In a statement delivered on the occasion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Australian Parliament on 14 June, Mr Peter Slipper, the Deputy Speaker and co-chair the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, said, “It is an honour to be hosting you in the Australian Parliament and we thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us all.”
“We acknowledge your recent transfer of political power to an elected leadership and congratulate you on your successes in establishing a modern Tibetan democracy in exile. You have set an example to the Chinese Government and ensured the long-term resilience of the Tibetan community as a political entity.
“Tibetan Buddhist culture is a treasure of the world’s common heritage. We recognise the dire threats to Tibetan culture and livelihoods under Chinese occupation and strongly support the Tibetan people’s aspiration for genuine autonomy within the People’s Republic of China.
“A stable and prosperous China is clearly important to Australia’s future. Chinese policies in Tibet, including religious repression and the forced removal of nomads from the grasslands, have deepened economic divides, fanned ethnic tension and become a threat to the stability and integrity of the PRC. In short, a resolution of the Tibetan situation is in Australia’s national interest.
“We further recognise the immense environmental importance on Tibet, as the source of Asia’s great rivers, and the strategic importance of Tibet as a peaceful buffer between the two rising giants of Asia. A resolution of the Tibetan situation would enhance stability in the region and be a positive step towards greater peace in the world.
“On a more personal note, we acknowledge and give thanks to Your Holiness for your message of kindness and global responsibility, and your leadership in areas of religious tolerance, secular ethics and sustainability. In a world driven by short term national interests and unfettered economic growth, you offer the inspiration that all humanity needs.
“For these reasons and more, we will continue at every opportunity to support Your Holiness, the Tibetan people, and the newly elected leaders of the Central Tibetan Administration, in your efforts towards a peacefully negotiated resolution for Tibet.
“We thank you again for your presence here in the Australian Parliament, wish you every success during the remainder of your visit, and express our hope that you will join us in Australia again soon,” the statement noted.
Three other core members of the group – Mr Michael Danby MP, Senator Scott Ludlam and Senator Nick Xenophon – endorsed the statement.
During a reception hosted in his honour by the All-Parliamentary Group for Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed a large gathering of around 80 Members of Parliament and Senators along with a large number of advisers of parliamentarians and ambassadors from five countries.
Prior to speaking at the parliamentary reception, His Holiness met with 15 members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, which organised his visit to the parliament.
They discussed a wide range of issues including the evolution of Tibetan democracy and its significance for the Tibetan people.
The All-Parliamentary Group for Tibet currently consists of 26 members and some of them were part of the first Australian parliamentary delegation that visited Dharamsala in 2009.
His Holiness also held private meetings with Greens leader Senator Bob Brown, a long-time supporter of Tibet, Mr Tony Abbott MP, Leader of Opposition, and Mr Warren Truss MP, Leader of the Nationals.