Australia should not welcome Vladimir Putin to the G20 summit because the Russian leader is “thumbing his nose” at the rest of the world over the shooting down of MH17, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.
The government has confirmed the Russian president will attend the summit in Brisbane in November.
Mr Shorten said there was plenty of evidence pointing to Russian involvement in the July 17 downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine, in which 38 Australians were among the 298 dead.
“It was an act of murder,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.
“How is it that the President of the Russian Federation, Putin, can thumb his nose at the rest of the world, go wherever he wants, without there being any repercussions or any co-operation with the independent investigation as to how this happened?”
He said Mr Putin knew more about the plane tragedy than he had let on so far.
“I happen to think that when you deal with an international bully the way you do it isn’t by laying out the red carpet, so no, I don’t think he’s welcome, I don’t think most Australians want him here.”
Asked whether Mr Abbott should meet with Mr Putin, the Labor leader said: “No.”
“I wouldn’t give him the time of day,” Mr Shorten said, confirming he would not meet with the Russian leader.
But he admitted the “the government is between a rock and a hard place” because the G20 was a world summit and not organised by Australia.