Photo: The angst Sam Dastyari engenders stretches well beyond the parliamentary Labor Party. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
As a political warrior for most of his adult life, Sam Dastyari's defiance in the face of career collapse is understandable, perhaps even admirable to some — but nevertheless foolhardy.
"Dasher" — as the colourful 34-year-old is known — must now contemplate the awkward truth that his ambitions for higher duties are now dashed.
At best, Senator Dastyari has paid a price for naivety.
But few understand the ALP better than him and he knows it well enough to one day appreciate what colleagues say privately; they are not prone to much generosity when interpreting Sam Dastyari's conduct and motives.
As one Labor figure put it "he has lost an irreparable amount of skin".
Sam Dastyari may well be advised by his friends and benefactors in the Chinese community to do as China does: play the "long game" and wait it out until such time as older colleagues with a dim view of his behaviour move on.
But that ploy is to defy the laws of gravity that apply as much to political careers as to the natural universe.
"Politics is for people on the way up — he is on the way down," one of his caucus colleagues privately observed.
Video: Senator Dastyari was accused of bringing 'crocodile tears' to the chamber. (ABC News)
Trust deficit bound to affect Dastyari's future
And the angst Sam Dastyari engenders stretches well beyond the parliamentary Labor Party.
If he was to harbour hopes of a frontbench comeback in government, and especially in cabinet, the senator could find himself working alongside the tight-knit "national security community" of spies, analysts and keepers of national secrets.
Whatever the truth of his dealings with Huang Xiangmo, the mere suggestion that Senator Dastyari may have compromised some investigation or surveillance of the Chinese billionaire (allegations that are denied by the senator) inevitably raises "trust issues" for any future working relationship he may have with Canberra's powerful "national security community".
Labor colleagues, especially senior ones, have been quick to highlight the trust deficit as a major impediment to a Lazarus-like third rising for Sam Dastyari.
These are the same Labor colleagues who have never forgiven the senator for his last transgression — customising his own version of ALP foreign policy to one Mr Huang presumably found more to his liking.
Rehabilitation would take 'years and years and years'
Deep thinkers on foreign policy in successive governments and oppositions have toiled to define and hold a consistent line on Beijing's expansionist claims to reefs and atolls in the South China Sea.
Even Donald Trump has roughly adhered to the policy — to make it clear to China that it's expected to operate within international rules including freedom of navigation and overflight of shipping lanes through the vast expanse of ocean Beijing defines as its so-called Nine-dash line.
To discover via secret audio recordings that Senator Dastyari prefers foreign policy in which Australia "sees several thousand years of history" and where "the integrity of [China's] borders is a matter for China" is immensely confronting to Labor figures who've helped craft and maintain the official and conventional version.
The suspicion (denied by Mr Huang and Senator Dastyari) that money may have helped shape the senator's world view only fuels their anger.
Even if he was to recover "rehabilitation would take years and years and years", one Labor member grimly predicts.
As insurance, it was arguably wise of Senator Dastyari to publish his memoir, One Halal of a Story, so early in his parliamentary career.
The next chapter in his story could be a very long time coming....Read more