Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Dalai Lama’s Devolution of Power Opens Doorway to Greater Australian Support for Tibet

Wednesday, 08 June 2011

The Dalai Lama, who begins his 11-day tour of Australia tomorrow, is making his first overseas trip since handing over political power to a democratically elected Tibetan leadership (1). Australia Tibet Council (ATC) today called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to commit to meeting the Dalai Lama during his visit and to strengthening support for a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan situation. The Chinese leadership has refused to engage directly with the Dalai Lama, often citing his role as political leader as a barrier to substantive talks. ATC is urging the Australian Government to see the Dalai Lama's devolution of political power as an opportunity to encourage the Chinese leadership to talk directly with him. Read more

The Dalai Lama, who begins his 11-day tour of Australia tomorrow, is making his first overseas trip since handing over political power to a democratically elected Tibetan leadership (1). Australia Tibet Council (ATC) today called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to commit to meeting the Dalai Lama during his visit and to strengthening support for a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan situation. "The Dalai Lama is a Nobel Peace Laureate, revered religious leader, champion of universal human values and a tireless advocate for a resolution of the Tibet issue through dialogue. Tens of thousands of Australians will see and hear him during this visit. A meeting with the Prime Minister would be a reflection of Australian community expectations." said Paul Bourke, Australia Tibet Council's Executive Officer. The Chinese leadership has refused to engage directly with the Dalai Lama, often citing his role as political leader as a barrier to substantive talks. ATC is urging the Australian Government to see the Dalai Lama's devolution of political power as an opportunity to encourage the Chinese leadership to talk directly with him. The Leader of Opposition Tony Abbott and Greens leader Bob Brown have both confirmed their meetings with the Dalai Lama in Canberra. "Since meeting then-Prime Minister John Howard in 2007, the Dalai Lama has met with two US Presidents, the Chancellor of Germany, the President of France, the Prime Ministers of the UK, Canada, the Czech Republic and Belgium - the list goes on. He was not received by the Prime Minister during his previous two visits to Australia.(2) A fortnight ago the Prime Minister told the Parliament that she would make a decision on whether to meet the Dalai Lama closer to his visit. "The question shouldn't be - Will Australia's Prime Minister meet the Dalai Lama? The question should be - Why wouldn't she?" said Paul Bourke. ATC has urged Australia to adopt a stronger stance on Tibet, noting failures in its current bilateral human rights dialogue and the more proactive approach being taken by countries including the US. For further information and comment: Paul Bourke 02 9283 3466 Notes: 1. Dalai Lama formally cedes political role 2. The Dalai Lama met with then acting Prime Minster Chris Evans in 2008.