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On 8 May 2015, the Norfolk Island People voted overwhelmingly in support of their “right to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development”.

Australia chose to ignore the outcome of the legally constituted referendum and to disregard the rights of the Norfolk Island People.  Consequently in June 2015, the Legislative Assembly of Norfolk Island was abolished and the limited self-governance model afforded the Norfolk Island People by the Commonwealth of Australia in 1979 was removed.

This action by the Commonwealth of Australia led to the formation of the Norfolk Island People for Democracy (NIPD).




On 25 April 2016 Mr Geoffrey Robertson QC, in the company of Mr Albert Buffett, President of the Norfolk Island Council of Elders (the Council) and Mr Ken Christian, Vice President of the Council, lodged a Petition with the United Nations in New York on behalf of the people of Norfolk Island. 


The Petition which is addressed to the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation, requests that Norfolk Island be recognised and listed as a non-self-governing territory.

NIPD - UN Petition-1.png

NIPD sought legal advice on the following questions –

  • Is Norfolk Island a Non-Self-Governing territory within the meaning of Article 73 of the Charter of the United Nations?


  • Is United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514 of 14 December 1960 applicable to Norfolk Island having regard to the Principles expressed in Resolution 1541?


  • What, if any, mechanisms are available to ‘inscribe’ the Island under Article 73(e) of the Charter?

A Joint Opinion advising on these questions was provided to NIPD from Dr Christopher Ward SC (St. James Hall Chambers, Sydney) and Professor Vaughan Lowe QC (Essex Court Chambers, London) on “The Matter of the Status of Norfolk Island as a Non-Self-Governing Territory”.


Dr Chris Ward SC is a recognised expert in the field of international law (public and private) and is a Senior Counsel for the State of New South Wales (2015).

Professor Vaughan Lowe QC is Emeritus Chichele Professor of Public International Law at Oxford University and a Fellow of All Souls College.



Norfolk Islanders are the first people to live continuously as the first native inhabitants; a "whole people" on Norfolk Island, South Pacific. Norfolk Island is our homeland. We love and hold sacred our island. We identify ourselves by our island and as a people we have been shaped by our island.

Norfolk Island is first and foremost the the homeland of the Norfolk Islanders who are a distinct people. Our Ancestry is well documented and globally understood: our forebears infamous HMS Bounty Mutineers and Polynesian mothers Mauatua, Teio,
Teraura, Wahineatua and Toofaiti .

Professor Peter Mühlhäusler M.A (Oxon), M.Phil, Ph.D, F.A.S.A, compiled a report on the Distinctiveness of Norfolk Island Ethnicity, Culture and the Norfolk Language, and found “the Norfolk Island People are distinct ethnically and or culturally from the country administering it"

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