12 December 2017Hot off the Press
Embattled Labor Senator Sam Dastyari will not return to the Senate in 2018 after fresh allegations of links to China are levelled against him.
In a media conference on Tuesday morning, Mr Dastyari said: “Today, after much reflection, I’ve decided that the best service I can render to the federal parliamentary Labor Party is to not return to the Senate in 2018.”
“I’ve been guided by my Labor values, which tell me that I should leave if my ongoing presence detracts from the pursuit of Labor’s mission. It is evident to me we are at that point, so I will spare the party any further distraction.”
Mr Dastyari says he “remains a loyal, patriotic Australian” and that he will continue as a grassroots member of the Labor Party.
Last year, he stepped down from the Labour frontbench after it was found a company owned by Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo paid a legal bill for his office.
This year, Fairfax reported that during a secret meeting with Mr Huang Xiangmo, Mr Dastyari told the billionaire his phone was probably being monitored by US intelligence agencies.
Reports have emerged the Senator made comments at a Chinese media conference regarding China’s controversial claim on the South China Sea that were contrary to the ALP’s position.
In late November, Labor leader Bill shorten fired Dastyari from his position as deputy Senate whip. Just last week, the Government called on the powerful priviliges committee to review his conduct.
Most recently, Mr Dastyari is facing allegations that he pressured deputy leader of the opposition Tanya Plibersek not to meet a Chinese political activist in Hong Kong.
Bill Shorten has released a statement saying: “Sam Dastyari is a good, decent and loyal Australian, and an effective parliamentarian, but his judgement has let him down and now he has paid the heaviest price.”