Labor senator Sam Dastyari has resigned from federal parliament, following weeks of damning stories about his links to Chinese donors.
"Today, after much reflection, I've decided that the best service I can render to the federal parliamentary Labor Party is to not return to the Senate in 2018," Dastyari told a press conference on Tuesday morning.
"In my deliberations, I've been guided by my Labor values, which tell me that I should leave if my ongoing presence detracts from the pursuit of Labor's mission," he said. "It is evident to me we are at that point, so I will spare the party any further distraction.
"I know Australia needs a Labor government and I refuse to let my personal situation put that prospect at risk. I have always put the pursuit of the Labor cause first. Reflecting on the events which led to my decision, I leave knowing that I've always honoured my parliamentary oath."
Dastyari's resignation follows weeks of allegations around his links with Chinese donors — including damning details of his relationship with Chinese Communist Party-linked billionaire Huang Xiangmo, and reports he pressured Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek to cancel a meeting with a pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong — which saw him demoted from leadership positions in the federal Labor Party.
Dastyari's replacement is unlikely to be sworn into federal parliament until February, with former NSW premier Kristina Keneally touted as his likely replacement if she loses the forthcoming Bennelong by-election.
Dastyari says he will continue to be an active grassroots member of the Labor Party.
"Sam Dastyari is a good, decent and loyal Australian, and an effective parliamentarian, but his judgement has let him down and now he has paid the heaviest price," Labor leader Bill Shorten said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Sam can be proud of what he has achieved during his time as a senator.
"I am sure Sam will continue to make a valuable contribution to our country in whatever he chooses to do."
Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.
Contact Alice Workman at email@example.com.
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