The Fifth Estate
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Senator Sam Dastyari is among the youngest politicians in Canberra, but in just a few years, he’s attracted more attention than many politicians garner over their entire careers. The combination of compelling backstory – told in his new book, One Halal of a Story – and industrial-strength audacity has meant he’s never far from the limelight.
Dastyari was born in Iran to student activists and arrived in Australia aged four. He joined the ALP shadow cabinet in his early 30s and quickly rose to prominence in the media too, especially for his campaign against corporate tax avoidance. In 2016, however, he resigned from the Labor frontbench after it was revealed he’d allowed a Chinese-linked company to pay a travel bill. In a radical move, Dastyari now calls for a blanket ban on political donations.
At this Fifth Estate session, Sally Warhaft meets a controversial figure in Australian politics. They’ll talk ambition, redemption, social media and money, money, money.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Sam Dastyari was born in Iran to student activists and arrived in Australia aged four. He has worked with Hawker Britton and served as General Secretary of New South Wales Labor. He was appointed to the Senate in 2013, promoted to the shadow outer ministry in 2016, and became the manager of opposition business in the Senate and spokesperson for consumer affairs. He is currently a backbencher and lives in Sydney with his wife and two daughters.
Our long-running current affairs series, The Fifth Estate, is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre programme. With our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft at the helm, it's a series of in-depth conversations with guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's rigorous long-form interviewing at its best.
Guests are announced in the weeks prior to events, so keep an eye on our website (or the Wheeler Weekly newsletter) for updates. Subscribe to the popular Fifth Estate podcast – or book a (free) ticket – for expert analysis on today's key debates.