Aust MPs pay tribute to John McCain

John McCain, seen during a visit to Canberra, has been remembered as a friend to Australia.
John McCain, seen during a visit to Canberra, has been remembered as a friend to Australia.

Scott Morrison has used his first question time as prime minister to pay tribute to United States Senator John McCain, who died last month.

Mr Morrison said it was unusual for parliament to recognise foreign politicians who weren't heads of state, but Senator McCain was a "worthy exception".

"From prime ministers Hawke to Turnbull, John McCain was a steadfast friend who understood that our alliance is a reflection of two similar peoples," Mr Morrison told parliament on Monday.

Senator McCain's father and grandfather served in the navy, defending Australia in World War II, while his sons served alongside Australian soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I extend our deepest condolences to Senator McCain's wife, Cindy, his family and the American people he served so magnificently and may you rest in peace," Mr Morrison said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said meeting Senator McCain when he visited Australia last year was a privilege.

"We all remember John McCain as a devoted friend of Australia," Mr Shorten told parliament.

Australian Associated Press