Australia and South Pacific

Australian royal commission reveals predatory bank lending to small businesses

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 July 2018

Testimony made clear that the banks routinely provided dubious loans that they knew small business owners and franchisees would have little chance of servicing.

In the name of combating foreign interference

Australia’s new secrecy laws block exposure of government crimes

By Mike Head, 14 July 2018

The government is seeking to prevent access to critical information that the public has the right to know.

Australia: Inquest into Dreamworld tragedy reveals health and safety violations

By Richard Phillips, 13 July 2018

A few months before the fatal October 2016 accident, company officials ordered staff to stop spending money on repairs and maintenance.

Australian lawyers association warns foreign interference laws violate rights to free speech

By Richard Phillips, 13 July 2018

“This type of regulation of civil society is a prominent feature of repressive regimes. It is not a feature of open democracies.”

Australia: Victorian bus drivers strike over wages and conditions

By our reporters, 13 July 2018

The Transport Workers Union has previously solicited donations from the bus company that it fraudulently claims to be leading a struggle against.

Australia’s new “foreign interference” laws: A threat to anti-war dissent

By Mike Head, 12 July 2018

The unprecedented laws were demanded by Washington as a model for legislation to demonise and suppress opposition to war, particularly against China.

040 NZ nurses reject union-backed sellout, prepare national strike

11 July 2018

Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) to hold online forum: The way forward for nurses and health workers

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 11 July 2018

The online meeting will discuss a socialist strategy to fight for decent and well-funded public health services, in opposition to the Labour Party-led government and the nurses’ union.

Ultra-nationalist US demagogue Stephen Bannon hails Australia’s new foreign interference laws

By James Cogan, 11 July 2018

The legislation is particularly admired by America’s far right, the Trump administration and the US military-intelligence establishment.

Nauru government bans ABC journalists ahead of Pacific summit

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 July 2018

Backed by the Australian government, Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, has established a virtual dictatorship.

New Zealand defence policy targets China, Russia

By John Braddock, 11 July 2018

In line with the US Trump administration, the NZ Labour-led government is preparing for war abroad and class war at home.

New Zealand nurses reject union-backed sellout, prepare nationwide strike

By Tom Peters, 10 July 2018

Nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives in public hospitals are preparing for a nationwide strike on Thursday, after rejecting a sellout offer recommended by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.

Amnesty International denounces Australia’s “foreign interference” laws

By Richard Phillips, 10 July 2018

“The core message from Amnesty International on these laws is that we will not be changing the way we operate.”

Australian unions’ bogus campaign over sacking of Longford maintenance workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 July 2018

The unions now claim to be leading a “struggle” in defence of the workers, having enforced the destruction of their jobs 12 months ago.

Australia’s foreign interference laws threaten whistleblowers and media freedom

By James Cogan, 9 July 2018

In 2010, Assange and WikiLeaks had committed no crime for informing millions about US war crimes. Today, under the new legislation, such courageous actions could attract a penalty of decades in jail.

Paramedic’s suicide points to crisis in Australian ambulance services

By John Mackay and Cheryl Crisp, 9 July 2018

Tony Jenkins, 54, took his own life following a meeting with senior management in the New South Wales Ambulance Service.

Following passage of “foreign interference” laws

Australia pushes Pacific Pact to combat China

By Mike Head, 7 July 2018

The two regional imperialist powers are seeking to shore up their dominance in the southwest Pacific, in partnership with the US.

Delhi Metro rail threatened with India’s essential services laws; New Zealand teachers vote in favour of strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

7 July 2018

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Australian business heads warned not to criticise “foreign interference” laws

By Mike Head, 6 July 2018

In a sign of the government’s rush to enforce the new laws, they were given royal assent on June 29, just a day after being passed.

New Zealand nurses denounce union promotion of sellout deal

By Tom Peters, 6 July 2018

There is widespread anger as the nursing trade union tries to prevent a strike and impose an agreement that maintains low pay and hospital understaffing.

Australian investigation underscores global health dangers of toxic foam exposure

By Patrick Davies, 6 July 2018

The official response to a PFAS-related cancer cluster in the US city of Oakdale mirrors the indifference of Australian authorities to a similar health crisis.

Persecution of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange continues

By James Cogan, 5 July 2018

The US, British and Australian governments are utilising the Ecuadorian government to try and break Assange by denying him any external communication or visitors.

East Timorese government sworn in, instability escalates

By Patrick O’Connor, 5 July 2018

The new government confronts an escalating political and economic crisis, exacerbated by rising geo-political tensions and the efforts of the US and its allies to counter China’s influence.

Australian teenager sentenced to 12 years in prison on trumped-up terror charges

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 July 2018

The case is the latest in a series of high-profile “terror” prosecutions which have not revealed any specific terror attack or plan.

Australia: Prosecutors drop blackmail charges against construction union officials

By Terry Cook, 4 July 2018

The CFMMEU had worked to prevent the eruption of a struggle by construction workers against the laying of the criminal charges.

Outrage over union’s cancellation of New Zealand nurses’ strike

By Tom Peters, 3 July 2018

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation has cancelled one of two scheduled strikes and is seeking to impose a sell-out deal, virtually identical to that rejected by nurses and other health workers last month.

SEP to hold Brisbane meeting on new “foreign interference” laws: A move towards dictatorship and war

3 July 2018

The new legislation has been imposed amidst xenophobic hysteria in the parliament and the media over “Chinese influence” and “interference.”

Union tries to contain staff anger at Australia’s University of Newcastle

By John Harris, 3 July 2018

The NTEU is isolating the struggles of its members, university by university, against deepening attacks on their conditions and pay.

Australia: Biloela residents continue protests against deportation of Tamil refugee family

By Max Newman, 2 July 2018

A campaign by the people of a small rural Queensland town has brought to light the horrors of Australia’s anti-refugee regime.

Australian farmers testify to royal commission on predatory activities of banks

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 July 2018

Farmers gave evidence that the terms of their bank loans were changed without notice and that they were forced into near-destitution through foreclosures.

Thousands of West Bengal textile workers locked out; New Zealand nurses union cancels planned strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

30 June 2018

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Anti-China “foreign interference” bills rammed through Australian parliament

By Mike Head, 29 June 2018

Totalling some 150 pages, the two bills constitute a far-reaching assault on fundamental legal and democratic rights.

Australian government pushes cuts to student loan scheme

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 June 2018

The Liberal-National government is seeking to force increasingly poverty-stricken young people to repay student debts.

New laws tabled in Australia to deploy troops to suppress domestic unrest

By Mike Head, 28 June 2018

The “war on terrorism” is again being exploited to expand powers to call out the military at home.

US Democratic senators demand eviction of Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy

By James Cogan, 28 June 2018

Leading Democratic senators, including Diane Feinstein and Mark Warner, have declared they are “extremely concerned about Ecuador providing asylum for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

Another suicide in Australian immigration prison camp

By Max Newman, 27 June 2018

A tragic death shows how desperate and vulnerable people are being deliberately subjected to inhuman conditions to deter others from seeking asylum in Australia.

New Zealand’s “First Baby” fuels media frenzy

By John Braddock, 27 June 2018

The orchestrated fawning over the “First Child” is designed to divert attention from the sharpening class struggle within New Zealand and increasing global turmoil.

Bipartisan bid to push through Australian “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 26 June 2018

The bills could be used to outlaw opposition to Australian involvement in any US-led military intervention, particularly a confrontation with China.

Australia: Toys ‘R’ Us closure to destroy 700 jobs

By Terry Cook, 26 June 2018

The chain’s liquidation underscores the parasitic role of private equity firms in collapses throughout the retail sector.

Report finds majority of Australian youth favour socialism

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 June 2018

The poll showed that the growing attraction to socialism is closely related to a rise of anti-capitalist sentiments.

Growing concern in Canberra over PNG links with China

By John Braddock, 25 June 2018

Claims of Chinese influence in Papua New Guinea are being ramped up ahead of November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Port Moresby.

Australia: Telstra announces another 9,500 job cuts

By Oscar Grenfell, 23 June 2018

The telecommunications company is seeking to impose one of the largest mass sackings in Australian corporate history.

State of emergency declared following unrest in Papua New Guinea

By John Braddock, 23 June 2018

Deepening austerity following last year’s discredited election is fuelling unrest and an explosive situation across the impoverished country.

Indian transport workers strike in Uttarakhand, 20,000 health workers continue indefinite walkout in Haryana state

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

23 June 2018

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Australian Senate votes for huge tax cuts for wealthy

By Mike Head, 22 June 2018

The tax plans are designed to boost corporate profits and investors’ incomes under conditions of global turmoil and trade war.

New Zealand nurses reject third sellout deal, prepare to strike

By Tom Peters, 22 June 2018

The nurses’ union is desperately seeking to avoid two 24-hour strikes scheduled for next month.

“Julian fights for peace and defends democratic rights”

Watch: Workers at SEP rally in Sydney demand freedom for Julian Assange

By our reporters, 22 June 2018

Workers and young people who attended the SEP’s Sydney rally denounced the persecution of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange and demanded his immediate release.

Ecuadorian foreign minister warns that Julian Assange’s political asylum is “not forever”

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 June 2018

Valencia’s comments are another indication of a conspiracy to force the WikiLeaks editor out of the Ecuadorian embassy and into British and US custody.

Assange is being punished for exposing state secrecy and the reality of war

By Linda Tenenbaum, 21 June 2018

SEP national committee member Linda Tenenbaum told the Sydney rally that the event was to initiate an international movement in defence of Assange and basic democratic rights.

Educators internationally must stand up for Julian Assange

By Sue Phillips, 21 June 2018

Committee For Public Education national convenor Sue Phillips told the Sydney rally that the defence of Assange is intimately connected to the fight for the democratic and social rights of students, educators and the working class.

Staff at Australia’s Macquarie University vote for unified fight against government cuts

By our correspondent, 20 June 2018

The vote indicates the emergence of highly significant opposition to the decades-long betrayals of the trade unions.

Australian vigils held in defence of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 20 June 2018

Speaking in Melbourne, SEP national secretary James Cogan indicted the Australian political and media establishment for their attacks on Assange and called for a turn to the working class.

Australian government denies palliative care to dying refugee

By Max Newman, 19 June 2018

Successive Australian governments have pioneered many of the brutal measures now being taken in Europe and the US.

The Turnbull government must act to repatriate Australian citizen Julian Assange to Australia

By James Cogan, 19 June 2018

This speech was delivered by James Cogan, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Australia, to a rally organised by the SEP in defence of Julian Assange last Sunday in Sydney.

Bringing Julian Assange Home

By John Pilger, 19 June 2018

Addressing last Sunday's SEP rally in Sydney, well-known filmmaker and documentarian, John Pilger exposed the role of Labor and Coalition governments, along with prominent journalists and editors in the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange.

More voices from the Sydney rally to free Julian Assange

By our reporters, 19 June 2018

“Freedom of thought and expression is what this kind of rally brings. They’re trying to make an example out of Assange to silence all of us.”

Union-management partnership at Australia’s Macquarie University will create “two-tier” workforce

By our correspondent, 18 June 2018

The NTEU is collaborating with management to introduce the “jobs families” plan that will force huge workloads onto 25 percent of teaching staff.

“We’re not asking Malcolm Turnbull to defend Assange, we are telling him!”

Watch: Rally to Free Julian Assange held in Sydney

18 June 2018

Hundreds of people participated in Sunday's demonstration in Sydney Town Hall Square to demand Julian Assange's safe return to Australia. The rally, organised by the Socialist Equality Party, featured speeches from SEP Australia national secretary James Cogan and independent journalist and filmmaker John Pilger.

Workers and young people speak out after Sydney rally to defend Julian Assange

By our reporters, 18 June 2018

“We need heroes like Assange to continue this work and tell us the truth.”

Australian government demands fast-track passage of anti-democratic “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 14 June 2018

The anti-China offensive sees a bipartisan front to ram through powers to crack down on political dissent.

A welcome development:

Actor Geoffrey Rush to return to stage with Melbourne Theatre Company

By Richard Phillips, 14 June 2018

Rush, the target of unsubstantiated allegations by Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, will play Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

Artists Tony Garnett, Davide Dormino and Costantino Ciervo demand freedom for Julian Assange

13 June 2018

Film and TV producer Tony Garnett said defending Julian Assange “is part of the fight for freedom, for the rights of the individual against state oppression.”

Demands grow that Australian government act to free Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 12 June 2018

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson insisted that the Turnbull government can and must intervene on behalf of the WikiLeaks editor.

Australian public high school teachers support campaign to free Julian Assange

By our reporters, 12 June 2018

Socialist Equality Party member Will Marshall moved a resolution in defence of Assange at Footscray City College.

New evidence of more Australian special forces’ war crimes in Afghanistan

By Mike Head, 11 June 2018

After years of official cover-up, a third closed-door inquiry is being conducted in an attempt to whitewash the abuses.

More than half of Australian workers in part-time insecure employment

By Terry Cook, 11 June 2018

Decades of job destruction have produced a “gig economy,” with many young workers unlikely to ever hold a full-time job.

Press conference to be held in Sydney ahead of rallies in defence of Assange

By our reporters, 11 June 2018

Canberra must meet its obligations to protect Julian Assange, as it did for Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste.

Professor Stuart Rees, former director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, calls for Assange’s liberty

9 June 2018

“Julian Assange has worked tirelessly to support free speech and to expose abuses of power by governments.”

US demands swift passage of Australian “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 8 June 2018

US officials “sought assurances” of parliamentary support for the laws directed against China and free speech.

Australia’s disability scheme prepares to restrict access for people with autism

By Max Newman, 7 June 2018

The move to reduce autism services underscores the cost-cutting character of the NDIS.

Fear of working-class unrest triggers Australian minimum pay increase

By Mike Head, 6 June 2018

The industrial judges voiced concerns that record poor wages growth has generated dangerous discontent.

Journalist Antony Loewenstein: “Heavy pressure” needed to win freedom and justice for Assange

6 June 2018

The following statement was sent by journalist and filmmaker Antony Loewenstein, a consistent defender of WikiLeaks.

Australian unions shut down state Labor conference to suppress discussion of anti-refugee policy

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 June 2018

The CFMMEU, presented as a “left-wing” and “militant” union, blocked a motion that questioned the brutal repression of asylum seekers.

Australia: Private health giant Healthscope axes 400 jobs

By Margaret Rees, 5 June 2018

The company is shutting down two hospitals in order to help secure a more favourable takeover bid.

Terry Hicks, father of former Guantánamo Bay prisoner David Hicks, supports Julian Assange

5 June 2018

“We pulled apart all the government and media lies and character assassination against David and we never gave up. This is what we have to do for Assange.”

Lift the ban on communications! Free Julian Assange!

By James Cogan, 4 June 2018

The American state and its allies are seeking to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in order to intimidate every critical and independent media organisation.

Papua New Guinea government plans to block access to Facebook

By John Braddock, 4 June 2018

The threatened month-long ban is part of a shift toward more authoritarian forms of rule, aimed at suppressing opposition to austerity measures and official corruption.

Lawyer Julian Burnside endorses June 17 Sydney demonstration for Assange’s freedom

4 June 2018

“The Turnbull government must help Julian Assange now. He must be helped to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy without being arrested.”

Indian garment workers demand higher pay, teachers demonstrate in China

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

2 June 2018

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Australian “terrorist weapon” was a modified fly swatter

By Mike Head, 1 June 2018

The belated police admission raises further questions about the supposed bomb plot and the “war on terror.”

Two workers killed at Australian paper mill

By Paul Bartizan, 31 May 2018

The cause of the gas exposure is still unclear.

Break the silence on the danger facing Julian Assange

By James Cogan, 31 May 2018

A profound shift has taken place among a layer that previously postured as “liberal,” “left” and even “socialist.”

The working class must mobilize to free Julian Assange!

By Andre Damon, 30 May 2018

The demand for the freedom of Julian Assange must be connected to the developing international movement of workers against inequality, oppression and exploitation.

Rich list shows more Australian billionaires than ever

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 May 2018

The wealthiest six individuals alone control almost as much wealth as the poorest 20 percent of the population.

Official report “just a fob off”

Australia: Residents denounce government response to PFAS health disaster

By our correspondents, 29 May 2018

The WSWS spoke to Terry and Jenny Robinson, who live on a contaminated property near a military base.

Gonski 2.0: A new business blueprint for Australian school education

By Linda Tenenbaum and Susan Allan, 29 May 2018

The most revealing aspect of the new Review is that it fails to provide any assessment of the role of the current education models in the school education crisis.

Demand freedom for Julian Assange! Join the demonstration in Sydney on June 17!

By James Cogan, 29 May 2018

Assange’s situation stems directly from the Australian government’s refusal to protect one of its citizens.

John Pilger endorses June 17 Sydney demonstration in defence of Julian Assange

29 May 2018

“Julian is a courageous editor persecuted for exercising a right enshrined in the United States Constitution.”

Australia’s spy chief demands passage of “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 28 May 2018

ASIO's Director-General Duncan Lewis is a key figure in the security apparatus, which operates as a “deep state” within ruling circles.

Indian port workers to walk out, 30,000 municipal workers remain on strike in Haryana state

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

26 May 2018

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

US-China tensions expose rifts in Australian ruling circles

By Mike Head, 25 May 2018

A parliamentary committee chairman threw a “grenade” into government efforts to overcome a chill in relations with China.

Joint email signals union-management partnership at Australia’s Macquarie University

By our correspondent, 24 May 2018

The NTEU is proceeding with the “strategic” measures in order to impose savage cost-cutting and restructuring

Scientists reveal global warming’s impact on Great Barrier Reef

By Frank Gaglioti, 23 May 2018

Warming events are becoming more frequent, giving coral insufficient time to recover.

Report highlights growing child hunger in Australia

By John Harris, 23 May 2018

Increases to the cost of living, including housing and utility costs, are fuelling a social crisis.

Australian workers and youth defend Julian Assange

By our reporters, 21 May 2018

The support for Assange stands in stark contrast to the venomous hostility to the WikiLeaks editor from governments and the corporate media.

Australian apartment owners to join legal action over flammable cladding

By Paul Bartizan, 21 May 2018

Despite last year’s Grenfell Tower disaster in Britain, Australian governments refuse to take any serious action to remove flammable cladding or stop its widespread use.

Australian government rules out referendum as dual citizenship crisis escalates

By Mike Head and James Cogan, 19 May 2018

The Coalition government has moved to make it even more difficult to prove “unqualified allegiance” to Australia

Australian government “review” prepares deeper public sector cuts

By Terry Cook, 18 May 2018

The review will be a mechanism to justify further privatisations, outsourcing and cuts to jobs and conditions.

Australia: Why is the New South Wales Teachers Federation promoting a new NAPLAN?

By Erika Zimmer, 18 May 2018

Australian teachers have been almost universally hostile to NAPLAN testing which was introduced by the former Rudd Labor government a decade ago.

US State Department accuses China of “economic blackmail”

By Mike Head, 16 May 2018

The Australian media highlighted the provocative report, which alleges that China is using “debtbook diplomacy” to take over Asian and Pacific countries.