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There are 27 coral islands in the group. Captain William KEELING discovered the islands in 1609, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century. From the 1820s to 1978, members of the CLUNIE-ROSS family controlled the islands and the copra produced from local coconuts. Annexed by the UK in 1857, the Cocos Islands were transferred to the Australian Government in 1955. The population on the two inhabited islands generally is split between the ethnic Europeans on West Island and the ethnic Malays on Home Island.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form
Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Conventional short form Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Dependency status
Non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government

Government type
NA

Capital
Name West Island
Geographic coordinates 12 10 S, 96 50 E
Time difference
UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
None (territory of Australia)

Independence
None (territory of Australia)

National holiday
Australia Day, 26 January (1788)

Constitution
Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act of 1955 (23 November 1955) as amended by the Territories Law Reform Act of 1992

Legal system
Common law based on the Australian model

Suffrage
18 years of age

Executive branch
Chief of state
Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by the Australian governor general
Head of government
Administrator (nonresident) Brian LACY (since 5 October 2009)
Cabinet NA
Elections
The monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Australian prime minister; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia and represents the monarch and Australia

Legislative branch
Unicameral Cocos (Keeling) Islands Shire Council (7 seats)
Elections
Held every two years with half the members standing for election; last held in October 2009 (next to be held in October 2011)

Judicial branch
Supreme Court; Magistrate's Court

Political parties and leaders
None

Political pressure groups and leaders
The Cocos Islands Youth Support Centre

International organization participation
None

Diplomatic representation in the us
None (territory of Australia)

Diplomatic representation from the us
None (territory of Australia)

Flag description
The flag of Australia is used

National anthem
Note
As a territory of Australia, "Advance Australia Fair" remains official as the national anthem, while "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see Australia)


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  Cocos ( Keeling ) Islands [ Australia ] (Australia):




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