Bill Shorten has delivered a scathing public admonishment of Sam Dastyari, declaring the Labor senator's career is going nowhere.
Bill Shorten has cut embattled backbencher Sam Dastyari adrift as the senator's scandalous dealings with Chinese donors threaten to derail a crucial by-election.
"His career is going nowhere, fast," Mr Shorten declared as he stood alongside Bennelong candidate Kristina Keneally on Friday.
But the opposition leader accused the Turnbull government of engaging in "China-phobia" after former prime minister Paul Keating's seat on the China Development Bank's board was called into question.
"It's just got ridiculous," Mr Shorten said.
"I just say to the government you've made your politics, I get that, but let's not actually throw the baby out with the bath water."
Mr Shorten tried to fend off a flurry of questions about whether the saga surrounding Senator Dastyari would drag down his star candidate next weekend.
He argued voters cared more about local issues such as power prices and health than they did about "political games" in Canberra, which he claimed inflicted the most damage on Senator Dastyari.
Attorney-General George Brandis has asked the Senate's powerful privileges committee to investigate Senator Dastyari's conduct.
The referral comes after it was revealed Senator Dastyari tipped off Chinese Communist Party-linked political donor Huang Xiangmo that his phone was probably being tapped by Australian agencies.
Senator Dastyari is also in hot water after an audio recording surfaced of the NSW Labor powerbroker defending Beijing's aggressive land grab in the South China Sea.