Tibet Advocacy Project
Australia can play a constructive role in the resolution of the Tibet-China conflict. ATC is committed to making Tibet an important part of a deepening Australia-China relationship and in leveraging Australia’s growing importance as the global power shifts from the west to the east.
Our strength in building political support comes from our movement of 20,000-strong Australians.
Translating our strong public support into real political action for Tibet is a key goal at ATC.
We work closely with the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet in Canberra, a cross-party group of members from both houses of the Parliament. They keep the Tibet issue on the parliamentary agenda through motions and statements and raise the issue with the government through questions to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and meetings with the foreign minister. Members also participate in meetings with visiting Tibetan leaders including the Dalai Lama in the Parliament, take part in parliamentary delegations to Dharamsala and speak at rallies and public forums across the country.
The Tibet Advocacy Day is our annual lobbying initiative for Tibet in the Parliament. Members of Australia’s Tibetan community visit Parliament House every March, brief parliamentarians on the latest situation in Tibet and call for stronger political support.
2015 saw the fourth Tibet Advocacy Day in Australia in the backdrop of an increasing number of self-immolations by Tibetans. A group of 12 young Tibetans from across Australia, led by the ATC team and backed by thousands of our members, lobbied in the Parliament on 23 March and called for the release of political prisoners Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Runggye Adak.
Along with Tibet Information Office, we work towards building political support for the Dalai Lama and the democratically elected Tibetan leadership in exile.
Australian politicians, media and the public gave a strong endorsement to Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay as he visited Australia in August 2012 for the first time since taking over Tibet's political leadership from the Dalai Lama.
A parliamentary delegation to Dharamsala is an important step in Australia’s support for Tibet. We have been involved in organising two parliamentary delegations to the Tibetan exile capital in India, the most recent in July 2012.
After meeting with Tibetan political and community leaders, students, former political prisoners and artists in Dharamsala, politicians have invariably returned with a deeper appreciation of the Tibet issue. Back in Australia, they become strong voices for Tibet in the Parliament.
Last week, we hosted a visit to Australia by Tibetan former political prisoner Golog Jigme as part of our campaign to amplify Tibetan voices and counter China’s propaganda on Tibet. This visit on the back of growing Chinese influence in Australia could not have been more timely.
Thank you to everyone who have helped us in making this visit possible.
Many politicians are aware of China’s human rights record in Tibet. On our 5th Tibet Advocacy Day, we opened their eyes to the global consequences of China’s occupation of Tibet and its flawed policies on the Tibetan environment.
We are inspired by what we have achieved on Tibet Advocacy Day:
- The Australian parliament debated on the first motion on the Tibetan environment
- Four politicians from the two major parties spoke out on this important issue in both houses
- Over 20 politicians added their names to a joint letter to the Chinese Ambassador, calling on China to end the forced removal of Tibetan nomads from their grasslands
So what’s next? We'll be organising awareness-raising activities to building new alliances with experts and leaders in the environment movement, and engaging the broader Australian community on why Tibet matters in today’s world.
In April, we're heading to Brisbane to host an exciting panel discussion at the popular Festival of Tibet.
Tibet, Climate change and our common future
Tibetans and Tibet experts, indigenous Australian environmentalists, scientists and politicians will discuss climate change in Tibet and how we can create a just and sustainable future, not only for Tibetans but for the whole region.
Join us at the panel discussion at the Festival of Tibet in Brisbane.
Saturday, 23 April
11.30 am - 1 pm
Turbine Platform, Brisbane Powerhouse
119 Lamington St, New Farm
The fifth Tibet Advocacy Day in the Australian Parliament this week was a huge success! A big "Thank you" to all the donors who through their support have enabled us to take the Tibetan voice to Canberra.
A group of 15 Tibetans from across Australia, including former political prisoners, community leaders and youth activists, met with around 30 politicians from all sides of politics and presented a compelling case for Tibet.
“The Tibetan environment is not a remote issue, it has global impact and Australia cannot afford to ignore Tibet”.
Together they briefed politicians about the global significance of the Tibetan plateau - the World’s Third Pole, the impacts of climate change in Tibet and China’s misguided policies on environment and development. They asked the politicians to add their names to a joint letter to the Chinese Ambassador, calling on China to end these failed policies in Tibet.
The four former political prisoners who were part of our delegation also held an hour-long meeting with the directors of the China and Human Rights sections of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to discuss China’s policies in Tibet.
This heartfelt call by the Tibetans was strongly supported by our politicians. For the first time, a motion on Tibet’s environment was debated in the Australian parliament. In the House, three parliamentarians - Warren Entsch MP, Michael Danby MP and Melissa Parke MP - spoke to this motion. Later in the Senate, Senator Lisa Singh made a passionate speech about the global importance of Tibet’s environment.
LIST OF POLITICIANS WHO MET OUR DELEGATION:
Liberal: Senator Linda Reynolds, Senator Dean Smith, Andrew Hastie MP, Teresa Gambaro MP, Craig Kelly MP, Kevin Andrews MP, Sharman Stone MP, Warren Entsch MP, Ann Sudmalis MP
Labor: Gai Brodtmann MP, Senator Catryna Bilyk, Senator Joseph Bullock, Graham Perrett MP, Dr Mike Kelly (Chief of Staff of Bill Shorten MP), David Feenay MP, Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Alannah MacTiernan MP, Mark Dreyfus, Senator Lisa Singh, Laurie Ferguson MP, Michael Danby MP, Melissa Parke MP
Greens: Senator Larissa Waters, Senator Nick McKim
Independent: Andrew Wilkie MP
Click on images to enlarge
On 1 March, we will be back in Parliament House for our fifth Tibet Advocacy Day. And we are determined to make an even greater impact.
Every March, for four years ATC has taken a team of Tibetans to Canberra for Tibet Advocacy Day. They are young and inspiring student activists, community leaders and former political prisoners. Their personal stories of resistance against China’s occupation of Tibet, their journey into exile and their hopes for Tibet’s future have deeply moved politicians - some even to tears.
Politicians have heard much about the human rights abuses in Tibet and how Tibetans continue to suffer under China’s rule. Many of these politicians sympathise with our situation. But sympathy alone is not enough. For any parliament and government to take strong action on the Tibet issue, they must be convinced that it is urgent and is in their nation’s interest.
Here is the inspiring Tenzin Chokey sharing her experience of taking part in last year’s Tibet Advocacy Day.
On our fifth Tibet Advocacy Day, our group of Tibetan delegates will present the compelling case for Tibet. They will speak about the environmental crisis in Tibet and the importance of the Tibetan plateau to the current global challenges of climate change, water and stability in Asia. And how a resolution of the Tibet issue will benefit many countries, including Australia.
Please make a donation to support Tibet Advocacy Day 2016 and help our Tibetan delegation travel to Canberra and share their Tibet story.
We have identified some of the country’s leading parliamentarians from across the parties and in the coming weeks, we’ll ask them to meet the Tibetans. They are the influential, up and coming parliamentarians, and they have a strong interest in China, human rights, foreign policy and geo-strategic issues. We’ll be aiming to meet 40 of these important MPs and Senators on Tibet Advocacy Day.
Before heading to Parliament House, the Tibetans will receive two days of intensive training in lobbying, media skills and campaign strategy and become more effective spokespersons.