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12 Oct 2014

'We will decide who comes to this country....' Unless They Are Vladimir Putin

'We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come'. John Howard 21/11/2001. 

Tony Abbott defends Vladimir Putin's attendance at G20 summit

SMH October 12 2014
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended a decision not to ban Russian President Vladimir Putin from attending the G20 summit in Brisbane, saying: "It's not Australia's right to say yes or no to individual members of the G20."
But Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said his view that Mr Putin should not be attending the economic forum has not changed.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also criticised the move and said the government had "gone from talking tough to trying to pretend Putin coming here isn't an issue Australians are concerned about".
Mr Abbott and Mr Newman were speaking on Sunday in Brisbane, which will  host world leaders for the summit in November.
Earlier on Sunday, Treasurer Joe Hockey confirmed Mr Putin would be coming to  the summit and said it was the "consensus" of the G20 members that there should be no ban on his attendance.

There had been pressure on the  government to ban Mr Putin from coming to Australia after the MH17 disaster in July, which killed 298 people, including 38 Australian citizens and residents.
Mr Shorten has previously expressed his reluctance to meet Mr Putin, given that Australia holds Russia responsible for the disaster.
Mr Abbott said on Sunday there were many aspects of Russia's foreign policy he was not happy with and he deplored its "blatant aggression" towards its "smaller, weaker, neighbour" Ukraine.
"Obviously we had the MH17 atrocity earlier this year where 38Australians were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment, so there ismuch to deplore in Russia's foreign policy,"  Mr Abbott said.

"But the G20 is an international gathering that operates by consensus. It's  not Australia's right to say yes or no to individual members of the G20. Russia is a member of the G20 and as such, we're obliged to accept the Russian leader in this country."
But Mr Abbott said it would be made "crystal clear" that the world expected Russia to co-operate fully with the MH17 investigations.

The Prime Minister said he "took the point" that some Australians would be angry and upset to see him shaking the Russian leader's hand when he is in Brisbane.
Mr Abbott said he, too, was angry about the atrocity committed because Russia had been "fishing in these troubled waters".
"I don't believe for a moment that President Putin wanted that plane brought down.
"But obviously Russian policy has brought about a situation that caused this atrocity to take place.
"What I will be wanting from the Russian President is an assurance from him that he and Russia will do everything they can to ensure that now, at least, justice is done."
Mr Newman has been a vocal opponent of allowing the Russian leader to attend  the summit.

"I understand what the Prime Minister has said," he said. "It is a matter for the G20 and it's a consensus issue. I think him being here means that he will be rubbing shoulders with international leaders and our Prime Minister and I'm sure they will all convey the anger that Australia and indeed other civilised nations have in what happened only a few months ago to our citizens."
 Mr Shorten said the government was in a difficult position but should have done more to prevent Mr Putin's attendance.
"Most Australians are understandably extremely uncomfortable about welcoming President Putin to Australia," he said.
"It is disappointing the Abbott government couldn't use the leverage that hosting the G20 and holding a seat on the UN Security Council afforded for preventing the attendance of Mr Putin."

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