Norfolk Island: 'This isn't Australia'

Norfolk Island is unhappy about the new administration imposed by the Aus government

Norfolk Island is taking its argument for self-governance to the UN after the Australian government replaced the island territory's parliament with its own administrator this year.

Located between Victoria and New Zealand, Norfolk Island has its own flag, Commonwealth Games team and even national anthems — God Save the Queen and the Pitcairn hymn.

Lisle Snell is the island's last chief minister and insists Norfolk Island is not part of Australia, despite the recent decision handed down from Canberra.

"This is not Australia, this is Norfolk island, the most beautiful place on earth," Snell told reporter Alex Cullen.

Former Howard government minister Gary Hardgrave has been appointed administrator for the island, and he hasn’t received a warm welcome.

Some businesses have even put up "Hardgrave free zone" signs.

"I’ve never heard people utter the words I hate Australia until I came here," Hardgrave said.

"Somebody decided that I was the person that could do the job and I was asked if I was interested. I saw this as a task that was needing the sort of skill set and experience that I had."

He says the previous system of government had failed and the Island needed Canberra's help.

"Most people living on this island are Australian citizens. Wherever Australian citizens live they should have access to Medicare, social support mechanisms."

"It’s such a pity to see the self-government experiment fail but it was a fail in public policy. It didn’t work. They didn’t repair the roads. They didn’t run the sewage system properly. The electricity system has problems. The phone system is 25 year old antiquated out of date stuff."

In 1979, Norfolk was granted limited self-government by Australia, allowing the island to elect a government that runs most of the island's affairs.

When the GFC hit, financial problems plagued the island due to a reduction in tourism and the administration appealed to the Australian federal government for assistance in 2010.

An agreement was signed in Canberra on March 12 2015 to replace the island's self-government against the wishes of the Norfolk Island government. By July next year Australia’s taxes, laws and welfare system will be imposed on the islanders and
Lisle Snell said it's an outcome no one foresaw.

"Never in a million years would we have asked Australia for money if we knew what the end result would be what the end result is now and that is the abolition of a democratically Westminster system that was working well"