Sam Dastyari quits, but will be given second chance

Labor senator Sam Dastyari has resigned from Labor’s frontbench after mounting criticism on the payments he received from a Chinese-linked

Labor senator Sam Dastyari has resigned from Labor’s frontbench after mounting criticism on the payments he received from a Chinese-linked company.

Senator Dastyari was the manager of opposition business in the Senate and spokesman for consumer affairs. He will now sit on the backbench of the Upper House.

On Tuesday he apologised for allowing the company to pay off a $1,600 travel debt he owed to the Commonwealth, saying that accepting the donation was “within the rules but it was wrong”.

“I made a mistake and I am paying the price for that mistake,” he said.

“I fell short of the duty I owe to the people I am so proud to represent. I accept that and I’m here to make it clear I accept the consequences.”

At the time, Senator Dastyari said he had not offered nor had he been asked for a resignation.

But on Wednesday, he said he did not want the controversy surrounding the donations to distract from Labor’s attacks on the Coalition’s policy.

“The last thing a Government as bad and divided as this one deserves is a free pass,” he said.

“I refuse to be the reason they escape proper scrutiny.”

The resignation follows mounting attacks from Government MPs calling on Senator Dastyari to resign. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had asked whether Senator Dastyari’s reported divergence from Labor’s policy on the South China Sea was because of the donation from the Chinese-linked company.

The Senator said no donors had asked for anything in exchange for the funds, but despite repeated questioning, he has not explained why he decided to ask Top Education to cover his bill.

“No-one has ever asked for anything in return, nor would I have done anything in return,” he said.

Mr Shorten has confirmed he accepted the resignation.

“It’s the measure of the man that he can stand up, admit he got it wrong and accept the consequences,” Mr Shorten said in a statement.

“Sam is a young bloke with a bright future ahead of him. He has a lot more to offer Labor and Australia. I’m confident he will continue to make a strong contribution to my team and continue standing up for the things that matter to all Australians — good jobs, good schools, and protecting Medicare.”

Shadow finance minister Andrew Leigh said it was possible Senator Dastyari could eventually make a comeback.

“Of course he should have a second chance,” Mr Leigh said.

“I think Sam has paid a heavy price for what he did, but he’s somebody who has a unique ability to cut through. If the rule in Australia is that any mistake is a hanging error, then we’re going to end up with a much more boring Parliament.”

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon said Senator Dastyari had done the right thing by resigning.

“He needs to probably spend a bit of time in the so-called political wilderness before he bounces back,” he told the ABC.

Treasurer Scott Morrison was quick to attack Mr Shorten’s support of Mr Dastyari.

“Who’ve would’ve thought that Sam Dastyari had higher standards than Bill Shorten,” he said.

“I mean, it’s Sam Dastyari who’s taken the decision today, it was Bill Shorten who was continuing to defend him.”

Senator Dastyari said he would remain in Federal Parliament. It remains unclear who will take over from Senator Dastyari as manager of opposition business in the Senate or as shadow minister for consumer affairs.

Share your thoughts below.

  1. Trevor  

    They wonder why voters are turning away from the major parties.They are selling Australia out to the one with the most money.Look into the history of the Roman Empire this is history all over again

  2. Phil Spencer  

    I think that the Liberal Party is using this as an excuse not to do the job they were elected to do and that is to govern, instead they want to throw muck. Lets face it ALL political parties and politicians would be guilty of accepting donations, the Royal Commissions in NSW into the Liberal Party’s donations are a good example ………. People in Glass Houses Should Not Throw Stones.
    Karma has already come and bitten them on the bum, Leadership change (Rud/Guillard), Minority Parliament (rerun of the second term of Guillard). Now watch as Karma strikes again, this is not over the next to fall will be a Liberal frontbencher! They are ALL guilty! Australia deserves better from her politicians.

    • Pamela  

      This was NOT a political party donation!

      It was a PERSONAL donation to this traitor for his PERSONAL bills!

      BIG difference!

  3. colin  

    meanwhile certain LIBERALS are still wearing the Rolexes they were given.. at the back , SAM D will be able to be a real attack dog. Julie Bishop had a $500k donation . That Barnaby Joyce in cohorts with Reinhart, has taken numerous helicopter rides courtesy of foreign companies…

  4. Stephen  

    On what level of integrity do the Liberals get to attack someone over accepting back door monetary value. These attacks on Senator Dastyari just show the complete hypocrisy of Turnball and Co.
    All they are doing is drawing attention away from the commission findings of similar activity on a much larger and more corrupt scale of the NSW Liberal Party that Turnball claims to know nothing about; which given his position and political clout, means he is lying or a blind incompetent fool. The more noise they produce over this issue, the lower they become as dignified humans, and the closer they become to the brown stuff dribbling between their lips.

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