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Kebab lovers unite behind Sam Dastyari


When life gives you lemons, you make a halal snack pack. If you’re Sam Dastyari, at least.

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The man who championed the humble kebab, chip and three-sauce combo is being honoured in the best way possible by his loyal group of supporters after quitting the Labor front bench.

They’re putting out their snack packs.

Social media has been flooded with pictures of the artery-clogging meal as snack pack appreciators paid tribute to Senator Dastyari after he resigned over the Chinese donation controversy.

“Political careers are temporary, snack packs are forever #PutOutYourHSPs,” one supporter tweeted, while another wrote:”Political positions come and go but snack packs are a gift that keeps on providing”.

Of course the official Facebook group, which helped make the snack pack famous and launched a social media movement, did not forget the senator.

“Just wanted to share this photo of the first HSP I had and acknowledge the effort and time Sam Dastyari has put into this group,” one member said, attaching a picture of their styrofoam-boxed meal.

Senator Dastyari put the snack pack officially on Hansard when he used a Senate speech earlier this year to review a kebab shop’s offering. He also garnered digital headlines after inviting anti-halal senator Pauline Hanson out for a snack pack.

So if there was one silver lining to the donations saga which cost the Labor senator his frontbench gig, it would be the #PutOurYourHSPs trend.

“Rough day. This is perhaps the best thing that has ever happened in my life (family excluded),” Senator Dastyari wrote on Facebook, acknowledging the tributes.

Senator Dastyari stepped down as consumer affairs spokesman and manager of opposition business in the Senate yesterday after a week of government attacks.

It followed revelations he had allowed a Chinese donor to pay a personal debt and reportedly took a pro-China stance on the South China Sea at odds with Labor’s position.

However, Federal Labor has left the door open for Dastyari to return to the frontbench after senior opposition MP Mark Dreyfus said there were precedents.

Dreyfus noted there was still doubt over what Senator Dastyari actually did, despite the comments reported by Chinese media.

“It’s not entirely clear,” he told ABC radio today.

“What is clear is that he backs Labor policy.”

Dreyfus echoed Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, insisting Dastyari still had a lot to offer parliament. Whether or nor he returned to the shadow ministry was a matter for the leader and caucus.

“We’ve seen people come back before from resigning a frontbench position,” Dreyfus said.

“He has a prospect, while he remains in the Senate, of coming back.”

Meanwhile, Labor is vowing to continue its fight to get foreign government donations to political parties banned.

The Coalition Government is resisting the push.

“I’m not going to discriminate against foreign donations,” cabinet minister Christopher Pyne told ABC radio.

A bans could raise constitutional issues around freedom of speech, he added.

“There is absolutely no correlation between political donations … from Australian-Chinese persons and the circumstances that Sam Dastyari found himself in touting for a personal payment by another entity,” deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop said.

Shorten has described Senator Dastyari as a “young bloke with a bright future ahead of him” and insisting he has “a lot more to offer”.


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