Sam Dastyari: Has Gladys Liu Heard Of The 'Sam Dastyari Threshold'?
South Australian Senator Rex Patrick spoke yesterday about the “Sam Dastyari threshold”.
It was during an interview on ABC radio. In his opinion, the Liberal Member for Chisholm Gladys Liu needs to consider her position in Parliament in light of the questions that have arisen in relation to some of her Chinese connections.
I’m 36 years old and I’m now a "threshold". Yay to my life decisions.
I really shouldn’t listen to those interviews. I try not to consume too much media these days. I wake up listening to Kyle and Jackie (because they are my friends), I ride a bike everywhere I go and I’m a poor imitation of an inner-city vegan. It’s a long way from the white cars, the ego and the inflated sense of self-importance I once basked in.
I’m also reflective enough to know that my downfall was my own fault. I don’t skirt the blame or deflect it to anyone else.
Two years ago, I resigned from Federal Parliament over a scandal relating directly to Chinese donors -- apparently establishing a "threshold" as to whether an action warrants resignation (presumably more so when China is somewhere in the mix).
I woke up wondering whether the embattled Liberal MP for Chisholm Liu had heard of the "Sam Dastyari threshold”. Then I had to remind myself, disappointingly, that I am Sam Dastyari... all of which triggered another existential crisis. It’s weird enough being in my head at the best of times.
I resigned from Parliament because of my own actions. I was far too close to the donors that funded the Labor Party. I trusted them. Saw them as my friends and... stupidly... thought I was using them on behalf of the Labor party to raise money and to win votes. The opposite was true. I let myself be used and that is entirely on me.
The most prominent, Huang Xiangmo, is accused of being a Chinese agent of influence and has been banned from entering the country. I raised money from him, let him fix my legal bills (declared but inappropriate), and contradicted party policy at a press conference beside him.
All of which was pretty poor form for an elected member and warranted my resignation from Parliament -- which I gave.
No one from any security agency ever spoke to me about any of this. I was never warned. But they also shouldn’t have needed to. I shouldn’t have needed that kind of warning.
I was young, arrogant and thought I was smarter than everyone else. That’s not to minimise my behaviour -- I take responsibility -- but perhaps to try and explain how you can get carried away with your ego when you live on television and though sound bites -- power being a drug and all that.
That’s when my house of cards collapsed; my resignation from Parliament was followed by a very deep and dark depression and, just when I thought I was at rock bottom... reality television.
While it remains to be seen if there is any real problem with her ties to China, there's been a lot of talk about whether or not they're appropriate given her political position. Answering to the storm of media scrutiny in a Sky News interview, she said she "cannot recall" whether she was ever a member of any of the China Overseas Exchange Association councils -- linked to China's foreign interference arm -- but then later said in a statement that she held an "honorary role" in the Guandong chapter in 2011 (but that she no longer has any association).
"Unfortunately some Chinese associations appoint people to honorary positions without their knowledge or permission," she said, adding she is in the process of auditing any organisations "who may have added me as a member without my knowledge or consent".
There’s certainly smoke, which doesn’t always mean fire, but there are a lot of questions. Scott Morrison has backed Liu, calling it a smear campaign with grubby undertones.
So is the "Sam Dastyari threshold" something Gladys Liu should know about?
While there doesn't appear to be any hard evidence against her, if for some reason, like me, Gladys decides to resign, this time next year she could be doing reality television.
I hear Survivor is recruiting.