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Dastiyari's China payment to go to charity

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016

Labor frontbencher Sam Dastiyari plans to donate more than $1600 to charity after it was revealed he asked a Chinese donor to foot his bill after he exceeded his travel allowance.

Senator Dastiyari admitted the sum of $1670.82 had been paid by the Top Education Institute, a Sydney-based Chinese higher education provider.

In a tweet, he described the Fairfax media report of this as a "Fair yarn."

"While fully disclosed, understand concern, so I'm donating the amount to charity," he said.

Fairfax said a Finance Department invoice issued on April 8, 2015, shows Senator Dastyari exceeded his travel budget by $1,670.82. He sent the bill to the Top Education Institute which paid it in full.

A spokesman for Senator Dastiyari said that had been fully disclosed in the register of MP interests more than a year ago.

But that didn't satisfy Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi who said there was something really smelly about all this.

He said the Top Education Institute had close links to the Chinese goverment.

"My question is has Senator Dastiyari's bill to the Commonwealth of Australia been paid effectively by the Chinese government or their front company. Do we have our very own Manchurian candidate," he said on Sky News.

Senator Bernardi said Senator Dastiyari owed the Senate an explanation.

"It's wrong, it doesn't pass the sniff test and I think there's a whole lot more to discover here," he said.

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