14 May 2007

Howard Refuses To Meet Dalai Lama

When I wrote this post about Tibet on Saturday, I had no idea the Dalai Lama was actually due in Australia.

But apparently he is due here next month. And not only is Howard refusing to meet him, for fear of angering our Chinese trading partners, he won't even provide a parliamentary reception. Howard's Senate president explained to the Greens: "I have to be mindful of international sensitivities on such matters".

Bob Brown's response typifies the reasons why I will probably be voting Green again this election:
"The Dalai Lama is a peacemaker, he's an environmentalist, he's a compassionate human being, he's a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and he deserves to have a full reception in the Great Hall of this parliament...

"It's time that we had governments with the gumption to stand up for democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religious worship - the rights that we take for granted in this great country of ours."

Senator Brown also said the Dalai Lama's visit was a test for Kevin Rudd, and called on the Labor leader to meet with him.
Over to you, Kev.

This is actually a pretty revealing look into Howard's mind. Desperately trailing in the polls, he would rather suck up to global corporate powerbrokers than offer the Dalai Lama a popular gesture of support from the Australian people. Where do his priorities lie? What are his post-Lodge plans?

UPDATE: Rudd is also refusing to meet the Dalai Lama. It's seems our real leaders are not in Canberra, but Washington and Beijing. Hypocrisy on all sides.