Labor Senator Sam Dastyari has stepped down

LABOR Senator Sam Dastyari has stepped down from the front bench after becoming embroiled in a scandal involving Chinese political donors. 

Dastyari fronted the media in Sydney at 5.50pm and said he would be steeping aside from his Party's front bench but was: "still keen to help in any capacity."

"What I did was within the rules, but it was wrong,'' he said.

"I'm not a shy person, I've never been afraid of the spotlight, but in the past week it's clear that the ongoing exam of my behaviour is taking the attention away from bigger issues facing Australians.

"It is clear to me now that this has become a distraction."

Dastyari reportedly sent a bill incurred when exceeded his government paid travel entitlements to the Top Education Institute - a company that has strong links to the Chinese Government.

In another instance in March 2015, Fairfax Media revealed the China-based Yuhu Group paid $5000 worth of legal fees for Senator Dastyari when he was the general secretary of the NSW branch of the Labor Party. 

And News Corp reported on Sunday two bottles of wine Dastyari received in 2013 were in fact $700 a pop Penfolds Grange Hermitage - again gifted to him by the Chinese Yuhu Group.

Then on June 16 this year Dastyari is reported as saying: "The South China Sea is China's own affair, Australia should remain neutral and respect China on this matter".

The statement places Dastyari out of step with Australia's foreign policy and the official line of the ALP of which Dastyari is a member. 

However yesterday afternoon Dastyari said he could not: " "be held directly to words that were held at a press conference that I don't have a transcription of in front of me".



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