HISTORY OF NORFOLK ISLAND - INTO THE FUTURE

With the end of the war, Norfolk Island had the benefit of the airport that had been built.  The isolation of the island was now lessened with the introduction of regular air travel.  Also, contact with Pitcairn Island became more common with the lessening of both the islands’ isolation in the 20th century.

            

The whale population around Norfolk had declined until whaling officially ended on Norfolk in 1962.  Since then, whales have been seen, but never in the numbers that had once been around the island.

            

Some issues with Australia continued to occur, when in 1965 Australia’s power to make laws for Norfolk was challenged by a man who had lived on the island for thirty years, H.S. Newbury.  He lost, and was refused the right to appeal.


A Royal commission was set up in 1976 to determine whether Australia should abandon Norfolk, and a report by Sir John Nimmo recommended that Norfolk be integrated into Australia, which was not welcomed by Norfolk itself.  In the end the recommendation was not followed up, and the Norfolk Island Act was passed by parliament in 1979, giving Norfolk limited self-government and formally establishing the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly (which had the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws).

            

Life on Norfolk continued more or less as normal until there were political changes in the air.  In 2006, the Australian government reviewed the Norfolk Island government but ended up not changing the governance of Norfolk Island for the time being.  A few years later, the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale historical areas were included on the World Heritage List in 2010.

            

Due to financial problems, Norfolk appealed to the Australian federal government for help.  An agreement was signed in Canberra on March 12th 2015 where the Norfolk Government was replaced with a local council.  The reason given was that it was necessary “to address issues of sustainability which have arisen from the model of self-government requiring Norfolk Island to deliver local, state and federal functions since 1979”.  However, most Norfolk Islanders objected (68% voted against the agreement) to the change which occurred without consulting the islanders.  Opposition to these moves come in the form of the “Norfolk Island People for Democracy Inc.” who appeal to the United Nations to include Norfolk Island in the list of “non-self-governing territories.”  There are also people who wish to join with New Zealand rather than Australia.

            

On October 4th, 2015 Norfolk Island changed its time zone from UTC+11:30 to UTC+11:00.  A few months earlier, on June 17th 2015, the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly was abolished to be replaced by an Administrator and an advisory council.  Elections were held for the new regional council on May 28th 2016 with the new council taking office on July 1st 2016.  Hence most of the Australian Commonwealth laws are now on Norfolk Island.  Australian taxes, immigration, and health care, among other aspects, are also now a part of Norfolk.  Travel to Norfolk by plane is considered domestic, and Norfolk residents now vote in the ACT electorate of Canberra.

            

Despite recent developments in an ever-changing world, Norfolk Island with its unique people and culture continues to carry on.


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