Petition to the United Nations and
the Status of Norfolk Island as a Non-Self-Governing Territory
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 an unincorporated association titled Norfolk Island People for Democracy (NIPD). A summary of the formation, and the goals and aspirations of NIPD can be found at –
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.
To examine the Petition go to – www.norfolkschoice.com/thepetition.pdf
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) – http://www.sixstjameshall.com.au/christopherward/
Professor Vaughan Lowe QC is Emeritus Chichele Professor of Public International Law at Oxford University and a Fellow of All Souls College – https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/people/vaughan-lowe-qc
To examine the Joint Opinion go to – www.norfolkschoice.com/loweandwardopinion.pdf