8 Mar 2021

Norfolk Islanders tell PM they want democracy restored

7:40 am on 8 March 2021

Key organisations in Norfolk Island have written to Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, pleading with him to restore good governance and democracy.

The Council of Elders, the Chamber of Commerce and the People for Democracy Movement say the removal of the island's autonomy in 2015 was ill-considered and poorly planned.

The island is attached to the suburban Canberra seat of Bean in the federal parliament, has no state government representation and last year its local council was suspended.

Council of Elders President, David Buffett, says something has to change.

Protesters have been hanging up banners and signs.

Protesters have been hanging up banners and signs. Photo: Facebook: Norfolk Island Under Siege

"There needs to be a Norfolk Island democratic process. In other words an elected representative in, say, both what are presently federal matters, and in the range of state matters, as well as obviously in local matters. And that was the system in play obviously before the five year ago change in governance," he says.

Mr Buffett says, from a cultural perspective, the island no longer has a say in the provision of key government services, such as education, policing and health.

"They have been farmed out, for example, to New South Wales and there is now some discussion being held with the Queensland government to farm some out in the Queensland area. But there is no participation by Norfolk Island people in that process, and that is obviously a lack of democracy and in the lack of democracy it means a lessening of our cultural impact in terms of those factors."