Dast­yari de­par­ture an op­por­tu­nity for WA MPs

Pilbara News - - News - Andrew Til­lett

The res­ig­na­tion of La­bor sen­a­tor Sam Dast­yari opens the door for Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten to pro­mote a West Aus­tralian, such as rookie Perth MP Tim Ham­mond, to the front­bench to cor­rect the State’s lack of rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the shadow min­istry.

Sen­a­tor Dast­yari came un­der fire over rev­e­la­tions he asked the Syd­ney-based Top Ed­u­ca­tion In­sti­tute last year to pay a $1670 travel debt.

The in­sti­tute is owned by Chi­nese busi­ness­man Min­shen Zhu, who has close links to China’s com­mu­nist regime.

Sen­a­tor Dast­yari’s pe­cu­niary in­ter­est reg­is­ter also dis­closed an­other Chi­nese bene­fac­tor, Huang Xiangmo, had paid for trips to China and pro­vided about $5000 for a le­gal set­tle­ment.

The Govern­ment ac­cused Sen­a­tor Dast­yari of “cash for com­ment” over Chi­nese re­ports quot­ing him say­ing Aus­tralia should respect Bei­jing’s po­si­tion on South China Sea ter­ri­to­rial claims, putting him at odds with Govern­ment and La­bor pol­icy.

He has tried to defuse the con­tro­versy by apol­o­gis­ing for ask­ing the in­sti­tute to pay the bill and sug­gest­ing he had mis­spo­ken or been mis­quoted on the South China Sea.

Sen­a­tor Dast­yari, 33, had the rel­a­tively ju­nior job as con­sumer af­fairs spokesman but was man­ager of Op­po­si­tion busi­ness in the Sen­ate, a key role in deal­ing with the frac­tious cross­bench.

He is also a fac­tional chief in the La­bor Right and cru­cial to Mr Shorten’s lead­er­ship.

Mr Shorten said Sen­a­tor Dast­yari had a bright future ahead of him and more to of­fer La­bor.

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