Norfolk Island seeks UN help in battle with Canberra
Norfolk Island groups will next week present a petition to the United Nations seeking listing as a Non-Self-Governing Territory.
Norfolk Island will present a petition to the United Nations in New York next week, seeking listing as one the UN's Non-Self-Territories.
This comes after Australia ended the island's limited self government in July last year and after a year long transitional phase in June Norfolk is set to become a regional council under the control of New South Wales.
Canberra had claimed the island could no longer economically fend for itself, but organisations like the Norfolk Island People for Democracy, the Council of Elders and the former government say this is not so.
The most recent former chief minister for the island, Lisle Snell, told Don Wiseman a large public meeting on Monday gave strong support to their UN petition plan.
LISLE SNELL: Their meeting emphasised and confirmed the views of the Norfolk Island people for democracy. That the pathway that we are following is the pathway that is supported by the majority of the Norfolk Island residents. Particularly the Norfolk Island people.
DON WISEMAN: The petition is aiming specifically for what?
LS: The petition is aiming specifically to list Norfolk Island as a Non-Self-Governing Territory and with that comes certain obligations by the host nation to abide by certain regulations and those are all listed and those regulations will provide us with a clear avenue to become self-government in free association independence or integration and what we are asking for is that Norfolk Island be given the rights that are accorded under the terms and conditions of being a non-self governing territory. It is a very, very historic occasion for us and we can't emphasise strongly enough the importance of this process that we are going through.
DW: It has been estimated that there is somewhere around 1,800 people on Norfolk Island how much support do you think this petition has got?
LS: The support would be, for the petition well in excess of 70 percent of the island now supports the actions taken by the Norfolk Island people for democracy in establishing a petition to be lodged with the United Nations in New York next week.
DW: What indications have you had since you lost your job in the middle of last year, what indications have you had from the Australians who have been running the island of any change of heart any acknowledgement perhaps that this is a valid route to pursue?
LS: We have had very little communication with the Australian authorities we have tried on a number of occasions to seek a meeting with the minister responsible for Norfolk Island Honourable Paul Fletcher. He hasn't responded to our request to meet with him to discuss in a consultative manner the views and the wishes of the people as representative by us and we are, the Norfolk Islands People for Democracy the strongest negotiator for the people at this time. And we are disappointed that the views of the Commonwealth in many areas not only just in consultative areas with us but in many areas of the island have not been forthcoming. They are adopting a code of silence on the total issue of our objections to what is being conducted now in this reform transitional process. We are extremely disappointed at some of the reform process that are affecting people here on Norfolk Island. The stress levels are high distress at losing jobs the arrangements that are being conducted on Norfolk Island have impacted greatly on the citizens and there is a huge degree of uncertainty here of areas such as medical, education, future for a lot of Norfolk Islanders.
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