• Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times
6december20091Tibet's spiritual and political leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be warmly welcomed at Victoria's Parliament House on Wednesday for a special talk with Australian Parliament members.

The talk will be the spiritual leader's only address at an Australian parliament on this visit.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will talk to all interested MPs in one of Parliament's committee rooms, but his speech will not be open to the public.

MPs were notified yesterday of the unpublicised visit, which has been organised by the informal group "Victorian MPs for Tibet". The group's chair, Liberal Upper House member Ed O'Donohue, said the group was looking forward to welcoming the Buddhist leader.

Former Premier Steve Bracks met with the Dalai Lama in May 2002, but not during His Holiness's visit in 2007.

His Holiness last gave a talk at the Australian Parliament in 1992, when he spoke at Queen's Hall and was welcomed by then Legislative Council president Alan Hunt and Speaker Ken Coghill.

Chinese officials discourage Australian leaders from hosting the Dalai Lama, so meeting with the religious leader is often a fraught opportunity for many politicians.

Mr Rudd has declined a visit with the Dalai Lama, saying that senior representatives of the government would meet with him instead. Earlier in the year, Labor and Coalition senators and independent Steve Fielding blocked a motion by the Greens and Independent Nick Xenophon to invite the Dalai Lama to sit in the Senate's distinguished visitors' gallery during this visit.

The chairman of the Tibet Parliamentary Friendship Group, Michael Danby, explained that no formal offer to host the Dalai Lama in Canberra was made this time because the capital city was not on his agenda.

Nevertheless, about 10 federal MPs are expected to meet him on Thursday.

Premier John Brumby was unlikely to attend the talk on Wednesday and had not arranged to meet with the Dalai Lama, a spokesman said.

Cheap & Effective Advertising
E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com