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Ms Saffin (Page): Another issue of importance in my electorate is that a significant number of local people have asked me to meet the Tibetan delegation who visited parliament this week. A formal request came through the Australian Tibet Council. Their presence was welcomed here, but unfortunately I could not meet simply due to the parliamentary responsibilities and clashes of times, but my apologies were given. I am a member of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet – a group headed by Mr Michael Danby MP and Mr Peter Slipper MP. I thank them for their good work in this area.

I also welcome the foreign minister’s comments in the Senate that he asked the People’s Republic of China for permission to send Australia’s ambassador in Beijing to Tibet to investigate religious protests by self-immolation and that he was asking permission to allow a group of parliamentarians to investigate the grievance that had given rise to these extreme and distressing forms of protest.

My office also took delivery of a letter signed by 201 Yamba residents handed over by local Yamba resident nurse and artist Jill Bradshaw with a whole package of salient material that detailed human rights abuses. I know that they are having a function in Yamba at the Star of the Sea Convent on Tuesday night, 3 April, with monks performing. A lot of people have been asked to attend that.