China's ambassador to Australia has likened Liberal senator Eric Abetz to Joseph Goebbels, saying his tactics smack of Nazi propaganda.
Senator Abetz has offended many Chinese Australians by demanding people denounce the Chinese government.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne is displeased with Cheng Jingye's inflammatory comparison.
"Nazi comparisons, frankly, rarely contribute very much of use to any discussion and this would be no exception," Senator Payne told ABC radio on Friday.
But she declined to criticise Senator Abetz for demanding the denunciations.
"We are always prepared for robust debate and robust exchange in Australia including from our members of parliament," the minister said.
"But my personal view, and I think it is one which the prime minister has expressed before, is the only pledge we expect Australian citizens to make is the pledge that they make when they become an Australian."
Mr Cheng made the comparison in a submission to an inquiry into legislation designed to give Canberra greater power over state and university deals with foreign governments.
Senator Abetz is chairing the inquiry.
His great-uncle was Hitler's ambassador to Paris and a convicted Nazi war criminal.
Australian Associated Press