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The Structure of Norfolk Island's Government

The Government of Norfolk Island consists of:

The Administrator:

appointed by the Governor-General of Australia, and administers the island as a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia. All bills passed by Norfolk Island's Legislative Assembly must be approved by the Administrator before they become laws. The Administrator acts on the advice of Norfolk Island's Executive Council and Australia's Minister for Territories. No Norfolk Islander has ever been appointed to this position.

The Legislative Assembly:

elected for a period of three years by the residents of Norfolk Island. The Legislative Assembly consists of nine members. Its powers to legislate are restricted by the Norfolk Island Act: it may not pass bills authorising the coinage of money, nor any bills involving fishing, customs, immigration, education, quarantine, industrial relations, movable cultural objects and social security; these must be approved not only by the Australian Administrator, but also by Australia's Minister for Territories. Where any legislation is in conflict with ordinances made by Australia's Governor-General, the Norfolk Island legislation is deemed null and void.

The Executive Council:

composed of four of the nine members of the Legislative Assembly. Each member of the Executive Council holds the position of Minister for one or more of a number of portfolios: Finance, Health, Education, Immigration, Lands, Tourism or Works. The role of the Executive Council is to devise governmental policy and advise the Administrator on all matters relating to the government of the island.

The Public Service:

consists of the Chief Administrative Officer and the departments of Administrative Services, Community Services, Finance, Legal and Works. The role of the Public Service is to provide support to the Government of Norfolk Island by the formulation and implementation of public policy. The Chief Administrative Officer is appointed by the Administrator on advice of the Legislative Assembly. Appointments to the departments of the Public Service are made by the Chief Administrative Officer.

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The Judiciary

Norfolk's judicial system consists of a Supreme Court and a Court of Petty Sessions.

The Supreme Court may sit in Norfolk Island, New South Wales, Victoria or the Australian Capital Territory in determining a non-criminal matter. The court has original jurisdiction in serious criminal matters and in matters of a civil nature where damages sought amount to more than $10,000. Criminal matters may by heard by a jury of Norfolk Islanders. The Supreme Court is also the court of appeal from the Court of Petty Sessions, and the Federal Court of Australia is the court of appeal from the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island. The court consists of the Chief Justice, appointed by the Governor-General of Australia, and such other judges as the Governor-General sees fit to appoint.

The Court of Petty Sessions hears criminal matters punishable by fine or summary conviction and may hear minor civil matters. Three magistrates sit on the bench during a hearing, and are appointed from the Australian Capital Territory Courts and also from the island itself.

Norfolk Island's courts also have jurisdiction in the Coral Sea Islands Territory.

A Coroner's Court and an Employment Tribunal may also hear matters of a specific nature.


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