Sam Dastyari has been forced to break his silence on yesterday’s twin revelations. Not only was it revealed that during a meeting with Chinese businessman Huang Xiangmo at his Mosman home in October where he tipped off Mr Huang that his phone was likely being bugged by ASIO and that they should leave their phones in the house and speak outside. Then later in the day audio was released of press conference Dastyari held with Huang before the 2016 federal election for Chinese state media where he contradicted both Labor and Government policy on the South China Sea. Huang has been suspected by our security agencies of being close to the Chinese Communist Party.
The statement was made at 3pm today and was not done voluntary as the Government used its numbers in the Senate to force Dastyari to make a statement. Before making his statement he complained that he had not been given enough time. He had already made a brief statement earlier to the Senate to inform the chamber he had resigned as Deputy Senate Whip. He he had be appointed to this position by the Labor Party no less than five months after he had resigned after the first wave of revelations over his relationship with Huang Xiangmo.
During his statement Dastyari claimed his relationship with Huang, the press conference and donation were already a matter of public record. However he did not address at all the fact he tipped off Huang his phone was being bugged, all he said was he did have a meeting with Huang where he claimed he ended his relationship with him. This begs the question if that is all the meeting was about why did Dastyari feel it was a conversation he was afraid of Australian security agencies hearing?
The reason why the leaked audio is still a matter of significance is because Dastyari led us to believe that if he did contradict Labor policy it was an ill-considered unscripted statement. The audio revealed that was untrue as it was a carefully scripted statement where Dastyari clearly communicated to the Chinese state media that they held sovereignty in the South China Sea.
He claimed that his relationship with Mr Huang was only part of Labor community outreach to Australia’s Chinese community which should be expected in a multicultural nation such as Australia.
The fact that Dastyari has been given multiple chances by the Labor Party and still survives as a Senator has bewildered many people, nobody should be so powerful in a party that they can survive undermining Australia’s national interest and our security agencies and still is a place for them in a future Australian Government.
The Labor Party has put Dastyari into political witness protection as he has not been present in the chamber all day except to make his statements, his always active social media pages have been silent. A planned fundraiser with Dastyari and Labor candidate for the upcoming by election in Bennelong Kristina Kennelly has disappeared from the internet.
Another reason why Dastyari is being heavily criticized is because he takes the moral high ground with his political adversaries such as Pauline Hanson and the Australia patriot movement and virtue signals on the social justice issues of the day claiming to have a heart of gold.
All the indications from Labor is that Dastyari will just be put into the sinbin again and they will bring him back to the frontbench when they think the Australian people and the media have forgotten about it. Maybe they think if Dastyari pulls a few more stunts and makes some more quirky videos he will be beloved again.
During a time when the Australian people are questioning the integrity of our politicians and their commitment to Australia’s interest more than ever, Dastyari’s actions will not be forgotten by the voters anytime soon.