Sam Dastyari stepping down from the shadow cabinet was the right call, I reckon. The kind of surprising thing is that this kind of thing has become debatable. Ministers from both parties seem to have become quite comfortable taking large donations from all manner of entity.
The dodgy behaviour of both major parties around political donations makes the $1600 seem paltry.
Why was Dastyari singled out in this manner? Aside from the obvious fact that he is not a member of the LNP, the other distinguishing feature of this case is that this was not a political contribution to an election campaign. This was a personal financial ‘gift.’ Even so, he is hardly the only person to have received direct financial benefit as a result of his position in public office.
The electorate has a short memory, as does News Corp when it wants to. Tony Abbott fraudulently claimed travel expenses to attend a colleague’s wedding a few years ago. How great it would have been for Australia if he had resigned from cabinet as a result. Abbott was also one of a number of recipients of Rolex watches from a Chinese businessman which at the time he saw no problem in keeping.
Indeed the difference in treatment between the Dastyari case and some of the others highlights another gift in terms of the blatant favouritism the Coalition receives from the Murdoch press, who are in turn looked after like the Coalition’s other major shareholders in the banking and resource industry.
Now all of this is a reasonable point to make, but it doesn’t excuse the original action. I am disappointed because I quite liked Dastyari’s politics and thought he presented well. But politicians should not be receiving financial gifts from anyone whilst in power. End of story, as far as I am concerned. It would be great to turn the blowtorch on the rest of the corrupt antics going in parliament, but that will only happen if us voters continue to pay attention and demand better.