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Ocean Island

Volume 895: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will propose to the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji the convening of a conference, to which representatives of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands should be invited, to consider the demand of the Banaban people for complete independence in their ancestral home on Ocean Island.

Her Majesty's Government have always taken the view that they should be guided in such matters by the wishes of the people within the boundaries of the territory as a whole. The House of Assembly in Tarawa remains firmly opposed to the separation of Ocean Island. I doubt whether a conference on the lines suggested would be appropri- ate or helpful, at any rate, at present, but we would not necessarily wish to rule out the idea.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the net receipts over the past 25 years from the sale of phosphates from Ocean Island in Australia and New Zealand; and in which of these years the phosphates were sold below the ruling world prices.

The proceeds, net of costs of production, from the sale of Ocean Island phosphates over the 25 years ending 30th June 1974 amounted to approximately $A37ยท75 million. The bulk, but not all, of these phosphates were sold to Australia and New Zealand.The question whether phosphates were sold at below ruling world prices is already the subject of legal proceedings in an action in the High Court against the Crown, for which dates have been set down. The matter is therefore

sub judice, and I am unable to comment further.