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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Australian Senate gallery invite for Dalai Lama voted down

August 24, 2009

Tibetan Review
August 21, 2009

"Fear of Beijing" has been blamed for Australia’s
decision not to invite the Dalai Lama to sit in a
parliamentary gallery reserved for distinguished
visitors when he visits the country later this
year. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon who visited
Dharamsala in Jul’09 moved a motion Aug 20,
calling for the invitation but it was voted down
by both the government and opposition, reported ABC Online (Australia) Aug 20.

Senator Hanson-Young expressed disappointment
with the decision, noting that the Tibetan leader
had previously addressed the US Congress and the
European Parliament. She felt that the Australian
Senate had missed a valuable opportunity.

"Let's not beat around the bush here, the fact is
there's fear of Beijing alive and well," Greens
Senator Bob Brown was reported to have told the
Senate. "The China syndrome is alive and well,"
WA today online (Australia) Aug 20 quoted Brown
as saying. He has insisted that the Dalai Lama is
the political leader of the exiled Tibetan people.

But the government's manager of government
business in the Senate, Joe Ludwig, was cited as
saying the gallery was for members of
governments, which he had insisted the Dalai Lama
was not. Allowing the Dalai Lama to sit in the
gallery "could easily be misconstrued as some
kind of political recognition", he was reported to have cautioned.

The Liberals were reported to have suggested the
Dalai Lama could sit in the president's gallery
in the Senate, with Senator Brown saying he would pursue this option.

Sino-Australia relations have recently been
strained by the arrest in China of
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto’s
executive Stern Hu and the visit to Australia by
the Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer.

The Dalai Lama is to visit Australia from Dec 1
to 3 to give Buddhist teachings and public talks.
Labor MP Michael Danby, who had headed the Jul’09
parliamentary delegation to Dharmsala, has said
his Tibet group would invite the Dalai Lama to the Australian parliament.
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