Sam Dastyari's charity donation rejected in wake of claims about Chinese funds
Under parliamentary privilege, Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has claimed the transaction has the "stench of corruption" and called for him to stand down or be sacked.
Senator Dastyari said "on reflection" he should have paid the bill himself, and he had promised to donate the money to charity."
'Is Sam Dastyari fit to be in Parliament?':
Pressure builds on MP over China money http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/is-sam-dastyari-fit-to-be-in-parliament-pressure-builds-on-chinesefunded-mp-20160830-gr54sn.html asks The Sydney Morning Herald
"Coalition MPs have questioned whether influential Labor senator Sam Dastyari should remain in Parliament following the revelation that he asked a communist-linked Australian-Chinese donor to foot an expenses bill when he exceeded publicly funded travel entitlements.
The senator's Labor colleagues have jumped to his defence, arguing he disclosed the donation in accordance with the rules, had now paid the equivalent amount to charity and is a vocal advocate for increased transparency in politics....
Victorian MP Michael Sukkar argued Senator Dastyari, who is Labor's consumer affairs spokesman, has exhibited a concerning "pattern of behaviour" with poor management of his personal finances and questioned his fitness to be an MP.
"There's a pattern of behaviour here that I think raises the question: is Sam Dastyari a fit and proper person to be in our Parliament, let alone manager of opposition business in the Senate?
"He can't even manage his telephone bills, he cannot manage his travel entitlements and yet he is the man that's managing opposition business in the Senate. I think [Opposition Leader] Bill Shorten should be considering his position today."
Mr Sukkar said the donor's payment of the private debt meant they "want something out of Sam".
Last year it was revealed Chinese property-based firm Yuhu Group paid $40,000 of legal bills http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/chinese-donor-the-yuhu-group-steps-in-to-help-sam-dastyari-20150327-1m9be2.html when Senator Dastyari was sued by an advertising firm over his conduct when he was the secretary of the NSW Labor Party.
The under siege MP has downplayed the donation from Mr Zhu, an influential figure who has contributed financially to both major parties, calling it a "minor amount" and asserting that he had rightly declared it in his parliamentary register of interests, due to be released by the Finance Department on Thursday.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen defended his factional ally and argued that Labor is the party seeking greater accountability in politics.
"The reason we know about this, the reason this has been reported on is because Senator Dastyari disclosed it in his declaration of interests last year as he was required to. It's not as if he was caught doing something. He disclosed fully in accordance with the rules.
"He's reflected on it and thought about the public perception and has now donated the equivalent amount to charity and is going through the process of doing that."
The Greens have also expressed concern over the transaction and said it "overstepped any reasonable way of engaging with overseas".
This week, prolific political donor Huang Xiangmo argued http://www.smh.com.au/world/chineseaustralian-community-should-get-more-action-for-political-donations-warns-huang-xiangmo-20160830-gr4d14.html that the Chinese-Australian community should get more action out of its donations.