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Thursday, 26 September 1974
Page: 1438

Senator DEVITT (TASMANIA) - My question to the Leader of the Government representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs relates to a visit in recent times by a United Nations mission to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. I ask: What stage has been reached in an examination of the recommendations of the mission which visited the Islands in recent times?

Senator MURPHY - The United Nations mission visited the Cocos (Keeling) Islands between 7 and 1 1 August at the invitation of the Australian Government. It consisted of representatives from the Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago. They were accompanied by officials from the United Nations Secretariat. Discussions were held in Canberra before and after the visit. As with the other United Nations missions to non-self governing Territories, its task was to inform itself and report to the United Nations on political, economic and social conditions in the Islands and to seek the views of the people on their future political status. The Government will give careful consideration to the report of the mission and to any subsequent resolutions of the Committee of Twenty Four and the General Assembly relating to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Our Government recognised the desirability of changes in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands which will be directed towards assuring for the people of the Islands higher standards of education, economic development and self government. As has been stated previously, the Government's intention is that the future political status of the Islands should be determined with full regard to the freely expressed wishes of the inhabitants and in keeping with the principles of the United Nations charter and the relevant United Nations decisions.

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