Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown Answers Questions At a Press Conference On March 19, 2002 in the Chinese Embassy, Canberra
Question: What should Alexander Downer have done at the press conference this morning when China's foreign minister continually described Falun Gong as a [slanderous words omitted] that it is becoming increasingly violent and that any sovereign government should clamp down up on?
Answer: Alexander Downer should have had the courage to turn to the foreign minister and said no, you are the evil cult. You are the violent ones. You are the killers, and we know that, our intelligence agencies tell us that. We read it in the newspaper. I will not stand here and have you dictate who is who in this country. When you are on our soil I defend the Australian right to freedom of speech.
Question: Are you aware of any particular trade deals the government may be trying to protect through this action?
Answer: Unfortunately, they'll be secret but I appeal to the corporate sector in Australia, to Kodak and to BHP, and to the oil companies, and the tourist companies who are working in China - to stand up and be counted here. To stand up and say we...we believe in Australian freedom of speech. You know that is who ostensibly the government is defending but it's going to take people in the Australian community, saying this is not fair, this is not right, this is not Australia, and the problem with Alexander Downer's cowardice this morning... is that he is allowing Beijing to dictate what happens here on the streets in Canberra, and that is not forgivable.
Question: What precedent do you think today or the actions by Alexander Downer set here?
Answer: Well, they set the precedent of us having internal policies dictated by Beijing. Very dangerous course of action. Remarkable for a conservative Australian government to be getting into bed with the communist Beijing dictatorship. Quite remarkable but maybe Mr. Downer can explain what I can't.
Question: I mean ...the protesters hear the point being made and you standing in front of the embassy saying what you are saying, isn't this an acceptable compromise, the point is being made and yet there is... being made of the Chinese.
Answer: No this is very offensive. The people have had their banners here...have to lower them at the point where a representative of Beijing, drives in and out of these gates finds it offensive, and I am an Australian who is very strongly in defense of our freedom and norms, and I certainly want to hold up one of these banners because I think it is the right thing for us do. I would like to hold that one with Kerrie Tucker [Member of the Legislative Assembly of the ACT].