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Thursday, 7 June 1984
Page: 2730


Senator MACKLIN(11.28) —We will be opposing the Opposition's amendments. The full argument, I think, might be better left until we actually discuss the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Self-Determination (Consequential Amendments ) Bill. Essentially, our concern is that the citizens of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands ought to have the right to vote in the next election. There seems to be no other way of achieving that result except by what has been proposed in this legislation. However, we also feel considerable sympathy for the point of view that was expressed by Senator Hill.

When we get to the next Bill we should look further at what type of operation might be able to be put in train to ascertain the true wishes of the people of the Cocos Islands. It would seem, at least on all the advice we have been able to get on this matter, that a referendum would probably have to be held to enable the boundaries of Western Australia-if that is the State that is to have the Cocos Islands and Christmas Island-to be extended and a referendum would have to be held for that purpose. If that were the case and a referendum were held even at the next election, the people of Cocos Islands and Christmas Island would be deprived of a vote on the next election. It might be possible to see this as an interim arrangement that could be rectified at a later stage by other mechanisms. On the basis that we wish those citizens of Australia to have the right to vote in the next election, we cannot support the Opposition amendments.

Amendments negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 4 to 10-by leave-taken together, and agreed to.

Proposed new clause 10A (Commonwealth to provide funds for arguments against prospect law in certain cases).