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Sam Dastyari (born Sahand Dastyari, Persian: سهند دستیاری‎; born 28 July 1983) is an Australian former politician, who from 2013 to 2018 represented New South Wales in the Australian Senate as a member of the Australian Labor Party. Dastyari was previously General Secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Labor Party.[6] He was the first person of Iranian origin to sit in the Australian Parliament.[7] As a Senator, Dastyari was the subject of a Chinese-related donations scandal, which eventually led to his resignation from the Senate on 25 January 2018.[8]

Sam Dastyari
Senator Sam Dastyari March 2014.jpg
Dastyari at the Sydney Mardi Gras in 2014
Senator for New South Wales
In office
21 August 2013 – 25 January 2018
Preceded byMatt Thistlethwaite
Succeeded byKristina Keneally
General Secretary of the Labor Party
in New South Wales
In office
17 July 2010 – 21 August 2013
LeaderKristina Keneally
John Robertson
Preceded byMatt Thistlethwaite
Succeeded byJamie Clements
Deputy Opposition Whip in the Senate
In office
3 February 2017 – 30 November 2017
LeaderPenny Wong
Chief WhipAnne Urquhart
Preceded byCatryna Bilyk
Manager of Opposition Business
in the Senate
In office
23 July 2016 – 7 September 2016
DeputyKaty Gallagher
LeaderPenny Wong
Preceded byClaire Moore
Succeeded byKaty Gallagher
Personal details
Born
Sahand Dastyari

(1983-07-28) 28 July 1983 (age 35)
Sari, Mazandaran Province, Iran
NationalityAustralian, Iranian
Political partyLabor Party
Spouse(s)
Helen Barron
(m. 2010)
Children2
ResidenceRussell Lea, New South Wales, Australia
EducationBaulkham Hills High School
Alma materUniversity of Sydney
Macquarie University
ProfessionMedia Commentator[1]
[2][3][4][5]

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Sari, Mazandaran Province, Iran[4] to an ethnic Azeri father and Mazanderani mother, Dastyari arrived in Australia at age four in January 1988.[9] His parents were student activists in the 1979 Iranian revolution.[3]

Dastyari attended John Purchase Public School in Cherrybrook, joined the Australian Labor Party at age sixteen [10] and was vice-captain at Baulkham Hills High School.[11] Dastyari dropped out of a Bachelor of Economics / Bachelor of Laws course at the University of Sydney [5] due to being "so caught up in the movement and student politics".[5] He went on to become President of Australian Young Labor[4] and later studied part-time at Macquarie University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics.[5]

Political career, 2010–2018Edit

Early career (2010–2013)Edit

In March 2010, Dastyari was elected as General Secretary of NSW Labor with the support of the Transport Workers' Union (TWU), the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), and the Australian Workers Union (AWU).[3]

Australian Senate (2013–2018)Edit

On 21 August 2013, a joint sitting of the Parliament of New South Wales appointed Dastyari to the Senate seat vacated by Matt Thistlethwaite, who had resigned to contest a House of Representatives seat at the 2013 federal election.[12]

Dastyari was an Iranian citizen at birth. He previously applied to renounce Iranian citizenship in order to take the "reasonable steps" required to comply with section 44 of the Constitution of Australia. Dastyari did not complete the compulsory military service required to renounce citizenship under Iranian law, but stated that the Iranian government's issuance of a tourist visa to him acknowledged that he was no longer an Iranian citizen.[13][14]

In October 2015, the retirements of Bernie Ripoll and Jan McLucas from the shadow ministry caused a reshuffle, and Dastyari became Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition, and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Youth.

After Labor's defeat at the 2016 election, Dastyari was promoted to the shadow outer ministry becoming Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate, and spokesman for consumer affairs. Dastyari resigned from the positions following a scandal over payments and gifts from Chinese companies.[15][16] He was later appointed Deputy Opposition Whip in the Senate. Dastyari formally submitted his resignation from the Senate on 25 January 2018.[8]

Chinese influence scandalEdit

In September 2016, Dastyari resigned as Manager of Opposition Business and Consumer Affairs Spokesman after reports emerged that he had asked a donor with links to the Chinese Communist Party to pay a travel bill.[17] It was revealed that Dastyari had asked a Chinese company, Top Education Institute to cover a travel expense. Yuhu, another Chinese company, paid an undisclosed settlement agreement for Dastyari when he was being sued for more than $40,000 plus costs.[17] It later emerged that the settlement figure was around $44,000 [18]

Dastyari spoke at Chinese-language press conferences and was at odds with the Australian government's policy on the South China Sea. Malcolm Turnbull, then Prime Minister, accused him of accepting money in exchange for supporting China in its South China Sea territorial disputes.[19] The uproar over Dastyari's actions was seen by The Economist as a sign of the changing mood among Australians regarding Chinese investment.[20] Initially, Dastyari attempted to defuse the situation by offering the money he had received to a charity; however, the charity refused to accept the donation. As a result of this controversy, on 7 September 2016 Dastyari resigned from his shadow frontbench position as Manager of Opposition Business and spokesman for consumer affairs, and returned to the backbench.[15]

In 2017, following reports that Dastyari contradicted Labor's policy on the South China Sea territorial dispute and offered counter-surveillance advice to the Chinese donor in question, Huang Xiangmo, he was removed from his roles as Senate Deputy Opposition Whip and Senate Committee chair.[21] Media reports also stated that Dastyari had told the donor, Huang Xiangmo, that his phones were likely being tapped by intelligence agencies and that they should leave their phones inside and speak outside to avoid being overheard.[22] Party leader Bill Shorten stripped Dastyari of his role as Deputy Opposition Whip the next day, amid calls from Prime Minister Turnbull and the Government for Dastyari to stand down from the Senate.[23] In December 2017, reports emerged that in 2015 he attempted to persuade Labor's foreign affairs spokesperson, Tanya Plibersek, to cancel a meeting with a member of Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp.[24]

On 12 December 2017, Dastyari announced that he would be resigning from the Senate prior to the 2018 parliamentary year.[25] His decision not to resign with immediate effect attracted some criticism, partly because it would allow him to continue earning a Senator's salary.[26] He formally submitted his resignation to the President of the Senate on 25 January 2018.[8]

Ross Babbage, former head of strategic analysis at the Office of National Assessments, described Dastyari as an "agent of influence" and part of China's aim to build local support for its policy positions around the world.[27] As a result of the scandal, Dastyari was the subject of petitions with thousands of signatures calling for him to be charged with treason.[27]

Domestic policiesEdit

Banking royal commissionEdit

In 2014, Dastyari called for a royal commission into the banking and financial services sector.[28] A number of scandals involving some companies increased pressure on the Federal Government to establish a royal commission with Labor promising to establish a royal commission should it win the 2016 federal election.[29]

As Chair of the Senate Economics Committee, Dastyari instigated the inquiries into financial practices, and led questioning of the big four banks regarding a string of financial advice scandals.[30] He continued to push for a more substantial royal commission and vigorously pursued the banks when in office. He worked with Senate crossbenchers in 2017 to establish a powerful Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into Australia's big banks, putting more pressure on the Federal Government to establish a royal commission.[31] The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was established in December 2017 after years of public pressure.[32]

Multinational tax avoidanceEdit

On the issue of multinational tax avoidance, Dastyari led an inquiry in 2015 to examine whether some companies were running an international tax avoidance structure. He called for the Federal Government to do more to counter corporate tax avoidance.[33] Dastyari made a video starring his kids to explain tax avoidance using the currency of lollies.[34]

Political viewsEdit

In 2012, at a dinner to promote multiculturalism and "bring Muslims and others together to learn and understand each other’s culture and religious significance", Dastyari said "Labor core values are similar to Islamic social value such as equal justice and respect for everyone".[35]

In 2016, Dastyari claimed that ten companies wield the most incredible amount of power in Australia to an extent that stifles proper democratic and economic progress.[36][37]

Post-politics careerEdit

In March 2018, Dastyari passed a two-show trial to join a KIIS 106.5 Sydney breakfast radio show once a fortnight on a segment known as Gutter Politics.[38] In November 2018, Dastyari replaced Overnight talk show host Luke Bona on Triple M for 2 weeks.[citation needed]

Dastyari participated in the fifth season of reality program I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! [39]

Personal lifeEdit

Dastyari identifies as a "non-practising Muslim".[40] He and wife Helen lived in the Sydney suburb of Russell Lea with their two daughters.[2] In January 2019 he announced that he and his wife had separated.[41]

Dastyari is a member of the Halal Snack Pack Appreciation Society[42][43] although he has publicly stated that "some halal certifiers are nothing more than scammers".[44] He made news by inviting One Nation's controversial leader Pauline Hanson to join him for a Halal Snack Pack, an invitation she declined.

BooksEdit

Dastyari has authored the book One Halal of a Story - ISBN 978-0522872088 – in which he describes the good and bad of family, politics and himself.[45]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "I'm A Celebrity Australia 2019: Sam Dastyari headed to jungle". www.news.com.au. Archived from the original on 28 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b Chancellor, Jonathan (23 November 2012). "NSW Labor machine man Sam Dastyari upgrades inner west family abode". Property Observer. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Barry, Paul (2 July 2012). "The Power Index: Sam Dastyari". Crikey.com. Private Media Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Snow, Deborah (25 June 2011). "Force of youth". The Canberra Times. Archived from the original on 6 April 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d Summers, Anne (24 August 2013). "Master of the maze". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 18 June 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  6. ^ Deborah Snow (27 July 2013). "Cautious reformer eyes a leap into Senate". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 31 August 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University". Master of the maze. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "Labor senator Sam Dastyari formally quits Parliament". Sydney Morning Herald. 25 January 2018. Archived from the original on 25 January 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  9. ^ Dastyari, Sam (2017). One Halal of a Story. Melbourne: MUP. p. 19. ISBN 9780522872095. Archived from the original on 17 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  10. ^ Akerman, Piers (3 May 2014). "Labor shows that it has learned nothing". The Sunday Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  11. ^ Summers, Anne (18 August 2013). "Master of the maze". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Labor's Dastyari gets nod for Senate". The Australian. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Citizenship saga in Senate: Every foreign link revealed". ABC News. 4 December 2017. Archived from the original on 4 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Back to where I came from: Sam Dastyari". The Monthly. 1 August 2017. Archived from the original on 10 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  15. ^ a b Patel, political reporter Uma (7 September 2016). "No 'free pass': Dastyari quits Labor frontbench over donations furore". ABC News. Archived from the original on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  16. ^ Middleton, Karen (10 September 2016). "Political donations and Sam Dastyari's downfall". The Saturday Paper. Archived from the original on 3 May 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  17. ^ a b Murphy, Katharine (1 September 2016). "On political donations, Canberra is sleepwalking into its own integrity crisis". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 December 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  18. ^ "Sam Dastyari Chinese payment: Julie Bishop also accused of accepting $500K in donations". www.news.com.au. Archived from the original on 2 October 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Sam Dastyari's expenses scandal a 'cash for comment' moment, says Turnbull". 2 September 2016. Archived from the original on 4 November 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2019 – via www.theguardian.com.
  20. ^ "You can't buy trust". 10 September 2016. Archived from the original on 15 April 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019 – via The Economist.
  21. ^ Yaxley, Louise (30 November 2017). "Bill Shorten dumps Sam Dastyari from Senate job, says he doesn't trust senator after latest China revelations". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  22. ^ Yaxley, Louise (29 November 2017). "PM questions Dastyari's loyalty amid security information leak claims". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 30 November 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  23. ^ Yaxley, Louise (30 November 2017). "Bill Shorten dumps Sam Dastyari from Senate job, says he doesn't trust senator after latest China revelations". ABC News (Australia). Archived from the original on 30 November 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  24. ^ Hunter, Fergus; McKenzie, Nick (10 December 2017). "Sam Dastyari warned Tanya Plibersek to abandon meeting with Hong Kong activist, sources say". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 10 December 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  25. ^ Remeikis, Amy (12 December 2017). "Sam Dastyari quits as Labor senator over China connections". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  26. ^ Massola, James (13 December 2017). "Sam Dastyari to keep drawing taxpayer salary for weeks, despite resigning". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 13 December 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  27. ^ a b Patrick, Aaron (4 December 2017). "Sam Dastyari is a Chinese 'agent of influence': ex-intelligence chief". Financial Review. Archived from the original on 10 December 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  28. ^ "Labor Senator renews call for royal commission into banks after Timbercorp inquiry". ABC News. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  29. ^ "IOOF scandal sparks calls for royal commission". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 23 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  30. ^ "Sam Dastyari, John Williams scrutinise banks on financial advice". Financial Review. Archived from the original on 17 January 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  31. ^ "Senate Backs The Banking Royal Commission You Have When You're Not Having A Banking Royal Commission". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 20 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  32. ^ "Banking royal commission: all you need to know – so far". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 19 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  33. ^ "Google, Apple and Microsoft deny tax avoidance at Senate inquiry, Labor says Australians don't accept their practices are 'genuine'". ABC News. Archived from the original on 9 April 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  34. ^ "Labor's Sam Dastyari and kids star in 'cutest guide to tax avoidance' – video". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  35. ^ "Solicitor Ejaz Khan hosted a Iftar dinner at the Himalaya Restaurant Sydney". Sada-e-Watan Sydney. August 2012. Archived from the original on 7 June 2017. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  36. ^ "Ten companies have taken control of Australian politics, says Labor senator in fiery pub speech". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 5 February 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  37. ^ Glasgow, Will (10 April 2015). "Is Sam Dastyari the most anti-business person in Australia?". Australian Financial Review. Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  38. ^ "'Gutter Politics': Sam Dastyari joins Kyle & Jackie O show". The New Daily. 20 March 2018. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  39. ^ "Sam Dastyari hopes to confront his demons in the South African jungle". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 January 2018. Archived from the original on 11 January 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  40. ^ "Subscribe to The Australian - Newspaper home delivery, website, iPad, iPhone & Android apps". myaccount.news.com.au. Archived from the original on 28 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  41. ^ "Disgraced senator Sam Dastyari announces split with his wife of eight years - and reveals he ALREADY has another girlfriend (who used to work for Julia Gillard)". MSN. Archived from the original on 28 January 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  42. ^ "Senator rates halal snack pack a 10". Sky News Australia. 17 March 2016. Archived from the original on 12 September 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  43. ^ Rawson, Sharnee (14 July 2016). "Senator Sam Dastyari's guide to halal snack packs". Good Food. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  44. ^ Aston, Heath (2 December 2015). "'Nothing more than scammers': Senate committee calls for halal overhaul". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  45. ^ "One Halal of a Story". MUP. Archived from the original on 11 October 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2017.

External linksEdit

Parliament of Australia
Political offices
Preceded by
Claire Moore
Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate
2016–2016
Succeeded by
Katy Gallagher
Party political offices
Preceded by
Matt Thistlethwaite
General Secretary of the Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch)
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Jamie Clements