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Monday, 3 November 2003
Page: 21748

Mr ORGAN (3:36 PM) —I have a question to you, Mr Speaker, following on from your comments. You referred to giving due dignity and courtesy to President Hu Jintao. Why did you not inform me and my Senate colleagues of your decision to exclude our guests from the gallery on Thursday and give them, as Australian citizens, due dignity and courtesy in regard to the opportunity to actually come and sit in the gallery? We are talking about two Buddhist members of the Tibetan community in Australia. We are talking about Mr Chin Jin, a member of the Federation for a Democratic China. I have subsequently spoken to those people and there was no way in which there was going to be any disturbances within this House by those people. I think that courtesy should have been shown to our guests, who are Australian citizens. There was a distinct lack of courtesy shown on behalf of the government towards these ordinary Australians. I ask for an explanation as to why I and my Senate colleagues were not informed of your decision.

The SPEAKER —I have already indicated to the member for Cunningham that, as I said in my statement, I do regret the fact that there were guests in the glass galleries—not only his guests but also guests of members of both sides of the House and guests of ministers. I have indicated to the member for Cunningham that in the case of his guests—and if any other members approach me I will provide exactly the same service—I am very happy to write to his guests indicating my regret that they were unable to receive the translation. I will make no other comment because all that needs to be said was enclosed in my statement.