Free association, or an associated state, is a nation that assumes responsibility for domestic affairs, but continues to depend on the colonial ruler for defence and foreign policy.
So, in Norfolk Islands case, it would mean that a newly formed Norfolk Island government, selected through a democratic electoral process, would be responsible for managing the local island affairs, while being a minor partner in a formal, free relationship with a larger nation, for instance, Australia.
An example is The Cook Islands: a self-governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand.
Free Association means that:
- laws are created locally, to suit local conditions while remaining relevant to life on island.
- it addresses the weaknesses of our previous governance arrangements with regards to financial sustainability.
- ensures Norfolk Island has the necessary powers required to govern effectively.
- guarantees the fundamental right of the Norfolk Island People to determine their own future.
- Allows Australia (for instance) to enjoy economic terms such as market access.
- Enables both parties to form a mutually beneficial relationship that is economically feasible for both.
Norfolk Island People for Democracy.