PEKING SCHMUCK PROBE
SAM Dastyari faces an inquiry by the powerful privileges committee into whether he was paid by China to act as their political stooge in Canberra.
It comes after The Daily Telegraph yesterday revealed the Labor senator had asked 115 parliamentary questions in three years representing Chinese interests.
Attorney-General George Brandis was last night granted permission to refer Mr Dastyari to the privileges committee — which can imprison for up to six months. The motion will be moved on the first day of the Senate’s return next year.
Security analysts and exspooks yesterday warned his hounding of Defence officials with questions over China had “the hallmarks of a long-term cultivation”.
THE Turnbull government has moved to refer Sam Dastyari to the powerful privileges committee to investigate whether he has used his time in Parliament to act as an agent for the Chinese Government in return for taking money from them.
Attorney-General George Brandis was last night granted permission from the Senate President to refer Mr Dastyari to the privileges committee, which has the power to imprison someone for up to six months, after revelations in The Daily Telegraph about the extent of questions on China to senior public servants.
Mr Brandis’ motion asks the committee to investigate: “Whether the conduct of Senator Dastyari in accepting funds from private entities, including the Yuhu Group and the Top Education Institute and proceeding to ask questions of public servants which appeared to represent the views of the People’s Republic of China on foreign policy and defence matters constitutes a contempt of the Senate.”
The motion will be moved to refer Mr Dastyari on the first day of the Senate’s return next year.
It comes as security analysts and former spooks warned that the senator’s hounding of top Defence officials with questions representing China’s concerns more than one hundred times “has all the hallmarks of a longterm cultivation”. The Labor senator grilled Defence Department secretary Dennis Richardson and former DFAT secretary Peter Varghese 115 times in three years, echoing the policy position of the Chinese government. Former Defence Department deputy secretary Peter Jennings, now the Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director, said he had looked “very closely” at Mr Dastyari’s questions in Senate committees and his other statements in the Senate. “It is eerie how closely they channel lines of comment that we get from Chinese sources,” he said. Three former intelligence officials also flagged serious concerns about those questions. “The behaviour of Senator Dastyari has all the hallmarks of a long-term cultivation,” one said. “Vintage recruitment strategy involves a subject not knowing they are in over their head until they can’t feel the bottom anymore.” Another said: “Senator Dastyari has clearly abdicated his responsibility to Australia by advocating a foreign power’s policies.”
How we broke the story.