Dastyari quits over Chinese donor saga

Labor frontbencher Sam Dastyari resigns from the shadow ministry amid Chinese "cash for comment" allegations.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari

Labor senator Sam Dastyari has quit the front bench over Chinese "cash for comment" allegations. (AAP) Source: AAP

Embattled Labor senator Sam Dastyari has quit the front bench over "cash for comment" allegations after asking a Chinese donor to pay his personal travel debt.

Senator Dastyari on Wednesday offered his resignation to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who accepted it.

"I freely admitted that I made a mistake... I'm here to make it clear I accept the consequences," he told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

The Labor senator has been under pressure to resign after it was revealed he asked a donor linked to Beijing to foot a $1600 personal travel debt and reportedly presented a view contrary to Labor policy on the South China Sea dispute.

The shadow minister for consumer affairs said it was clear the ongoing examination of his behaviour had taken attention away from bigger issues facing the country.

"It's clear to me now that this has become a distraction," he said.

"The last thing a government as bad and divided as this one deserves is a free pass."

Senator Dastyari said he'd reflected on a 25-minute press conference he conducted on Tuesday and decided it wasn't enough.

"I made a mistake and I'm paying the price."

He thanked Mr Shorten for his "incredible support" and promised to serve as a NSW senator with pride.

"The Labor Party owes me nothing and I owe the Labor Party everything," he said.

"I look forward to serving a Labor Party government in the fear future in whatever capacity I can."

Senator Dastyari denies the payment influenced his position on the territorial dispute and insists he backs Labor's position.

2 min read
Published 7 September 2016 at 7:10pm
Source: AAP