Russian leader Vladimir Putin might find an unlikely friend in Jacqui Lambie when he visits Australia.
The Palmer United Party senator has called on Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to be mature leaders in the row over Mr Putin’s attendance at the G20 summit in Brisbane.
At the moment they were acting like “hormone affected school-boys trying to out-macho each other on the footy field”, Senator Lambie said.
Mr Abbott threatened to “shirtfront” Mr Putin on Monday – a sporting term that means to charge into an opponent and knock them down.
Mr Shorten has said Australia shouldn’t roll out the red carpet for an international bully.
Both were expressing anger over the MH17 disaster in which 38 Australians died when Russian-backed separatists shot down the Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine.
Australia has no power to ban Mr Putin from the summit next month.
Senator Lambie said she welcomes Mr Putin’s visit.
While there were legitimate questions that should be answered over the plane crash, she didn’t believe Mr Putin would have wanted the disaster and loss of life to happen.
“It’s important to act in a mature manner and keep lines of communication open with him,” she said.
Mr Abbott’s comments sparked an angry response on the Russian online news site Pravda.
“I would advise Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to wash his hands carefully and sterilise them after shaking the paw offered to him by Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the forthcoming G20 Summit in Brisbane,” a Pravda columnist said.