Labor Senator Sam Dastyari leaves after Question Time in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, December 5, 2017.
Labor Senator Sam Dastyari leaves after Question Time in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, December 5, 2017. AAP Image - Mick Tsikas

Abbott: ‘Dastyari likely to resign’

A LABOR frontbencher says embattled senator Sam Dastyari must now consider whether he can stay in parliament amid new revelations about his interventions on behalf of Chinese interests.

Linda Burney - who, like Senator Dastyari, comes from NSW - says the party's leader took decisive action in sacking the senator from parliamentary leadership positions.

"In relation to the continued role of Sam within the parliament, that is a matter I think very much for Sam," she told Sky News today.

"Sam Dastyari, I'm sure is thinking very deeply about his role within the party."

Former prime minister Tony Abbott told 2GB today his tip that Senator Dastyari will resign this Sunday after the Bennelong by-election.

"Insiders in the Labor Party have given up on him, they are doing a series of inside jobs on him now," he said.

It's been revealed Senator Dastyari reportedly tried to persuade deputy leader Tanya Plibersek not to meet an activist who had upset China. Fairfax Media on Monday reported three sources as saying Senator Dastyari tried to stop Ms Plibersek from meeting academic Joseph Cheng Yu-shek during a visit to Hong Kong in January 2015.

But a spokesman for Senator Dastyari has rejected the claims as "complete rubbish".

A spokesman for Ms Plibersek said her "itinerary in Hong Kong, including a meeting with a prominent pro-democracy activist, went ahead precisely as scheduled - I think that speaks for itself".

"Ms Plibersek doesn't canvass conversations colleagues may or may not have had with her or her office," he said.

Ms Burney said Ms Plibersek was one of the most principled politicians in federal parliament.

Senator Dastyari was in China at the time on a trip paid for by an organisation controlled by Communist Party-aligned Labor and coalition political donor and businessman Huang Xiangmo, Fairfax said.

The government has asked the Senate's powerful privileges committee to investigate Senator Dastyari's conduct after it was revealed he tipped off Mr Huang that his phone was probably being tapped by Australian agencies. Junior minister Angus Taylor said the newest allegations were extremely serious and added to the growing picture of how Senator Dastyari had tried to further the interests of the Chinese government.

"This behaviour is absolutely unacceptable," he told Sky News. "If we were back in the Cold War era, he wouldn't have survived this ... (with) his parliamentary career."

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