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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 2942

Senator TOWNLEY(10.34) —I would have to agree with a lot of the things that Senator Crichton-Browne has just said. I was recently on Cocos Island and I would have to say--

Senator Grimes —It is a popular spot. You have all been there. I am the only one who has not.

Senator TOWNLEY —No, we were there with a Senate committee that was looking at things. It was enforced capture, I can assure the Minister. I would have to agree that the plantations are virtually out of control. What was obviously once a very good area is not becoming overgrown with trees from the coconuts that fall off the palms alongside the parent trees. They are springing up everywhere. In another few years the usefulness of the area will be completely ruined. The cemetery on Home Island that used to be well looked after is also a disgrace. In fact, everything on the Island, in my estimation, is a disgrace. In many areas--

Senator Zakharov —What about the schools?

Senator TOWNLEY —If Senator Zakharov wants to speak about it she may get up with some of her left wing rubbish about how she is leaving these people to sit around and collect all the money they get in all the ways that Senator Crichton-Browne said. I am suggesting that may- be they should be made to do some kind of work for the government handouts that they are getting. The place is a total disgrace. The feeling amongst the staff and the Administrator is also a disgrace. It is something at which the Department should well look. The feelings between many members of the staff there and the Administrator are anything but pleasant. No doubt a few of the people from Greenpeace and so on would say that the island is idyllic. It may have been idyllic once, but it certainly is not now. In many areas the rubbish that has been poured into the sea and left there to rust is a disgrace. Instead of having people sitting around on their tails doing nothing, letting all the plantations get overgrown, something could have been done. I ask the Minister: When will the Government take some action to get the place, including the cemetery which is mainly for the Chinese people, into some order of repair instead of leaving it as a haven for people whom I am sure John Laws would call social security layabouts?