Local ordinances and acts apply on the island, where most laws are based on the Australian legal system. English common law applies not covered by either Australian or Norfolk Island law. Suffrage is universal at age eighteen.
The chief of state is Queen Elizabeth II since February 6, 1952. The governments of the United Kingdom and Australia have been represented by A. J. Messner since August 4, 1997. Since April 30, 1997, Assembly President and Chief Minister George Charles Smith has been the head of government. The Executive Council of Norfolk Island is made up of four of the nine members of the Legislative Assembly; the council devises government policy and acts as an advisor to the Administrator.
The Queen's position is hereditary, while the administrator is approinted by the Governor General of Australia. The Chief Minister is elected by the Legislative Assembly for a term of not more than three years.
The unicameral Legislative Assembly consists of nine seats, with members elected by electors who have nine equal votes each but only four votes can be given to any one candidate; members serve three-year terms. The judicial branch of the government is represented by the Supreme Court and the Court of Petty Sessions, while there are no political parties.
As a territory of Australia, Norfolk Island does not have diplomatic representation abroad, or within the territory, and is also not a particpant in any international organizations.
The flag is three vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and green with a large green Norfolk Island pine tree centered in the slightly wider white band.