Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (College of Arts and Science)

Schools and Centres

Arts & Sciences

First Supervisor

Associate Professor Martin Drum

Second Supervisor

Associate Professor Daniel Baldino


The notion of self-determination for Christmas Island has been considered for many years. There have been a range of reports, studies, inquiries and indeed protests (on the Island and in Canberra) over the years that have failed to provide a solution which is satisfactory to residents of Christmas Island and Australia’s Commonwealth Government. Accordingly, the purpose of this thesis is to explore and investigate the possibilities and options of the Territory of Christmas Island:

a) becoming an autonomous self-governing region (Parliamentary Legislative Assembly);
b) being incorporated into the legislative arrangements of West Australia (WA) or Northern Territory (NT);
c) developing an alternative mixed delivery model of governance, incorporating elements from the above options (such as an ‘internal territory arrangement’); or
d) maintaining the status quo.

The thesis will discuss and examine the principles of democratic governance, including responsible government and representative democracy. It will also consider the unique history, culture and demography of Christmas Island, as well as the financial arrangements underpinning the existing governance model. It will discuss land tenure and asset ownership, which are both contentious issues on the island. Finally, the various future governance options will be examined, with a view to considering whether how effectively they might work within the Christmas Island context. The thesis utilises a range of reports and submissions made on the issue during parliamentary inquiries, as well as contemporary literature on self-determination and governance.

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