Norfolk Island government wants the people to have a say on Canberra'ss plans to downgrade their political status.
The chief minister of Norfolk Island, Lisle Snell, is today to put a referendum to the island's legislature on Canberra's plans to cut its autonomy.
Since 1979 the Norfolk Island government has enjoyed state level powers but successive Australian governments have been pushing for it to be reduced to shire council status.
Canberra is expected to shortly vote on legislation to make this happen.
But Mr Snell told Don Wiseman the people on the island should have a say on what they want.
LISLE SNELL:The purpose of the motion is to ascertain from the community their wishes that their representation on Norfolk Island be made, they be maintained, kept, and that if any changes are to occur that another further referendum will be available to them on the contents of any change to the governance situation here on Norfolk Island.
DON WISEMAN: Yet for years now Canberra has been pushing for a diminished form of government, a shire type council for Norfolk Island, so why would they pay any attention to a local referendum in the local legislature?
LS: It gives us a little bit more strength in our deliberations with the Commonwealth if the referendum is called upon to support the wishes of the community, and that's what we're trying to do; is to ascertain the wishes of the community.
DW: Yet as we know there are significant sof that community who want what it is that Canberra is proposing, they want this diminished form of autonomy for the island.
LS: Yes, there is. This is a democratic society over here, and there are those that can only see the benefits of taxation in regards to what benefits are available to them and certainly that is their right. But there are a great number of people on the island that wish that we retain some autonomy to be able to decide matters that pertain to Norfolk Island for our own benefit here.
DW: And what sort of support do you think you'll get in the legislature for the referendum?
LS: I'm hoping that it will be supported and that the referendum motion will be agreed to.
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