House debates

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Statements by Members

Gyari, Mr Lodi Gyaltsen

1:46 pm

Photo of Melissa ParkeMelissa Parke (Fremantle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

We have an important visitor in the parliament today: Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, who is the special envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama based in Washington, DC. Mr Gyari was born in Tibet in 1949 and fled with his family to India in 1959. Realising that Tibetans needed to publicise their struggle to the world, he became an editor for the Tibetan Freedom Press and founded the Tibetan Review, the first English-language journal published by Tibetans in exile. Mr Gyari was a founding member of the Tibetan Youth Congress, an organisation of over 10,000 members. He was subsequently elected to the Tibetan Parliament in Exile and became its chairman. In 1988 he became senior cabinet minister for the Tibetan foreign ministry.

Mr Gyari will address the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade this afternoon. I am sure fellow committee members will be interested in the fact that, in addition to his current role as special envoy for His Holiness, Mr Gyari is the lead Tibetan negotiator for discussions with the Chinese government. These discussions in the past have been cordial and frank, but they are currently stalled, and I would like to take the opportunity of Mr Gyari's visit to Australia to again urge Chinese and Tibetan representatives to engage in further dialogue.

It is in everyone's interests, including China's as an emerging global power seeking international respect, that there be a peaceful resolution of Tibetan claims in accordance with the constitution of the PRC—to genuine autonomy in terms of the preservation of the Tibetan culture, language and religion. As Mr Gyari says, 'We cannot rewrite history, but together we can determine the future.'