Australia and South Pacific

Following police shooting in Yuendumu

Australian governments reject calls for removal of armed police from Aboriginal settlements

By Richard Phillips, 7 December 2019

With about 30 percent of its population being indigenous, the Northern Territory is Australia’s most heavily-policed state or territory.

Australian cities bathed in smoke from hundreds of bushfires

By Martin Scott, 7 December 2019

Fires in four states have destroyed homes and caused hazardous air pollution.

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson speaks at Melbourne forum in defence of Assange

By Eric Ludlow, 7 December 2019

In an indication of growing support for Assange, the forum was attended by over 100 people and addressed by two prominent lawyers and an academic.

Papua New Guinea: Voting under way in Bougainville independence referendum

By John Braddock, 6 December 2019

It is widely expected that most of 206,000 registered voters will cast ballots for independence, but the result remains subject to ratification by the PNG parliament.

Meeting of Australian teachers passes resolutions in defence of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 December 2019

The teachers have taken an important stand which points the way forward for other educators, and for all sections of the working class, in the fight for democratic rights and against the persecution of Assange.

Australian media’s “Chinese spy defection” story unravels

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 December 2019

The collapse of Wang Liqiang’s story, and the revelation that he is most likely “the spy who wasn’t,” is an object lesson in the fraudulent character of the entire anti-China campaign.

Australian teenagers call for support for Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 5 December 2019

“The only way to help Assange is a mass of people having his back and supporting him so that they have to release him because the people are against it.”

Assange is facing a “new form of forced rendition”

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson addresses the Australian press club

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 December 2019

Hrafnsson said Assange’s “rendition” was not taking place “with a sack over the head and an orange jumpsuit, but with the enabling of the UK legal system and with the apparent support of the Australian government.”

Australian government launches “foreign interference” taskforce

By Mike Head, 4 December 2019

The announcement was clearly made to meet demands in the ruling circles for prosecutions under the draconian “foreign interference” laws pushed through parliament last year.

Australian coronial inquiry clears prison officers in death of young Aboriginal man

By Robert Campion, 4 December 2019

References to the need for “greater training” are aimed at covering up the systemic character of state violence against working class, poor and indigenous people thrown into the prison system.

Australia: Vote ‘no’ to the NSWTF salaries agreement! Form rank-and-file committees to defend public education

By the Committee For Public Education, 4 December 2019

The NSW Teachers Federation is seeking to split and isolate teachers as they meet at hundreds of different venues across the state to hear details of the latest award.

Samoa: Death toll mounts in devastating measles epidemic

By Tom Peters, 3 December 2019

The entirely preventable outbreak, which has killed 55 people, is an indictment of the governments of Samoa and also New Zealand, where the outbreak originated.

Australian bank chief resigns over money laundering charges

By Mike Head, 30 November 2019

This latest scandal does not directly involve cheating customers, but centres on allegations of evading official transaction-tracking measures.

Groundswell of support for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 November 2019

The surge of support for Assange is a welcome blow to the conspiracy of silence surrounding his persecution, enforced by governments, establishment parties and the corporate media around the world.

Indian auto parts workers demand union rights; Bangladesh cargo workers on indefinite strike; French Polynesia hotel workers expand walkout

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

30 November 2019

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

Australian Labor Party shuts down parliamentary discussion on Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 November 2019

It is a glaring exposure of the thoroughly rotten character of the Labor Party that, on the issue of Assange, it is well to the right of Joyce, a conservative nationalist and populist.

Australia: Queensland parliament forum reflects growing support for Assange

By Mike Head, 29 November 2019

While largely focussed on lobbying parliamentarians, the meeting gave expression to the deep-felt concern of working class and professional people over the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder.

Australian PM rejects Pamela Anderson’s appeal that his government defend Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 November 2019

The refusal of the Coalition and Labor to uphold Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen is inextricably tied to their support for the US alliance and their own turn to police state measures.

A secret trial in Canberra points to extent of Australia’s police-state powers

By Mike Head, 27 November 2019

All details of the man’s prosecution and imprisonment, even the very existence of the case, have been suppressed by undisclosed gag orders.

Christoph Vandreier and David North to speak at Sydney Gleebooks launch of Why Are They Back?

27 November 2019

Vandreier’s and North’s discussion will focus on the historical lessons that must be learned in order to build a mass working class movement capable of preventing the disaster of Nazism from taking place on an even greater scale today.

Resolution: Stop the US extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange! Free Assange and Manning!

26 November 2019

The following resolution was unanimously adopted by a meeting called by the Socialist Equality Party in Sydney last November 24. Similar resolutions were passed at events in Brisbane, Alice Springs and Wellington, New Zealand.

Australian media and intelligence agencies reveal “Chinese spy” defection

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 November 2019

Despite the implausible character of many of the defector’s claims, they have been presented uncritically by media outlets seeking to bolster the escalating and protracted campaign against supposed “Chinese interference.”

Meetings in Australia and New Zealand pass resolutions demanding freedom of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

By our reporter, 26 November 2019

The meetings on the weekend took place just days after Swedish prosecutors had abandoned—for the third time—their “preliminary investigation” into the false allegations that Assange had committed sexual assault.

Attendees at meetings in Australia and NZ support campaign for release of Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 26 November 2019

“What’s happening to Julian Assange affects us all. He has told the truth and he has exposed the war criminals and that’s why the US wants him.”

Australian Labor Party leader steps up pitch to big business

By Mike Head, 25 November 2019

Albanese lauded the Labor governments of the 1980s and 1990s for their pro-market restructuring, and committed Labor to implementing the next wave of such “reform.”

“We are all Julian Assange”

Interviews with Alice Springs workers and youth about public meeting to defend Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 23 November 2019

Popular support in Alice Springs for imprisoned journalist Julian Assange is matched by a deep distrust of government authorities and the major parliamentary parties.

Rising seas threaten US Pacific nuclear dump

By John Braddock, 23 November 2019

A concrete dome, a relic of the US nuclear testing program, is breaking up and beginning to spill deadly nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean.

Sydney Morning Herald columnist defends Swedish frame-up of Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 November 2019

Miller’s article had the character of a rearguard action, aimed at defending the discredited lies and slanders that have been used to justify the persecution of Julian Assange.

Australian bushfire crisis spreads as PM denies climate change link

By Mike Head, 22 November 2019

Apocalyptic scenes of raging walls of flames, orange skies and acrid smoke hazes in major cities have fuelled a political crisis.

Former Australian spy chief steps up anti-China campaign

By Nick Beams, 22 November 2019

After stoking paranoia over an purported Chinese “threat,” Lewis called on members of the Chinese community to be recruited to assist the security agencies in the same way people in Islamic communities had been enlisted to inform on alleged “terrorist” risks.

Conference at European Parliament defends Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 November 2019

Speakers warned that the persecution of Assange was creating a precedent for the suppression of press freedom and for the application of repressive US laws all over the world.

Australian Strategic Forum tries to downplay danger of US-China conflict

By James Cogan, 21 November 2019

Warnings that US-China tensions could lead to war were largely dismissed by the majority of the forum speakers.

Australian Labor Party leader dodges state party conference

By Mike Head, 20 November 2019

The fact that Albanese felt he could not appear spoke volumes about the political crisis gripping the party.

Australian establishment up-in-arms after Beijing bans visit by two MPs

By James Cogan, 19 November 2019

The hypocrisy of the latest anti-China outburst is underscored by the Australian government refusal to allow Chelsea Manning, the American whistleblower and defender of democratic rights, to travel to the country.

Trial begins over 2015 anti-government protest on Nauru

By John Braddock, 19 November 2019

The trial of fifteen activists and former politicians involved in an anti-government protest has been condemned as a sham.

New Zealand police introduce new armed units

By Tom Peters, 16 November 2019

The Labour Party-led government is exploiting the Christchurch terrorist attack to further arm the police and increase their anti-democratic powers.

Indian Honda contract workers still on strike; West Bengal teachers demand pay rise; maintenance workers take industrial action at Australian paper mill

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

16 November 2019

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

Australia: Bushfires continue to ravage New South Wales and Queensland

By Martin Scott, 14 November 2019

Four people are dead and more than 300 homes have been lost in catastrophic fires.

New Zealand cabinet minister echoes fascist gunman’s manifesto

By John Braddock, 14 November 2019

The NZ First MP’s calculated rant, with its fixation on “birth rates” and scare-mongering over “legions” of immigrants, mirror the Christchurch terrorist’s fascist screed.

Australian aged care report: “A shocking tale of neglect”

By Cheryl Crisp, 13 November 2019

The inquiry’s “urgent” recommendations do nothing to address the underlying reasons for these appalling conditions.

Australian workers and youth speak-out in support of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 13 November 2019

“Governments are trying to hide the truth and lie to the people. That’s why they are unfairly persecuting Assange and confining him to prison.”

Australian Labor Party review covers up causes of federal election debacle

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 November 2019

The real reason for Labor’s defeat is that it is incapable of making a credible appeal to workers and young people, after decades of having imposed the dictates of big business.

Measles epidemic spreads from New Zealand to Pacific Islands

By John Braddock, 9 November 2019

Scientists had been warning of the danger of an outbreak, but requests for a campaign to plug immunisation gaps were ignored.

Australia: All Sydney bus services to be privatised within two years

By Martin Scott, 9 November 2019

Thousands of drivers and other workers face an uncertain future as the state government continues the sell-off of public transport.

Honda motorcycle and Kerala state transport workers strike in India; Pakistan health workers oppose privatisation

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

9 November 2019

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

Australia: Woolworths admits to massively underpaying staff

By Terry Cook, 8 November 2019

In one of the most glaring examples of the widespread practice of wage theft, Australia’s largest supermarket chain has admitted to underpaying thousands of staff by $300 million over the past decade.

New Zealand Labour-led government extends draconian anti-terror laws

By John Braddock, 7 November 2019

The new legislation, which proposes new control orders for people trying to return home after allegedly supporting extremist groups overseas, vastly expands existing anti-terror laws.

Australia: Mobilise students, staff and academics against the closure of Macquarie University’s human sciences faculty

By the Committee for Public Education, 7 November 2019

The National Tertiary Education Union’s major concern is not the job cuts themselves, but that they were left out of the “consultation process” required to implement them.

Australia: One third of Mascot Tower owners face bankruptcy over $20 million repair bill

By John Wilson, 7 November 2019

Australian state and local governments, along with the construction industry, are seeking to shirk all responsibility for a plethora of problems in apartments built over the past 25 years.

Australian Greens member demands party leader defend Julian Assange

7 November 2019

“Assange is being held as a political prisoner. That is undeniable now, and still no action from the Greens... Ultimately, you have abandoned Assange.”

Geoffrey Rush defamation victory contested in Sydney’s Federal Court

By Linda Tenenbaum, 7 November 2019

The appeal by Murdoch-owned Nationwide News against last year’s Federal Court judgement in favour of Oscar-winning Australian actor, Geoffrey Rush, was heard early this week.

Former Australian PM asked to register under “foreign agent” laws

By Mike Head, 6 November 2019

The initial targeting of alt-right elements sets a precedent for the use of the laws against their intended victims—left-wing and oppositional groups.

Australia: Bullied teachers reveal union complicity in victimisations—Part 2

By Sue Phillips and Erika Zimmer, 5 November 2019

The WSWS and Committee for Public Education discuss the crisis in Australia’s public schools, with the founders of Bullied Teachers Support Network.

Bipartisan drive to outlaw protest in Australia

By Mike Head, 5 November 2019

Prime Minister Morrison adopted the fascistic language of US President Donald Trump, accusing climate change demonstrators of “economic sabotage.”

Julian Assange calls for workers to organise in his defence

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 November 2019

Assange’s appeal for workers to form “blocs” in their workplaces is an important call for the mobilisation of the working class to fight for his freedom.

Australia: Official unemployment figures downplay growing jobs crisis

By Terry Cook, 2 November 2019

The mass destruction of full-time jobs and a rapid growth in casualisation across every sector has been overseen by Liberal and Labor governments alike.

New Zealand: Anti-China propagandist Anne-Marie Brady speaks at Victoria University of Wellington

By Tom Peters, 2 November 2019

Brady is demanding a full-scale witch hunt against Chinese “interference” in order to align New Zealand even more closely with US war preparations.

Australia: Further cuts to jobs and working conditions loom in NSW power industry

By Patrick Davies, 1 November 2019

The energy minister issued a “pause directive” to the state-owned corporation in an attempt to quell opposition to the job cuts and to enlist the unions in imposing cost cutting.

Australian Labor Party leader puts big business “first and foremost”

By Mike Head, 1 November 2019

Albanese vowed to ensure that businesses “thrive and flourish,” including by restructuring the industrial relations system to enhance the “gig economy.”

Australian police violently attack climate change protestors

By our reporters, 31 October 2019

The incident marks a further escalation of state repression in Australia against protest and dissent.

Video: 70 years after the Chinese Revolution—How the struggle for socialism was betrayed

31 October 2019

The following lecture was delivered by Peter Symonds at eight campuses in Australia and at meeting in Wellington, New Zealand.

Australian and New Zealand students speak after lecture on 70th anniversary of Chinese Revolution

By our reporters, 31 October 2019

“The real root ideas of socialism were not implemented in China from the bottom-up. I learnt that Trotskyism is internationalism, but Mao did not agree with that perspective.”

Australian state Labor government spearheads anti-protest laws

By Mike Head, 30 October 2019

Queensland’s government has defied popular opposition to rush through legislation that goes far beyond suppressing environmental demonstrations.

Australian parliamentarians form cross-party group in defence of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 October 2019

The establishment of the group is in response to a growing groundswell of demands for the Australian government to stop Assange’s extradition to the US.

Workers and students from Chile speak out at protest in Sydney, Australia

By our reporters, 29 October 2019

Reflecting the sentiments of many, Carlos, a musician, said the “battle between the rich and poor has always been a huge feature of Chilean struggle.”

Public meetings in Australia and New Zealand

Stop the US extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange! Free Assange and Manning!

28 October 2019

The aim of the meetings is to prepare for the political action that must be organised in Australia and internationally in opposition to the legal travesty against Assange that is underway in the British courts.

More evidence of cover-up of Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

By Mike Head, 26 October 2019

The damning disclosures underscore why the government is intensifying its efforts to suppress media freedom.

400,000 bank workers strike across India

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

26 October 2019

While almost half a million Indian bank employees walked off the job, tens of thousands of teachers and healthcare workers across the sub-continent have engaged in strikes and protests.

Major write down of Australian growth forecast as global contradictions intensify

By Nick Beams, 23 October 2019

In just 12 months, the International Monetary Fund has cut its Australian growth prediction for 2019 from 2.8 percent to 1.7 percent.

Inquiry whitewashes Kiribati government over ferry disaster

By John Braddock, 21 October 2019

The report identifies no criminal culpability in Kiribati's worst ever disaster, which led to 95 deaths and makes no criticism of the government or its agencies.

Australia: Inspections reveal dangerous conditions on NSW construction sites

By Terry Cook, 21 October 2019

The NSW government's promises are aimed at placating public outrage over conditions in the construction sector, the third most dangerous by workplace fatalities.

Growing calls for Australian government to defend Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 October 2019

The fear in Australian ruling circles is that if Assange is extradited to the US, the latent support for him will coalesce into a political movement against the official set-up.

Tens of thousands of Indian transport and aircraft manufacturing workers strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

19 October 2019

Some 49,000 transport workers in the state of Telangana walked-out in defiance of government threats to their jobs, while more than 20,000 employees of a state-owned defence company took strike action.

UN official’s briefing on torture of Assange boycotted by US media

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 October 2019

The media silence is a continuation of its complicity in what UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer has described as the “public mobbing” of Assange.

Australia: “Four Corners” program promotes anti-China witch-hunt

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 October 2019

The program underscores the role of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a mouthpiece for the political establishment and the intelligence agencies.

Government has no solution to Australia’s water crisis

By Martin Scott, 16 October 2019

Hundreds of thousands in the state of New South Wales face running out of water before the end of next year

Australian governments trial police-state measures against climate protesters

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 October 2019

The authorities are using the demonstrations as a test case for future repression of the emerging social and political struggles of the working class.

Six months since the brutal arrest of WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 October 2019

While Assange is subjected to what amounts to torture in a British prison, the war criminals he has done so much to expose walk free.

Official cover-up continues of Australian paramedic’s suicide

By Cheryl Crisp, 12 October 2019

Undisclosed disciplinary action against senior managers over the death of Tony Jenkins is at odds with a NSW Ambulance report that identified systemic deficiencies.

Australian government ministers call for protesters to be cut off welfare

By Mike Head, 11 October 2019

While the remarks referred to “Extinction Rebellion” demonstrators who temporarily blocked some traffic in major cities, they have a wider anti-democratic logic.

Australian cyber conference “disinvites” US whistleblower and Assange supporter

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 October 2019

The cancellation of talks by NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and Melbourne academic Suelette Dreyfus was a political decision, most likely involving government agencies.

Thousands of Assam tea workers strike over bonus payments; 17,000 non-academic university workers remain on strike in Sri Lanka

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

5 October 2019

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

Australia: Another “super union” merger—a bigger industrial policeman

By Terry Cook, 4 October 2019

Claims that the merger of United Voice and the National Union of Workers will serve the interests of workers are belied by the betrayals and sell-outs of both organisations.

Australian central bank cuts interest rates to record low

By Mike Head, 3 October 2019

The speed and scale of the rate cuts point to alarm within the financial elite about the turmoil gripping the world capitalist economy and deepening slump in Australia.

Australia: Melbourne tram drivers take further strike action

By Patrick O’Connor, 3 October 2019

The tram drivers have twice overwhelmingly voted down company offers for a regressive new enterprise agreement.

New Zealand: Unexplained death at university hall of residence

By John Braddock, 3 October 2019

While stresses on students are escalating, privately-run residential halls maintain profits by cost-cutting and slashing pastoral care.

Crisis of unmet need in New Zealand’s health system

By Harry Hall, 2 October 2019

Thousands of people are being denied surgery and treatment for cancer, endometriosis, mental health and other conditions, due to chronic understaffing and under-resourcing.

New industrial “integrity” laws seek to head off working class eruption in Australia

By Terry Cook, 1 October 2019

The Morrison government’s legislation is a pre-emptive move by the corporate establishment which is nervous about rising strike action by workers internationally despite the efforts of the unions to hold them back.

170,000 join climate change protests in New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 28 September 2019

School students were joined by tens of thousands of workers and university students to demand action to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Solomon Islands and Kiribati cut ties with Taiwan, shift to China

By John Braddock, 28 September 2019

The diplomatic shifts underscore the deepening geo-strategic confrontation in the Pacific amid the intensifying US-led trade war.

Underpayment and wage theft rampant in Australia

By Karen Maxwell and Richard Phillips, 27 September 2019

The “underpayment of wages” businesses model is expanding across a range of sectors.

Australian troops accused of war crimes in Afghanistan

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 September 2019

Anonymous soldiers interviewed by “60 Minutes” alleged that Ben Roberts-Smith, who is widely presented as a “war hero,” kicked a handcuffed Afghan civilian off a cliff in 2012.

Australian government seeks arbitrary powers to revoke citizenship

By Mike Head, 25 September 2019

The Citizenship Cessation Bill is another indication of the repressive measures that the ruling class is preparing to deal with rising working-class discontent.

Echoing Trump administration, Australian leader advocates end to China’s “developing country” status

By James Cogan, 24 September 2019

Morrison signalled that Australia will join with the US in its escalating campaign to economically cripple China.

Australian government “balances” budget at expense of disabled

By Mike Head, 23 September 2019

The Morrison government “saved” $4.6 billion by underfunding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and cutting a total of $6.4 billion from social programs.

Millions march against climate change, capitalism and war

By Bryan Dyne and Will Morrow, 21 September 2019

“Any talk about climate change must include socialism and the economic system.”

Climate strike protesters speak out: “There’s willful blindness on this issue, because fixing it conflicts with capitalism”

By our reporters, 21 September 2019

WSWS reporters spoke with climate strike protesters in cities around the globe.

Bushfires in Australia: Another symptom of climate change

By Frank Gaglioti, 21 September 2019

Early spring fires are an “omen” of an unprecedented and disastrous season ahead due to hot, windy and dry conditions.

Older people keep working due to economic necessity in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 21 September 2019

The development of technology should mean working lives are shortened, but under the capitalist profit system people are forced to work longer.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

GM workers in South Korea strike over wages; Pakistan higher education teachers walkout; Psychologists continue industrial action in New Zealand

21 September 2019

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