Abbott: MH17 looks like a crime, not an accident

THE Government and Opposition stood united in Parliament today, each promising to track down those responsible for the destruction of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 which has cost at least 27 Australian lives.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the House that the killing of 298 people aboard the passenger jet "looks less like an accident and more like a crime".

Mr Abbott said a team from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were preparing to leave for the Ukranian capital of Kiev.

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Those who will today be told the heart-wrenching news that friends or family were aboard the doomed flight will be offered counselling and assistance.

The remains of lost Australians will be brought home as soon as possible, he said.

Mr Abbott said the government would use its position on the United Nations Security Council to push for a binding resolution to force countries and people to co-operate with a "full, impartial and international" investigation.

That includes, he said, access to the disputed site, the black box and individuals.

The Russian ambassador will be summoned by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, to confirm that Russia will support Australia's quest for answers.

"We owe it to the dead and their families. We owe it to the peace and stability of the wider world to establish the facts," Prime Minister Abbott said.

"We will do all we humanly can to bring that about.

"The bullying of small countries by big ones, the trampling of justice and decency in the pursuit of national aggrandisement and reckless indifference in human life should have no place in our world."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the day would be marked by "anxious families having their worst feared confirmed".

He described the apparent attack as a "tyrannical, wild act".

"298 innocent people have lost their lives in sudden, unspeakable circumstances," he said.

"There are at least 27 Australians who have been murdered -- mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbours, colleagues, classmates and teammates."

He paid tribute to some of the world's top AIDS experts en-route to Australia on MH17.

He said Australia would stand again with the Netherlands like it did in Afghanistan, although today it was a stance taken "in shared grief".

Mr Shorten described the "separatist terrorists" who have been supplied military weaponry from "elsewhere", and called for that link to be investigated.

"We understand that as people are working through the pain and grief, there will be many understandable calls for all sorts of action," Mr Shorten said.

"I say that Labor is prepared to support the government and cooperate with the Prime Minister and government on what is the right next step to be taken in this most bewildering and shocking of events.

"Whether or not that involves anything to do with the G20, we say to the government, we will work with your measured approach."

"Today the Parliament mourns the loss of all on MH17. 

"We are conscious that there are members of our Australian community who do not yet know what has happened to those who love."