Labor Senator Sam Dastyari today regretted and apologised for his actions in seeking payment of an electorate office bill from a foreign company.
Dastyari, 33, sought payment of $1,670.82 of an electorate office travel expenses bill from the Chinese company Top Education Institute. He declared the payment on his pecuniary interest register.
Speaking for 24 minutes at an outdoor media conference in Sydney, Dastyari, said he didn’t “reflect” on his actions at the time. He evaded all questions on why he asked the company and did not explain his relationship with the company.
Dastyari also refused to deal directly with statements he has made about China’s claims on islands in the South China Sea. Instead, he suggested he may have “mis-spoken” but insisted he supported ALP policy on the issue. He denied he adopted a pro-China position to appease Chinese donors to the ALP.
Earlier today, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused Prime Minister Turnbull of “petty attacks” on “a junior senator from NSW”.
By sticking to his prepared lines today, the junior senator did not impress. Whether he has drawn a line under the issue remains to be seen.
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