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Volunteer DJ sacked by administration

Wednesday 10 February 2016 | Published in Regional

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KINGSTON – A volunteer announcer for Norfolk Island’s public radio station says he was sacked for telling the people the Australian administration has plans to stop funding the station.

Radio Norfolk’s Graham White’s removal comes as the station’s acting manager has also been forced aside in what some on the island say is an attempt to shut out views the administration doesn’t agree with.

The administration is Canberra appointed and preparing Norfolk to be absorbed into New South Wales after its political autonomy was removed eight months ago.

From July 1 the island will become a regional council under the state government.

The Australian administration has been at loggerheads with many on the island over the way it is forcing the changes and shutting people out of the process.

Graham White Radio New Zealand’s Dateline Pacific about his involvement with Radio Norfolk.

“When I came to the island a couple of years ago I complained about the level of music on the local radio station and I was given a position on Saturday and Sunday night to do classical music and poetry and the people.

“ I am surprised actually over the past week or so how many people have told me they enjoyed it.”

DATELINE PACIFIC: As well as that of course you gave some local news and some of it highly pertinent, and some of it not to the liking of the administration. What sort of things?

“Yes, there was a meeting held a couple of months ago by the administration – that had sacked the Norfolk Island council and the administration is just taking over and doing whatever they like – and they called a meeting of all the radio announcers and the manager of the radio station, and announced there would be no more funding for the radio station.

“When I went to air the next week and announced that on air I was severely reprimanded for telling the truth, just the facts. As far as I saw it, it was just news and the island should have been made aware of it.

White said he also tried to bring the funding cut threat to the Australian Minister for Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher when he visited the island.

“When that didn’t work, I put a letter in the local paper stating that there would be no more funding for the radio station, and that is when I got a phone call, within hours, from Peter Gesling who is the
CEO of administration

“I was told I was no longer required at the radio station. When I asked why he wouldn’t give me an answer. And the letter that I have received from him doesn’t have a reason in it. Even though I have asked for a reason in writing – that’s it, I am not required any longer.

DATELINE PACIFIC: So they got rid of you because you told the public something you thought was pertinent but they didn’t want the public to know about it.

“On this island it is very pertinent because the radio station is an absolutely essential service.

“The radio is where you find out who has died, when the funeral is, who’s born, whose birthday it is, lost and found –all this happens every morning on Radio Norfolk and being an absolutely essential service it must be funded.

“It is not something that happens free of charge, even though I didn’t get any money for being on there, but I was asked not to come back because I reported some facts.”

DATELINE PACIFIC: Norfolk doesn’t have a daily
newspaper, there is no television, there is a lot of reliance on radio, so is there any chance at all of any other form of radio, any other commercial radio developing.

“Everyone is talking about it at the moment because of the fuss. Pirate radio, Facebook radio – all sorts of things are being mentioned but at the moment there is no suggestion of anything like that.”

- Dateline Pacific