Cocos (Keeling) Islands

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Cocos (Keeling) Islands is made up of 27 coral islands. 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 United Kingdom 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.

Executive Branch

  • Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II (since 6 February 1952); represented by the Australian governor general
  • Head of government: Administrator (nonresident) Neil LUCAS (since 30 January 2006)
  • Cabinet: NA
  • Elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; 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 May 2007 (next held in May 2009)

Judicial Branch

  • Supreme Court
  • Magistrate's Court