentions to increase its power within Australia with the use of U.S. gun lobby cash," he wrote in a story published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Wednesday.
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard introduced Australia's strict gun control laws after Martin Bryant killed 35 people with a semi-automatic rifle in Port Arthur in 1996.
Howard told News Corp Australia on Wednesday that he supported Morrison's call for voters to abandon One Nation.