By Tenzin Monlam
From the left - MP Meryl Swanson, MP Hon Kevin Andrews, Senator Derryn Hinch and Senator Kimberley Kitching at the press conference at the Norbu Hotel in Mcleod Ganj on on 23 November 2017. Phayul Photo
DHARAMSHALA, November 23: A visiting delegation of Australian legislators have urged the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he visits Australia next year.
“We would certainly urge the PM to meet with His Holiness as other world leaders have met with His Holiness. Both former PM Rudd and Abbot have supported the Middle Way Approach. So Australia’s view about this is clear on both sides of the politics – Labor Party and the Liberal National Party,” said Hon Kevin Andrews, member of Liberal Party and former defense minister.
The four member Australian Parliamentary delegation met reporters at a press conference at the Norbu Hotel in Mcleod Ganj today.
Led by Senator Derryn Hinch (Justice Party), - Hon Kevin Andrews, MP, (Liberal Party); Senator Kimberly Kitching (Labor Party); and Meryl Jane Swanson, MP, (Labor Party) – met with the Tibetan spiritual leader in New Delhi on November 20.
Set to visit the land down under in June next year, the 82-year-old spiritual leader’s 2017 trip was canceled and in August the office of PM Turnbull had officially stated that the PM had ‘no plans’ to meet the exiled Tibetan leader.
Senator Hinch on the matter said, “Going back a few years, there was a fear at times not knowing where China was at or if meeting with the Dalai Lama would affect the economic ties with China. I think those days are over.”
Citing western nations’ embracement of His Holiness as a sign, he said that it shows that nations can still support the ‘One China policy’ without breaking ties with them and also embrace the Dalai Lama.
His Holiness’s last visit to Australia was in 2015 and last Australian PM to meet the Dalai Lama was John Howard in 2007. Next year’s visit would be his 11th visit to the island nation.
The delegation also extended their support towards the Central Tibetan Administration’s adopted stand of Middle Way Approach. It stated that MWA is the ‘appropriate solution’ to resolve the Tibet issue and that they would ‘add to the voice’ in pressuring China to bring an end to grave situation in Tibet.
Of all the Tibetan institutions established in an around Dharamshala, Senator Kimberly Kitching found TCV as her favorite. She said, “It was one of the happiest places I have been to. It was lovely to see the children and to understand how they are schooled. It reminded me a lot of Israel and the emphasis on the education that is given in that society.”
Representative Lhakpa Tshoko from the Office of Tibet, Australia, who coordinated the four-day visit to Dharamshala said, “The main aim was to properly introduce the Tibetan exile community and CTA’s sincere practice of MWA in resolving the Tibet issue. It is also heartening to see them taking special interest in it.”