Yesterday, both Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd were caught playing politics on the topic of whether to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits in June.
Neither leader had allocated time to personally meet His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. The excuse was that such a meeting could cause international concern. ie China would be unhappy, because that Dalai Lama lives in exile from Tibet, and campaigns against human rights abuses by China.
Now, both men have done an about face ... of is that the two-faced-two-step? China does not determine our foreign policy, and a person of some integrity would have met with His Holiness.
However, it got worse: domestic politics was also a consideration. Mr Howard's office said that he "may" meet with the Dalai Lama. He wanted Mr Rudd to make the first move - Mr Howard would then have had the option to say "See, Mr Rudd doesn't respect China". In the end, that was not politically possible and both men will now meet His Holiness. Both were embarassed into doing so.
What a farce! What two-facedness! (well .. it IS an election year)