Joining the Labor Party when he was 16, Sam Daystari became a senator 13 years later, before resigning in December 2017 after revelations about links to a Chinese political donor.
The married father of two daughters was born in Iran to student activists and arrived in Australia aged four. He made news by inviting One Nation’s controversial leader Pauline Hanson to join him for a Halal Snack Pack (an invitation she declined). Daystari was the youngest ever general secretary of NSW Labor and a prominent rising political star when it was revealed that he broke Labor party rules by allowing a Chinese businessman to pay some of his travel expenses.
“That was an incredibly stupid thing to be doing,” he told Stellar Magazine, admitting that when he went into federal parliament, he continued to manage relationships with party donors. “I should have walked away. I should have cut off all those links.” Since his dramatic downfall, “I don’t want pity, I don’t want forgiveness, I don’t want acceptance,” he continued. “But I would love to stop hating myself.”