9 May 2015

Solid 'Yes' vote in referendum on Norfolk Island governance

12:14 pm on 9 May 2015

Norfolk Islanders voted an overwhelming 'yes' to a referendum on Friday asking if people should have a say in determining the island's political status.

The Chief Minister of Norfolk Island, Lisle Snell, says 624 people voted 'yes', 266 said 'no' and 22 people were not sure.

Mr Snell says clearly locals want a say on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island, not just have a governance model imposed on them.

The Chief Minister of Norfolk Island, Lisle Snell

The Chief Minister of Norfolk Island, Lisle Snell Photo: Supplied

The Australian federal government is considering legislation to strip Norfolk of its long time autonomy.

But he says the referendum results blow a hole in Canberra's assertion that the reforms introduced before the Australian Parliament that propose abolishing the Legislative Assembly and Norfolk Island Parliament were overwhelmingly supported by the people of Norfolk Island.

He says the referendum result clearly exposes that the Norfolk Island community has been misrepresented by the Norfolk Island Administrator to Assistant Minister Jamie Briggs

He says the justification of community support for these changes on which Mr Briggs progressed the Bills can now only be described as flawed.

Mr Snell says he will write immediately to the Australian Government, the Opposition, the Greens and Independent Members and Senators to ensure that the views of the people of Norfolk Island expressed at yesterday's referendum are respected.

And he added that the correspondence, and a community delegation which he will lead from Norfolk Island to Canberra next week, will be seeking a process of consultation to ensure a more acceptable implementation of the Norfolk Island reform process is on the table.

The referendum question was - should people of Norfolk Island have the right to freely determine their political status, economic, social and cultural development, and that people also be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island, before such changes are acted on by the Australian Parliament?

Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island Photo: AFP