Australians expect answers from Russia on MH17 demise

Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the national memorial service for victims of MH17 at St Paul’s Cathedral on August 7.TONY Abbott wanted to shirtfront Vladimir Putin, but when the Prime Minister met the Russian President at APEC in Beijing what Australians really wanted was answers.

Australians want an explanation as to why Russia has shirked its responsibilities in regard to the demise of Malaysia Airways MH17.

They also want the truth about the actions, which led to the attack on the commercial flight that killed 298 people on board including 38 Australians.

In the outrage that has followed the attack, Mr Abbott has spoken in demanding tones of the need for Russia, and Mr Putin, to explain their involvement.

Given how forthright Mr Abbott has been – some would say too forthright, indicative of the “shirtfront” analogy – Australians would expect some resolution from APEC.

It’s a diplomatic nightmare in many respects, with no suitable response coming from Russia despite worldwide pleas in recent months. The eternally frosty meeting of leaders at APEC precedes one of the most important and high profile meetings of world powers in Australia this weekend at the G20 summit.

While security will be at all time high levels, one senses Mr Putin won’t be saved entirely from a frosty reception.

It is clear that as much as Mr Abbott impresses the need for closure and an acceptance of responsibility for the loss of lives on MH17, anything less will pervade the ongoing grief felt by family and friends of those on the flight.

Ballarat right for AFLThe AFL seems hellbent on returning football to its grassroots in 2015.

Kick to kick after the game on the MCG, a more family-friendly fixture and curtain raiser VFL games are all back on the agenda.

New AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan is certainly talking the talk. Whether the AFL is prepared to go the next step in bringing the game back to regional Victoria is seemingly still up for discussion.

The AFL has been much more reluctant to throw its public support behind the Western Bulldogs push to establish a regional base in Ballarat.

There’s no reason not too. Ballarat is AFL heartland. We have an opportunity to create a sporting and entertainment precinct to easily cater for lower-drawing AFL fixtures and the community is broadly supportive.

It’s a perfect time for the AFL to come good on its new mantra in favour of Ballarat.

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