Tony Abbott wins Australia election, outlines stand on Tibet

DHARAMSHALA: The coalition led by Liberal leader Tony Abbott, which won the general election on Saturday, has said it encourages dialogue between China and Tibetan representatives to fulfil the aspirations of the Tibetan people and pursue a policy towards improving human rights in Tibet.

The Liberal-National coalition won 88 seats to Labor’s 57 in the 150-seat Parliament. Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott promised a competent and trust worthy government.

The coalition outlined its stand on Tibet in response to five questions from the Australian Tibet Council, an advocacy group based in Australia, before the election. The ATC also posed similar questions to Labor and Greens.

“The Coalition has called for peaceful dialogue between China and Tibetan representatives to ensure Chinese respect for Tibetan human rights,” it said, adding that it has expressed concerns over human rights situation of Tibet.

In their response, the Labor and Greens said they would continue to urge the Chinese government to resume substantive dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s representatives to resolve the issue of Tibet.

“The Australian Greens recognise the rights of the Tibetan peoples over their traditional homelands and their rights to self determination including cultural and spiritual expression. We recognise their elected representatives. Further we condemn the plundering of Tibet’s natural resources and destruction of Tibetan cultures by the Chinese Government. We call on the government of China to end the repression in Tibet and heed the call of the Tibetans for restoration of their rights and freedom,” the Greens said.

It added: “The Australia Greens have always prioritised human rights when it comes to China. We have been and will continue to be outspoken in support of the human rights of the Tibetan people. Senator Hanson-Young, our spokesperson on Tibet, has moved motions in the Senate on four occasions over the last three years calling on the Government to engage with China over Tibet. One motion was succesfully passed in the Senate. Senator Hanson-Young and her Green colleagues will continue to advocate on behalf of Tibetan people.”

Mr Kevin Rudd led Labour party said: “It remains deeply concerned by the situation in the Tibetan regions and continues to urge Chinese authorities to: (1) Acknowledge and address the underlying causes of tension in Tibetan regions (2) Protect the rights of all Chinese citizens to criticise the government, including by addressing their grievances in an open and transparent manner and (3) Lift restrictions on access to Tibetan regions, including for international media and diplomats.

Mr Tony Abbott, as the Leader of the Opposition, met His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the latter’s visit to Australia in 2009. Both Mr Abbott and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Julie Bishop MP again met the Dalai Lama during his subsequent visit to Australia in June 2011.