Norfolk democracy group says support growing
Norfolk Island's People for Democracy says there are early signs it has strong support on the island.
A Norfolk Island group challenging the Australian government's removal of the island's autonomy says there are signs of significant support for their cause.
Norfolk Island People for Democracy was formed 3 weeks ago, at the same time that the island's legislature was formally abolished and Canberra assumed direct control of the island.
The group, which includes many of the island's former politicians, among them four former chief ministers, aims to push for Norfolk Island's inclusion on the United Nations list of non self governing territories.
It wants to do this not to seek independence but to establish a collaborative relationship with Canberra, in which the islanders have a proper democratic say.
David Buffett has been an MP on Norfolk Island for 39 years and he told Don Wiseman that a recent public meeting called by the group attracted more than 200 people.
DAVID BUFFETT: Well attendance at this public meeting is the first. In other words that number of people turned up to express their concern and to share thoughts about how we should move forward. And that group endorsed that we should seek listing as a non self-governing territory. That expression of support was significant. In addition to that we have had people who have come forward offering their services in whatever way and with whatever skills and whether they are large or small to be able to foster and assist our cause. That doesn't necessarily mean monetary support. But it might mean with skill support whether they have IT support whether they have contacts support. Whether they have a range of skills or support that they might want to put forward for Norfolk Island to use in gaining our aims to be listed as a non-self governing territory.
DON WISEMAN: My understanding is you are trying to register people who would back this plan, so what sort of support has that got?
DB: We are going through some processes at this moment firstly incorporating the association so that there is a reference point for the Norfolk Island community and for us to be making approaches beyond Norfolk Island. We are obviously consulting with constitutional lawyers who might give us clear indication about our standing and our approach to be so listed as a non-self governing territory.
DW: What have the constitutional lawyers been able to tell you so far?
DB: So far the constitutional lawyers have indicated to us that we have rights in terms of being so listed.
DW: Have you at this point made any approach to the United Nations?
DB: That a formal approach is yet to be made in that context, we are going through a number of processes and when those processes are in place then that gives us the background to be able to make formal approaches to the united nation institution.
DW: It will be an expensive exercise and so are you getting financial backing and if you are not where will you go for it?
DB: Well they are options that are being examined and I really don't have the information to be able to say A, B or C at this time except to say that there are options for us to seek funding given Norfolk Islands situation.
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