Dastyari’s Image Rehabilitation Enters Second Phase

The Labor Party were never going to just let him go down for good.


At Pop & Locke we previously covered the mainstream media’s attempt to turn the treasonous Labor Senator Sam Dastyari into a fun consumable cultural icon for the whole family to enjoy back in August 2018.

Sam Dastyari appears as Stellar's cover star today. Stellar 12 August, Sam Dastyari - photography by Daniel Nadel

That attempt consisted of soft profiles and a sob story of a nebulous mental health condition (It’s the modern world Sam, everyone has depression/anxiety.) and quotable phrases that I swear were ripped from my diary when I was a 14 year old Emo. Oh and also relationships where votes are exchanged for foreign powers are just a totally normal part of politics (To be fair, I believe that’s true in the current state of things but that doesn’t make it not treason).

Former drug-seasoned party boy; Baby-Faced; self-loathing; Caught up in someone else’s machine. How could we hate this poor 34-year old man boy when he “would love to stop hating himself?” (You’re actually supposed to feel depressed when you sell your country out to hostile foreign powers. That’s the reasonable part of Sam’s attention-driven brain trying to breathe through the layers of personality disorder.)

Now, the second phase begins with a reality television appearance where we’ll really get to know Sam as he “confronts his demons” on wine-mum favourite I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!. The Age wrote a piece this week ensuring us he is not softening his image up for a return at an opportune moment: “I’m not looking for forgiveness or acceptance from the Australian public, I just want to spend a day not hating myself so much.” That’s right, he is really repeating the same lines from four months ago. This is just how stupid he thinks you are.

The disgraced politician is headed to the jungle.
Look at this totally average and not at all treacherous dinky-di Aussie bloke ha ha!

He told The Age he accepted the invitation to the show simply to make his daughter (Hannah, whose name he made sure to mention so you can really visualise her for bonus sympathy) proud. “[soon] Hannah will be old enough to read the internet and read all the bad decisions I’ve made in the past, but I hope she will see the other things out there and if that means eating a spider or lying in a snake pit then so be it, I see this opportunity as a way with dealing with things – and nothing can be worse than what’s going on inside my head.”

Nothing to see here, Australian public! Just an average Aussie bloke wallowing in self-loathing and becoming a household name eating insects on reality television! He’s just like you pitiful working class battlers!

Why Fairfax thought he was worthy of his own feature article I’ll leave for you to speculate, but even The Age’s generally left-leaning audience weren’t having a bar of it:

Some of you Fairfax readers are alright.

Dastyari attempted to weasel his way back into the spotlight as a TV presenter late last year with a show called Disgrace! A seemingly self-referential panel show about high-profile scandals and downfalls. Its debut episode, promoted as part of his August media profiles, was beaten by a repeat of the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

Skit Happens quickly shed viewers, giving Disgrace a weak lead-in audience.
This is the text message Sam Dastyari sent to his friends, including former Labor colleagues.

He even used his lobbying skills and connections to try and get the show renewed.

What you have to understand about the obsession with resurrecting Dastyari is that the Labor Party were never going to just let him go down for good. As the youngest ever General Secretary of NSW Labor, ABC described his downfall as “the Senate career that promised so much”. On the day he quit the Senate, the far-left dumpster fire that is The Guardian softened his landing by calling the outrage at his treason “a circus”. The reality is Labor only cut ties with him because they had to. Once the public and the few committed investigative journalists remaining in the media were sniffing around the Labor-China connection, Dastyari was “detracting from Labor’s mission”.

Additionally, Dastyari has a deep web of powerful political and media connections. His father-in-law is “legendary Labor insider” Peter Barron, who is also close to Graham Richardson, a senior minister in the Hawke and Keating governments and a regular commentator for Sky News since retiring from politics. Dastyari even ran current Labor leader (and likely next Prime Minister) Bill Shorten’s campaign to become party leader. Kaila Murnain, secretary of the NSW state branch of the ALP, even told Sky News that Dastyari should “continue to play a role” in the branch’s affairs. “Sam, if you’re watching, we do want you back,” she said.

There is also the power of Chinese businessmen over both state and federal Labor parties and the investment they have made in him.

“Dastyari still has a future, if not as an parliamentarian then clearly as a lobbyist. His political ties remain in place, ready to be reactivated for any number of purposes.

Connectedness is still there.”

Stephen Holt, Sydney Morning Herald.

It should be obvious that most of the public have enough sense to despise Dastyari and resist his desparate ambitions for political and media influence. Unfortunately, a large enough segment of the public can be distracted and even won over by performances on reality television. And media and political players, especially the ones in the Chinese Communist Party, are always playing the long game. I expect to be writing a third article like this within the next 12 months.

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