PAUL MURRAY: Time has run out for Senator Sam Dastyari
HE'S loved in Canberra because he plays all the angles beautifully: the media, the Labor factions and the cross bench.
But try to convince the rest of us outside the bubble why we should pay him a dollar more to keep his job in the Senate.
This is a man who took money from a Chinese billionaire to pay a legal bill, later stood next to that billionaire and said the exact opposite of his party's and Australia's position on the South China Sea, and a tape this week showed he lied about what he said even when he was caught out.
But it's not over. He met the same billionaire at his house weeks after getting caught playing both sides of the fence and quitting ALP's leadership group. When Dastyari got to the billionaire's house he is accused of telling the man to go outside because ASIO and US security officials might be listening.
Dastyari was given not one, but two chances in the Senate to say the tip off didn't happen. But he didn't. Instead he played word games and disgracefully tried to get sympathy. Rubbing his eyes for the cameras and all.
Amazingly, Dastyari's career didn't end when this story first came out. Misrepresenting your party's national security position like this to a Chinese only audience should been an immediate end to any to any political career. Especially in the Labor party where you can't cross the floor or argue publicly against decisions taken by caucus.
But instead, he was sent to the backbench only to return to the ALP's leadership team in the Senate within months.
When the latest revelations about Dastyari's dirty dealings were exposed he was sacked once more. But again, his leader, Bill Shorten, is having it both ways. All year they have said the job of the party's Deputy Whip and Senate committee chairmanships were small jobs of no significance. But when he loses them in a scandal for the second time in a year, he's paid a heavy price.
What's even more insulting is the Labor types spent the week calling Dastyari's behaviour 'mistakes'. Please, a mistake is when you send a text to the wrong person. Taking money, changing policy, lying about what you said and tipping off anyone potentially under surveillance is not a mistake, it should disqualify for taking a place anywhere in our national life.
Every day Dastyari stays in the parliament it is an insult to the public. Yet sit there he will, because the party wants him and Shorten needs him.
Sometimes things are as they seem and this scandal is as bad as it seems. This whole thing, the cover up and the slap on the wrist are not a lack of judgement but an insight into what people think they can get away with.
Go away Sam, it's over.
Paul Murray is a broadcaster at Sky News who can be seen on Paul Murray LIVE Monday to Friday at 9-11pm AEDT.
Joining Paul this Monday night on the program are Paul Murray LIVE regulars Janine Perrett, Graham Richardson and Ross Cameron.
Follow him on twitter @PMONAIR.