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Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Volume 934: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy towards the proposed safe of Cocos (Keeling) Islands by Mr. John Clunies-Ross to the Australian Government, in view of the fact that the original indenture of Queen Victoria granting in perpetuity all lands to Mr. George Clunies-Ross reserved the right to resume any or all of the lands for public purposes and prohibited its alienation without the prior sanction of the Crown.

The administration of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands was transferred to the Commonwealth of Australia by an Order in Council made under the Cocos Islands Act 1955 of the United Kingdom and accepted by Australia under the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955 of Australia. The matters raised by the hon. Member are, therefore, for the Government of Australia and not for the Government of the United Kingdom. The Government of the United Kingdom have, however, taken note of the recent discussions between the Government of Australia and Mr. John Clunies-Ross and hope that they will be brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, in order to obtain assurances regarding the continuation of defence facilities on West Island, he will intervene in the negotiations between the Australian Government and Mr. John Clunies-Ross regarding the purchase of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

The United Kingdom Government would have no locus standi in any such discussions and would, therefore, be unable to intervene.