The Commonwealth Government has invested an enormous amount of money on Norfolk Island over the last five years, including helping many in our community through the otherwise devastating financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this support is a result of Norfolk Island’s participation in the Commonwealth taxation and welfare systems, it has nonetheless been greatly appreciated by many in our community.
However, the continued assertions and implications that the Commonwealth investment on Norfolk Island somehow equates to or compensates for not having democratic rights is incorrect.
Unfortunately this is a continuation of another widely spread Commonwealth misnomer that Norfolk Island’s previous democratic arrangements prevented the Commonwealth Government from investing in Norfolk Island in the past. This is categorically false.
The Commonwealth chose not to support Norfolk Island’s previous form of governance because it did not suit their agenda. In fact, the Commonwealth did more than not support that arrangement,
they actively orchestrated its demise.
This explains why all but one of the last eight Norfolk Island Chief Ministers spanning the entire 35 years of the Norfolk Island legislative Assembly, were instrumental in the foundation of the Norfolk Island People for Democracy. Today they remain determined to return democracy to Norfolk Island.
It also helps explain why the Mayor of the Norfolk Island Regional Council is concerned about the Islands democratic deficits and has asked that the Commonwealth Government establish a Royal Commission to explore options to provide for the ‘most appropriate form of government for the non-self-governing territory of Norfolk Island that can achieve the majority support of the Norfolk Island people’.
As Commonwealth taxpayers the conundrum for the Norfolk Island People is not one of Commonwealth investment. Instead it is in understanding why the Norfolk Island People are among only .00015% of Australian citizens that do not enjoy democratic rights?
Sadly, the truth is Norfolk Island’s democracy is a barrier to Australia’s long-held goal to own Norfolk Island.
While the Norfolk Island People understand that the current very-high level of Commonwealth investment is primarily designed to address international criticisms at the removal of the Island’s democracy, from our perspective any Commonwealth investment or assistance extended to Norfolk Island - provided it enjoys the support of the Norfolk Island community, will also enjoy our support.
The Norfolk Island community clearly does not support the current complete absence of democracy on Norfolk Island and we will continue to fight this matter until it is resolved in a manner consistent with the wishes of the Norfolk Island People.
The Council of Elders
The Norfolk Island People for Democracy