Fights and aggressive handshakes have been part of the Australian political scene for decades.


* Federal Labor leadership aspirant Eddie Ward chased Gough Whitlam down the parliamentary corridor after losing the deputy leadership contest to Whitlam in 1960. Ward punched an office door just as Whitlam closed it.

* Labor leader Mark Latham monstered his shorter opponent Prime Minister John Howard as they shook hands and almost went nose-to-nose outside an ABC studio during the 2004 federal election campaign.

* Queensland Housing Minister Rob Schwarten brawled with Craig Brown, the husband of federal Labor MP Kirsten Livermore, using a closed fist around a crushed beer can in 2000.

* NSW Nationals MP Andrew Fraser grabbed Roads Minister Joe Tripodi around the neck and shook him violently during a parliamentary debate in 2005.