The Minister for Territories, Mr. C. E. Barnes, inaugurated the Nauru Legislative Council on Monday?
The Minister for Territories, Mr. C. E. Barnes, inaugurated the Nauru Legislative Council on Monday 31st January. The Trust Territory of Nauru - a small phosphate island in the Central Pacific - is administered jointly by Britain, New Zealand and Australia.
On behalf of the administration authority Australia exercises full power of legislation and jurisdiction over the Territory. Legislation was passed through the last session of the Australian parliament setting up the new legislative council and an executive council and an executive council.
The Nauru Council consists of the Administrator, Mr. R. S. Leyden, who is president, nine elected Nauruan members, led by Head Chief Hammer de Roburt, and five official members. Special delegations from the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia and the British and New Zealand governments were on the island for the ceremony.
They included the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives the Hon. Sir John McLeay and Senator Justin O'Byrne. His excellency Mr. J. Luke Hazlett represented the New Zealand Government and Mr. F. B. Arnold represented the British Government. Sir William Dunk represented the British Phosphate Commissioners and Mr. R. S. Swift, O.B.E., represented the Department of Territories.
The small legislative Council Chamber was packed with Nauruans and visitors for the ceremony. In Parliamentary tradition the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, Sir John McLeay, and the Principal Parliamentary Officer from the House, Mr. D. Blake, wore their wigs and gowns for the opening. Outside, Nauruan people gathered under palm and frangipani trees. During the ceremony the Minister for Territories announced that to mark the opening of the Legislative Council the Queen had appointed Head Chief Hammer de Roburt and Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Quote this high award unquote he said quote is in recognition of the marked devotion shown by the Head Chief in his untiring efforts to advance the interests of the Nauruan people. Unquote.
Mr. Barnes said the changes in the arrangements for the Government of Nauruan would not disturb the close association which existed between the peoples of Nauru and of Australia - and association that went back over fifty years when Australia first took over the immediate responsibility for the administration of the island.
The Australian Parliament presented the Legislative Council with a presidential chair upholstered in Australian hide of deep red similar to the Australian Senate - the traditional colour of Upper House of Parliament.
Sir John McLeay who made the presentation said the chair would symbolise the authority and dignity of the council and its president.
He said he hoped the new Legislative Council would go from strength to strength as a parliamentary institution.
The opening of the Legislative Council was held on the day the Nauruan people celebrate as Anniversary Day. This was the 20th anniversary of the return to Nauru of the survivors of those who had made the journey to Truk Atoll during the war.
The Legislative Council was inaugurated in a simple ceremony. Messages of goodwill came from around the world, among them from the British Prime Minister, Mr. Wilson, and the New Zealand Prime Minister, Mr. Holycake.
The neighbouring Gilbert and Ellice Islands and Ocean Island also sent their good wishes.
The new Legislative Council will have a general legislative power except for external affairs, defence and the phosphate industry.
More than 5,500 people live and work on Nauru. The Nauruan community totals 2,814. In addition about 2,800 other people live on Nauru, most of them associated with the phosphate industry.
The Minister for Territories flew to Nauru in an R.A.A.F. Convair on Sunday. More than half the population on the island turned out to greet him.
After taking the salute Mr. Barnes inspected a guard of honour and reviewed a parade of school children. On Monday afternoon Mr. Barnes presented a long service medals to 29 Nauruan officers of the public service. The official guests and visitors for the ceremony were entertained by a Nauruan celebration of traditional dancing, a barbecue as guest of Head Chief Hammer De Roburt and a fireworks display.
Mr. Barnes returned to Australia on Tuesday, 1st February. Opening of Legislative Council, Nauru, by the Minister for Territories, Mr. C.E. Barnes.