SYDNEY: The head of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) has sacked Labor senator Sam Dastyari from his post as deputy senate whip and senate committee chair, said ABC News on Thursday (Nov 30).
The report said Bill Shorten spoke to Dastyari over the phone on Wednesday, asking him to resign over renewed conflict regarding comments he made on the South China Sea. The government is also demanding that Dastyari quit parliament.
The report added that Dastyari is “resisting those demands” but has accepted that new information about his actions has cost him two roles.
An audio recording emerged on Wednesday of Dastyari speaking during the 2016 federal election campaign, where he gave a detailed defence of China’s policy in the South China Sea, in defiance of official ALP policy.
Dastyari was also shown standing next to a wealthy Chinese businessman and ALP donor.
“It is not a decision I took lightly,” Shorten said. “I told Senator Dastyari that his mischaracterisation of how he came to make comments contradicting Labor policy made his position untenable.
“I also told him that while I accept his word that he never had, nor disclosed, any classified information, his handling of these matters showed a lack of judgment.”
The recording showed that Dastyari went on to back the Chinese government’s refusal to abide by international court rulings on the South China Sea, stating that: “The Chinese integrity of its borders is a matter for China”.
Dastyari had already quit the ALP frontbench last year, partly due to reports in Chinese media that he had contradicted ALP policy. He also admitted at the time that Chinese businessman Huang Xiangmo paid a legal bill for him.