Labor Senator Sam Dastyari has announced his resignation from the Senate following a tumultuous week in Canberra.
Dastyari was under pressure to step down after revelations about his links to China. Fairfax media released a secret recording of the Senator backing Beijing’s South China Sea policy, in opposition to Labor’s stance on the issue; they later revealed he had warned a Chinese community leader that he may be under surveillance.
“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,” he told reporters at a media conference in Sydney today, the ABC reports.
“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.”
Dastyari said he was a patriotic Australian and would continue to serve Labor as a grassroots member.
It’s not the first time the embattled Senator has faced questions over his links to China. In 2016, Fairfax revealed he had allowed Chinese businessmen to pay for some of his travel and legal bills.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten fired Dastyari from his position as Senate whip and Senate committee chair in November and was facing increasing pressure to dump the 34-year-old from the party.
Shorten chided Dastyari after his comments about the South China Sea were made public, saying he “lacked judgement”, but believed he would “learn from the experience”.
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