The Norfolk Island government says Australia's planned political changes for the island are a denial of democratic rights.
Under legislation now being considered in the federal parliament Norfolk Island will lose the autonomy it has enjoyed since 1979.
Its government will be reduced to a local council level with most state functions administered by New South Wales.
The Norfolk chief minister, Lisle Snell, says his government is particularly concerned about the way Canberra has gone about the process.
"If the parliament of Australia approves the amendments to the Norfolk Island Act 1979, without first determining the true wishes of the people, the Commonwealth of the Australia will be recorded in history as having removed the democratic rights of the people on questionable advice and for no proven valid reason."
The Norfolk chief minister, Lisle Snell.
A referendum is being held over the next three weeks to demand that the people have a say in the changes.