Stubborn from Norfolk Island
In 1991, residents of Norfolk Island, located east of mainland Australia, held a referendum at the initiative of their legislature. It was necessary to answer the question: do the islanders want to change the nature of their relationship with the mainland?
The fact is that Norfolk has the official status of a self-governing overseas federation called the Union of Australia. The need for a referendum arose because the special subcommittee of the House of Representatives of the Federal Parliament, sitting in Canberra, carefully studied the structure of local legislative bodies and the laws adopted by him for three years, wanting to establish how much they comply with the rules and practice of mainland Australia. It turned out that not very, and this worried the central government.
Among the projects presented for discussion by parliamentarians in Canberra, the main proposal was to extend to Norfolk a nationwide tax and social security system, which the islanders really did not like.
In order to understand the specific mindset of the inhabitants of Norfolk, you need to take a short excursion into history. The island was originally inhabited by exiled rebels from the legendary Bounty ship. In 1856 they were transported further to Pitcairn Island, and Norfolk, which retained the rebellious spirit of its founding fathers, remained a self-governing British colony until 1896. The island was then administered by the administration in Sydney, and later it moved to Canberra, the capital of the federal Australian states. And in 1874, the federal parliament gave Norfolk “free” – allowed its residents to have their own legislative body and independently manage finances. All this has borne fruit.
The islanders developed their own tax system, thought out how to organize social security and health care most rationally. In short, they lived their own minds. As a result, taxes are two times lower than on the mainland. Business on the island is profitable, and what happens infrequently, the public sector is also quite profitable. Which allows both to take due care of the population.
It so happened that if mainland Australia dreams of creditors at night who owe the country far over $ 100 billion, then Norfolk has no external debt at all. Is it any wonder that during the referendum 100% of the adult population came to the ballot boxes. And this is about a thousand people, of whom 788 strongly supported the preservation of the status quo for Norfolk. No change, the descendants of the Bounty rebels said. Leave us alone, us and so good.
By the way, still.
There are so many green turtles on the Australian island of Heron in the Great Barrier Reef area that the water is literally teeming with them. Their population here is the largest in the world. In summer, females lay 60 to 200 eggs on reefs, and after two months offspring appear. Turtles freely walk around the island, and a tourist who returns to the hotel should not be surprised if he finds them in his room. This is not dangerous. On the ground, turtles are timid and slow, however, once in the water element, they are transformed. They become agile, agile, movements full of grace. And the strength of turtles is such that they can freely drag an adult on a rope. Naturally, by mutual agreement of the parties.
The coastal city of Gladstone in Queensland receives annually more than one hundred thousand tourists who want to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Acquaintance with him can begin from the island of Giron, where there is a research station that studies the life of the sea.
The natural riches of this corner of the planet are amazing, but they are vulnerable. At the beginning of the last century, a delicacy was made on the islands of Giron and the North-West, which was highly valued throughout the world – canned meat from turtles. And about half a century before, one phosphate company decided, using cheap power – Chinese workers, to begin the production of bird droppings on Lady Elliot Island. As a result, vegetation over a vast area was destroyed, which affected the entire natural cycle.
The great reef declared by the reserve was also badly damaged due to oil production here and the everlasting companion of this process – pollution of the sea. Deforestation and the development of high-intensity agriculture on the islands adjacent to the reef have led to depletion of the soil.