RBA board member John Edwards says Vladimir Putin shouldn’t be held responsible for rebel Russian separatists shooting down the MH17 over the Ukraine.
The shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 should not disqualify Vladimir Putin from coming to Brisbane for the G20, a Reserve Bank board member says.
Australia is yet to decide whether to push for the Russian president to be banned from attending the world leaders’ summit in November.
But Reserve Bank of Australia board member John Edwards says Mr Putin should not be held responsible for rebel Russian separatists shooting down MH17 over the Ukraine in July.
The attack killed all 298 people on board, including almost 40 Australians and permanent residents.
“Obviously, he didn’t intend to shoot it down,” Dr Edwards told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) lunch in Brisbane on Tuesday.
“Shooting down a passenger plane, if you’re not doing it deliberately or in the Russian case, not actually doing it yourself, is not of itself a reason that you could credibly offer to refuse Putin.”
Dr Edwards, an economist appointed to the RBA board by Labor in 2011, pointed out the US navy shot down Iran Air passenger flight 655 over the Persian Gulf in July 1988, killing all 290 passengers and crew on board.
“The Americans, of course, shot down an Iranian airliner,” he said.
He predicted Mr Putin would be coming to Brisbane unless Russia decided to invade the Ukraine.
Banning Russia from the G20 would also have little consequence, he said.
“I don’t think it would, actually, because Russia … doesn’t have enough economic weight in the world. It’s not involved in these major decisions of global financial reform,” he said.
CEDA chief executive Stephen Martin, a former federal Speaker and Labor MP, agreed Mr Putin’s absence would be of little consequence.
“Does it matter if he’s not (attending)? Probably not,” he said.
“Perhaps his attendance might well be a bit of a sideshow that would give some an opportunity to grandstand around other matters, whereas, in fact, this is an economic forum.
“It’s not a security forum.”