HC Deb 23 June 1977 vol 933 c553W
Sir Bernard Braine

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in the light of the forthcoming constitutional talks on the Gilbert Islands and the Banaban plea for the separation of Ocean Island, why, since the Cocos (Keeling) Islands had been incorporated as part of the Straits Settlement since 1888 and were administered as part of Singapore, they were detached from that colony on 23rd November 1955 and transferred to the Commonwealth of Australia; and what is the distance between the Cocos Islands and Perth and Darwin in Australia.

Mr. Luard

In 1950–51, the Australian Government undertook the responsibility for the development and maintenance of the airstrip on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. It was generally agreed that on practical grounds whichever Government controlled the airstrip should also control the islands. The proposal to transfer the islands from Singapore to Australia was also acceptable to the Government of Singapore and the transfer eventually took place in 1955. The islands lie approximately 1,720 miles from Perth and 2,290 miles from Darwin in Australia.

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