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Today in Sydney, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott spoke to Tibet's spiritual and political leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama about Australia's relationship with China and called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to meet with the spiritual leader.

During the meeting, Mr Abbott said he was not uncomfortable meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, while working on improving Australia's relationship with China. He also endorsed Australia's intake of Tibetan refugees.

His Holiness he Dalai Lama forgave the apologetic Liberal leader with a friendly pat on the knee. The Tibetan spiritual leader said he was very happy to meet Mr Abbott.

"I hope, Your Holiness, all who meet me will be equally happy,'' Mr Abbott replied, laughing. Mr Abbott called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to make time in his schedule to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his Australian visit.

"I understand the diplomatic sensitivities there are,'' Mr Abbott said. "There are things opposition leaders can do that prime ministers find more difficult.

"But certainly Prime Minister (John) Howard found time to met His Holiness when he was prime minister. "I can understand why people are a little disappointed Prime Minister Rudd (cannot meet him).''

Wearing his trade mark burgundy and yellow robe and a pair of orange sandles, His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanked Australia for accepting Tibetan refugees seeking asylum from Chinese rule.

"I suggested to His Holiness ... I'd discourage him from sending them on leaky boats,'' Mr Abbott said. When asked if he was concerned about the Liberal Party's scepticism on climate change, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said he welcomed freedom of expression in democracies. Mr

Abbott laughed and said: "Thank you Your Holiness--that was well-handled''.

On Monday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama weighed into the public debate on a controversial Australian emission trading scheme urging individual and collective action.

Mr Abbott also sought spiritual advice from the Buddhist leader. "I did ask for some guidance when it comes to maintaining inner peace,'' Mr Abbott admitted.

"He has decades of experience ... I've been leader for three days", Abbot explained.

"I was reassured ... that provided you approach things in the spirit of truth and compassion you will be given the inner resources to cope with the difficulties of daily life.''

Mr Abbott said he hoped to channel some of his new-found inner peace and compassion to heal rifts in the Liberal Party.

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