Sam Dastyari resigns, says he does not want to ‘detract from Labor’s mission’

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Labor senator Sam Dastyari has said he will not return to the Senate next year, amid questions over his links to China.

"Today, after much reflection, I've decided that the best service I can render to the federal parliamentary Labor Party is to not return to the Senate in 2018," he told reporters at a media conference in Sydney today.

"I've been guided by my Labor values, which tell me that I should leave if my ongoing presence detracts from the pursuit of Labor's mission.

"It is evident to me we are at that point, so I will spare the party any further distraction."

Senator Dastyari has been under pressure to resign since allegations of misconduct first surfaced more than a year ago, when it was revealed he allowed a company owned by Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo to pay a legal bill for his office.

He stepped down from Labor's frontbench over those revelations, saying accepting the donation was "within the rules but it was wrong", but further links were exposed this year.

Fairfax reported last month that Senator Dastyari warned Mr Huang Xiangmo that his phone was probably being tapped by US agencies in a secret face to face meeting between the pair last October.

Reports also emerged that he had made comments at a Chinese media conference about the South China Sea that went against ALP policy.

Labor leader Bill Shorten dumped Senator Dastyari from his position as deputy Senate whip as well as a Senate committee chair and last week the Government called for him to be brought before the powerful privileges committee to further explain himself.

Most recently, a Fairfax report alleged that Senator Dastyari had pressured Tanya Plibersek, who was Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman at the time, not to meet a Chinese political activist in a visit to Hong Kong.

More to come.

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