SBS News: Norfolk Island Democracy  


SBS World News 16 April 2021

Residents of a tiny Australian island are calling for a return to self-rule to save their culture.

On the external territory of Norfolk Island, a six-year fight against Australian rule by some residents is gathering momentum. It comes as a public inquiry begins into the suspension of its regional council – the island’s last remaining local authority.

On the lawns of Norfolk Island’s old government building, a solitary green tent stands in daily defiance to Australian rule.

Signs around the tent embassy emphatically highlight the long-simmering frustrations among a sizable portion of the community here.

Painted in the island’s colours of green and white, one placard reads ‘Du We Giw Up, We Gwen Win’ in the traditional Norf’lk language. The translation: ‘If we don’t give up, we will win’. Another reads ‘Norfolk under Siege’ in English.

In the centre of town on this eight-by-five-kilometre island, a field of green hands – each one hand-painted and signed by a different community member – also serves as a symbolic demand for self-determination.

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