11 May 2015

Inquiry wanted into Norfolk governance proposals

7:35 pm on 11 May 2015

The Chief Minister of Norfolk Island says he wants an inquiry into the Australian government's handling of a proposal to strip the island of its long-time autonomy.

The Australian Government has tabled legislation to end Norfolk's autonomy, including abolishing the legislative assembly, saying the island cannot properly administer the federal and state authority it has.

Norfolk Island Flag

Norfolk Island Flag Photo: None

But the Chief Minister, Lisle Snell, says that belief is based on misinformation, and Canberra has completely denied the democratic rights of Norfolk Islanders.

Backed by a referendum that showed an overwhelming majority of people want a say in determining their future political status, Mr Snell says he's going to call for a Senate inquiry into the handling of the proposed changes.

"We hope that they will inquire into how this whole process has been handled. We want an inquiry into the whole situation, if not, we want a Royal Commission. We want better answers than have been given to us. If we can't resolve it under a partnership arrangement we're prepared to go right out to get a satisfactory answer to it."

A Norfolk government minister, Robin Adams, says the federal government bill is based on a fabrication that the community had been adequately consulted.

Ms Adams says the Australian MPs have not been given correct information by the minister responsible, Jamie Briggs.

"That bipartisan support, we believe, is based on erroneous facts. The facts being stated by Minister Briggs, on advice from his department and his administrator, is that this is what the community wants. The community clearly has not said this is what it wants. It wants full facts and to be consulted appropriately."

Robin Adams says the bill would be a denial of human rights and a travesty of justice.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs