Senate debates

Thursday, 30 November 2017


Dastyari, Senator Sam

1:04 pm

Photo of Richard Di NataleRichard Di Natale (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

The Greens will be supporting part 1 of this motion, but we don't see a need for part 2 of this motion. We think Senator Dastyari should be afforded the opportunity to come and address the very serious nature of the allegations that have been raised today and explain more wholly some of those issues and the nature of his relationship with the individual involved. It must be noted that it's not just Senator Dastyari who has a relationship with Mr Huang Xiangmo; it's understood that this individual also has a direct relationship with and has been a donor to the Liberal Party, as well, so it would be good to be able to hear an explanation from the Liberal Party as to the nature of that relationship, who Mr Huang Xiangmo has communicated with within the coalition side, what he has expected to get out of that relationship and so on, because this is a very serious issue.

The allegations that were made about Senator Dastyari presenting a position on foreign policy that was at odds with his own party and in support of a financial donor are very serious matters. It is rather ironic that we spent the last few months in here debating individuals who allegedly had a conflicted allegiance to Australia as a result of their dual citizenship, yet here we have a very real and material case where it appears that an individual has made decisions that may have been influenced by the financial relationship that he has with this individual.

We also have very serious concerns about how this material came to light. We are concerned that information like this might be made public not simply through the diligent and hard work of the individuals in the media who exposed it but through complicity from our intelligence agencies. That's a very serious question: how was this information gathered? How was the information obtained? I think that warrants a very serious investigation. We would be extremely concerned if our security agencies were being politicised in some way or inserted themselves into what is, obviously, a very serious issue, so we need to get to the bottom of that. But, for the moment, the facts do appear clear: Senator Dastyari's previous statement was completely and wholly inadequate. He should be afforded the opportunity and, indeed, be asked very directly by the Senate to come in and explain in much more detail many of the issues that were raised.

We won't be supporting part 2 of this motion, which effectively gives an opportunity for individual senators to continue making political points, because we also had that opportunity this morning. We had a long debate this morning where individuals were able to make their points. We don't think we need to repeat that, and we think it's very important that this place gets on with the business of legislating. There are important pieces of legislation that need to be debated by the chamber.

We will support requiring Senator Dastyari to attend the chamber. We will be supporting a requirement that he outline the nature of the relationship he has with this individual and, indeed, account for the fact that he appears to have given conflicting evidence to the media that's not supported by a later account of events. We will in time, though, be asking more questions about how this information came to light, whether the security agencies had any role in obtaining this information, whether there was any conversation with members of the government about that and whether that evidence was used against Senator Dastyari, but they are questions for later. For the moment, it is important that Senator Dastyari gives a very clear and whole explanation of events.


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