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'There are no indigenous peoples of Norfolk': Australia plays hardball in island dispute

The government has told the UN that the Pitcairn Islanders who settled Norfolk are not indigenous, and nor can the island's population be regarded as an ethnically, religiously, linguistically or culturally distinct minority.

"There are no indigenous peoples of Norfolk Island or indigenous population on Norfolk Island," Australia has written in response to an appeal to the UN by islander Albert Buffett, 79. Australia dismissed Mr Buffett's appeal as emotive and riddled with errors.

Mr Buffett asked the UN to intervene after Australia stripped Norfolk of self-government in 2016, instead running the island from Canberra, using NSW laws. The islanders have a local council. The move has been highly contentious, with Norfolk residents now able to access Medicare, social security and other mainland benefits, but also required to pay taxes and rates, and losing their own parliament.

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Norfolk Island, in the South Pacific Ocean. Picture: Shutterstock

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