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What Thinking Australians Are Thinking

Payment of Sam Dastyari’s personal bills is not the real issue, and focus on this is merely Bill Shorten’s smoke and mirrors. The real issue is Dastyari’s apparent support for China’s incursion into the South China Sea. The International Court in The Hague ruled that China has no legal claim in the South China Sea.

Government and opposition official policy supports the decision of the court. Dastyari has chosen to thumb his nose at the decision and apparently says Australia should mind its own business. He has proved his disloyalty to his party, the government and the people. There is no place for Dastyari and his ethics in our parliament. It also says much about Bill Shorten’s political judgment.

Pat Macaskill, Glenelg North, SA

Sam Dastyari’s colourful tenure as Labor’s consumer affairs attack dog reminds us that substance wins over junk politics every time. Making a noise on the steps of parliament may bring the TV cameras, but when the lights are off, is anyone still listening?

Dastyari’s claimed hatred of the banks is matched by the visceral view that banks have of Dastyari. Absurd moral arguments from the bank bashing Dastyari were never going to swing a royal commission into being.

Whatever the merits of a royal commission into banks, voters want to be convinced. Evidenced-based arguments, clear, reasoned and debated should underpin the case.

Dastyari’s embarrassing media conference on Tuesday, suggests he has a long way to go before he can expect to be doing a serious job on the frontbench of any organisation.

John Simpson, Melbourne, Vic

I have been wracking my brain trying to understand the relaxed and comfortable relationship Sam Dastyari must have had with his Chinese patrons that he could just flick-pass his travel bill for payment. Then it hit me — it was just a case of business as usual; the standard operating procedure that’s been refined and practised by Labor head office in Sydney.

Jim Ball, Narrabeen, NSW

It seems that Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten don’t get it. To say that Sam Dastyari deserves a second chance in the future shows just how superficial their ethics are. A second chance to accept money from the Chinese, do they mean? There should be downright condemnation from all parties for even a hint of bribery.

On the other hand, Dastyari has never held any job after university outside the Labor Party, which means that his conduct has been distorted from the start.

Noreen J. Pryor, Yandina, Qld

Sam Dastyari’s resignation from the Labor frontbench after accepting money from Chinese companies to pay his bills is not enough — he should be sacked from parliament.

One can only imagine the uproar from Bill Shorten and his mates if a bank manager had his bills paid by a customer. Yet here we have Dastyari, who is being generously paid by taxpayers, allowed to take a demotion with the indication from Shorten that he will be back in due course. What a disgrace.

C. H. Ainsworth, Kingscliff, NSW

Following on from the Sam Dastyari saga, Australians must demand that we get our house in order. Start with asking for a high-pressure hose of inquiry and reform of laws governing political donations and gifts to our politicians. We should send a clear message to the foreign and domestic political and business worlds that our politicians cannot be bought by powerful vested interests (including cleaning out the bottles of Grange).

The simple moral question for all our ministers, whether state or federal, is to ask themselves every day: “Why am I here? Are my values and decisions upholding the laws, Constitution and best interests of the country I serve?”

Fiona Massy, Cooma, NSW

Sam Dastyari will do his penance on the backbench and Bill Shorten will continue in attack mode to govern from opposition. Dastyari will be given a wink and a nod by his peers and, in the fullness of time, he will be forgiven and will return as a bright spark in the Labor engine room.

Do the politicians on Capital Hill ever wonder why their sincerity and level of trust in the eyes of the average punter is ranked lower than used car salesmen, or lawyers — which many of them are?

John Bell, Heidelberg Heights, Vic