Australia

Intensive CIA spying on Assange targeted his infant child

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 April 2020

As the US government finalised its bogus charges against Assange, it oversaw dirty tricks operations targeting his partner and their infant child.

Bangladesh garment workers strike against COVID-19 job and wage cuts; Australian maritime union ends strike over COVID-19 at Hutchison Ports

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

18 April 2020

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

Australian teachers speak out against unsafe conditions

By our reporters, 17 April 2020

One teacher said: “We are seeing that the allocation of resources is not to support social safety but to enrich a few super-wealthy oligarchs.”

Unemployment already at Great Depression levels in Australia

By Mike Head, 16 April 2020

A record 3.92 million workers, or 27.4 percent, were either unemployed or under-employed by the end of March.

COVID-19 and the role of Labor and the unions in Australia

By Mike Head, 16 April 2020

In fighting against mass unemployment, financial ruin and the danger to their very health and lives in many workplaces, the chief political obstacle confronting the working class is the Labor and union apparatus.

Australian police use COVID-19 emergency powers to ban refugee detention protest

By Max Newman, 16 April 2020

The police action, which state Premier Daniel Andrews’ Labor government must have authorised, constitutes a direct attack on the right to protest.

Australia: Two hospitals close in Tasmania after COVID-19 outbreak

By Martin Scott, 15 April 2020

Six patients have died and more than 40 health workers have tested positive.

Massive increase in toxic emissions at Australian coal power plant

By Martin Scott, 15 April 2020

The Vales Point power station was sold by the government to a multi-millionaire for just $1 million.

Australian government demands staged reopening of the school system

By Erika Zimmer, 14 April 2020

The Australian government is pressing for schools across the country to reopen, as part of a wider move to lift social distancing and other restrictions put in place for the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian construction workers denounce union enforcement of unsafe conditions

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 April 2020

The union has responded to the outpouring of anger by mass deleting Facebook comments and declaring that work must continue, despite the dangers posed by the pandemic.

Australian university union in backroom talks to slash jobs and conditions amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Mike Head, 14 April 2020

NTEU members received an email from the union saying it is in discussions with the employers about measures “we would never normally consider.”

Australian hospitals lack ventilators and staff to deal with pandemic

By Clare Bruderlin, 11 April 2020

A ventilator manufacturing deal this week highlighted the shortage of urgently-needed intensive care medical equipment.

India: Punjab health workers and poor farmers protest over inadequate COVID-19 supplies; Queensland public health workers demand promised wage rise

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

11 April 2020

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

Australian government bails out private childcare industry

By Erika Zimmer and Amanda Johnstone, 10 April 2020

As with every other measure taken by the government, the sole concern is to get workers back on the job, regardless of the COVID-19 danger.

Australian governments prepare to push workers back into unsafe workplaces

By Mike Head, 10 April 2020

Discussions about “herd immunity” are taking place in ruling circles.

Labor and the unions help push corporate bailout through Australian parliament

By Mike Head, 9 April 2020

The main thrust of the bills is to allow employers to cut wages, working hours and other working conditions.

Decline in COVID-19 testing casts doubt on claims Australia is “flattening the curve”

By Martin Scott, 9 April 2020

The narrow focus of testing conceals the true scope of the pandemic.

At IYSSE (Australia) online lecture, Nick Beams exposes Socialist Alternative and the pseudo-left

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 April 2020

The event was attended by an appreciative audience of more than 190 workers, students and young people.

Vindictive court rulings prove British state wants Assange dead

By Thomas Scripps, 8 April 2020

Judge Vanessa Baraitser has decreed that Assange will remain behind bars and that his extradition show-trial will proceed in May, even as the coronavirus pandemic spreads rapidly in British prisons.

999 Australia: Labor and the unions and COVID-19

8 April 2020

Australian unions tell employers: “You can get everything you want”

By Mike Head, 7 April 2020

Sally McManus’s interview indicates how much the ruling elite is depending on the trade unions to quash unrest in the working class.

Australian government “pauses” hounding welfare recipients in face of massive jobless queues

By Margaret Rees, 6 April 2020

Fear of social unrest forced a temporary suspension of “accounts payable” letters alleging over-payment of benefits.

Australian Committee for Public Education holds successful online meeting on pandemic crisis

By our reporters, 6 April 2020

The Socialist Equality Party’s (US) candidate for vice president, Norissa Santa Cruz, brought greetings to the meeting which was attended by more than 70 people.

IYSSE (Australia) online lecture Tuesday night: Socialist Alternative and the politics of the pseudo-left

6 April 2020

Beams will explain that the struggle to build a socialist movement of the working class requires a fight against all those tendencies that seek to channel opposition behind the political establishment.

Australian airline exploits pandemic in an attempt to sink rivals

By Terry Cook, 4 April 2020

Qantas CEO: “This will be a survival of the fittest and Qantas is one of the fittest and most dynamic airlines in the world.”

Pandemic accelerates union-government-employer collaboration in Australia

By Mike Head, 4 April 2020

ACTU leader Sally McManus is being feted by the corporate media as a “star” of the deepening coronavirus crisis.

Attend the Committee for Public Education online meeting

The COVID-19 pandemic: The political issues confronting educators

By the Committee for Public Education (Australia), 4 April 2020

We invite readers in Australia and internationally—especially teachers, school staff, academics, kindergarten and childcare workers, parents and students—to take part in the online meeting.

Tea estate workers in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as well as medical workers in India and Papua New Guinea strike over COVID-19 dangers

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

4 April 2020

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

Australian governments threaten the safety and lives of thousands of cruise ship workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 April 2020

Labor and Liberal-National governments are blocking thousands of workers at risk of contracting coronavirus from disembarking the vessels.

South Australian teacher speaks out against governments keeping schools open

By Sue Phillips, 3 April 2020

Amidst the mounting coronavirus danger, teachers are demanding the closure of schools.

Australia: Melbourne rail union promotes sellout industrial agreement

By Patrick O’Connor, 3 April 2020

The union bureaucracy cynically invoked the COVID-19 pandemic to justify the proposed deal.

COVID-19 infections hit Australian health workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 April 2020

Medical professionals across the country have made ongoing complaints that they lack sufficient quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks.

Unprecedented police and military powers implemented in Australian pandemic response

By Mike Head, 1 April 2020

Lockdown measures that have become necessary to try to contain the coronavirus are being enforced in the most heavy-handed manner.

COVID-19 pandemic leads to mass sackings in Australia

By Martin Scott, 1 April 2020

Unemployment is likely to rise above 15 percent as hundreds of thousands of workers lose their jobs.

Australian government resorts to “pandemic capitalism” as depression looms

By Mike Head, 31 March 2020

The $130 billion “wage subsidy” bonanza for employers is more than the annual federal government budget for health and education combined.

Australian warehouse workers strike over COVID-19 safety demands

By Patrick O’Connor, 31 March 2020

The strike lasted several hours, only ending after management promised to improve social distancing and sanitising.

Australian governments pour billions more into big business as pandemic spreads

By Mike Head, 30 March 2020

The stark discrepancy between the “economic” and “health” packages epitomises the response of Australia’s bipartisan “national cabinet.”

999 The Australian Labor Party’s response to coronavirus

30 March 2020

Australian governments reject calls for lockdown despite rising COVID-19 danger

By Mike Head, 28 March 2020

The “national cabinet” is determined to keep as many workers as possible on the job in order to shore up corporate profits.

Australian medical workers speak on the growing crisis in the health system

By our correspondents, 28 March 2020

Health workers are increasingly being forced to source their own supplies to ensure they and their colleagues have masks, goggles, gowns and gloves.

Strong response to Nick Beams’ IYSSE (Australia) online lecture on coronavirus pandemic

By Oscar Grenfell, 28 March 2020

The refusal of governments to take the necessary measures to address the pandemic, Beams stated, was inextricably tied to the systematic social attacks on the working class.

Pakistan: District government workers strike over unpaid wages; New Zealand plastics workers strike over COVID-19 concerns

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

28 March 2020

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

Australian school system in chaos after coronavirus semi-closures

By Patrick Kelly, 27 March 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s insistence that schools remain open as usual reflected economic, not health, considerations.

Australia’s imprisoned refugees plead for release as coronavirus risk increases

By Max Newman, 27 March 2020

Detainees have protested at being held “in a potential death trap in which we have no option or means to protect ourselves.”

Australian unions and employers demand workers stay on building sites despite pandemic

By Terry Cook, 27 March 2020

The unions are determined to utilise the coronavirus crisis to prove themselves indispensible to big business.

The wealth of Australia’s richest 250 soars to $377 billion

By Clare Bruderlin, 26 March 2020

According to the Murdoch media magazine, the number of billionaires has more than trebled in two years, from 33 to 117.

Australia unprepared for surge as coronavirus infections, fatalities mount

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 March 2020

Even before a dramatic spike in hospitalisations, there are shortages of protective masks and other essential equipment.

Latest Australian COVID-19 measures driven by concern about profits, not health

By Mike Head, 25 March 2020

Prime Minister Morrison channeled Donald Trump and insisted on keeping “the economy” going, regardless of the mounting danger to the health and lives of millions of people.

Great Depression-like mass jobless queues across Australia

By Mike Head, 24 March 2020

Showing the contempt of governments, lines of up to 200 metres snake around entire city and suburban blocks.

Australia: Coronavirus cancellations decimate live performance industry

By Martin Scott, 24 March 2020

Tens of thousands of performers are facing an indeterminate period without work.

“Life before profits—close the schools down!”

Australian teachers and school workers speak out on dangerous working conditions amid pandemic

By the Committee for Public Education, 23 March 2020

One teacher said: “We should not be expected to work in these unsafe conditions and students should not be expected to go to school either.”

Australian state of Victoria shuts down school system, other states remain open

By Patrick Kelly, 23 March 2020

The chaotic situation reflects the wider disarray and criminal neglect in the ruling elite’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

COVID-19 health disaster and political crisis intensify in Australia

By Mike Head, 23 March 2020

Yesterday the soaring rate of infections triggered an open rift in the self-styled “national cabinet” and forced governments into partial economic shutdowns.

“Four Corners” program exposes Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

By John Harris, 23 March 2020

The actions revealed in the program, including the execution of unarmed civilians, have doubtless been known by successive governments, Labor and Coalition alike.

Australian governments refuse to close schools over COVID-19

By Erika Zimmer and Patrick Kelly, 21 March 2020

Schools are being kept open, at the expense of public health, in order to minimise disruption to corporate profit-making.

An interview with an Australian school teacher fearing coronavirus exposure

By our reporters, 21 March 2020

The teacher’s situation underscores the urgency of the Committee for Public Education’s demand for the immediate closure of schools and for teachers to form Action Committees.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

21 March 2020

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

Qantas spearheads mass layoffs in Australia as pandemic worsens

By Mike Head, 20 March 2020

The federal and state governments are handing billions of dollars to the banks and corporate elite as they unleash massive job losses.

Australian government continues to imprison Tamil refugee family

By Max Newman, 20 March 2020

Despite legal challenges and widespread opposition, the government remains determined to deport the family to Sri Lanka.

Australian doctors condemn government response to COVID-19 “disaster”

By Mike Head, 19 March 2020

Letters, signed by thousands of doctors, warn that a catastrophe “worse” than Italy’s can only be averted by a lockdown and the urgent pouring of resources into hospitals.

Doctors condemn Australian government’s refusal to defend Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 March 2020

Doctors4Assange has restated its demand that the Australian government immediately fulfil its obligations to Assange, under conditions in which his life is imperilled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian workers face mass job cuts amid coronavirus crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 March 2020

Millions of workers, especially those employed on a casual basis, face financial ruin amid the collapse of the airline, hospitality and tourism sectors.

Australian government to use “foreign interference” laws against China-linked targets

By Mike Head, 18 March 2020

Under US pressure, the Morrison government is making Chinese people the initial victims of the legislation, to help create the conditions to more broadly outlaw anti-war and anti-government political activity.

Close Australian schools to stave off coronavirus! Form action committees of teachers and school staff!

By the Committee for Public Education, 18 March 2020

The Committee for Public Education insists that in the face of a public health emergency, the voices of teachers and education workers must be heard!

Health official warns that 150,000 Australians could die in coronavirus pandemic

By Mike Head, 17 March 2020

Many of these people will die as a direct result of the failure of the governments, both federal and state, to take the urgently needed action and allocate the necessary medical resources.

Australian governments invoke emergency powers amid COVID-19 disaster

By Mike Head, 17 March 2020

These laws contain powers only previously used in wartime, such as arbitrarily detaining, imprisoning or imposing massive fines on people, to be imposed now in the name of protecting public health.

Australia: Queensland coroner finds Ardent Leisure culpable for Dreamworld theme park deaths

By Terry Cook, 17 March 2020

The coronial report demonstrated that the four tragic deaths in 2016 were the result of the subordination of customers’ safety to the pursuit of profit.

Australian universities exploit COVID-19 crisis to cut jobs and courses

By Mike Head, 16 March 2020

The University of Tasmania last week announced the elimination of about three-quarters of its course offerings by next year.

Australian medical official warns coronavirus could infect 1.5 million in NSW

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 March 2020

Doctors have warned that as the pandemic spreads, they may be unable to treat critically-ill patients due to hospital bed shortages.

Australia: Melbourne teachers vote to defend Assange and Manning

By the Committee For Public Education (CFPE), 14 March 2020

The important stand taken by the teachers should be followed by employees at every workplace and industry around the world.

Tamil Nadu sanitary workers demand permanent jobs; Sri Lankan plantation workers strike; New Zealand bus drivers resume industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

14 March 2020

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

Australian government hands billions to business as coronavirus worsens economic slump

By Mike Head, 13 March 2020

Within hours, Morrison’s “stimulus” package was swamped by the deteriorating economic news from around the world and share prices plunged.

Growing opposition to company-union attacks at Qantas Australia

By Terry Cook, 13 March 2020

The attempt by Qantas and its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar to slash the conditions of pilots and ground crews is part of a global onslaught against airline workers.

Australian health professionals speak on lack of preparation for coronavirus pandemic

By our reporters, 12 March 2020

“There is a perception that the government does not care about the interests and safety of healthcare workers, and trust in authorities is low.”

Negligent Australian government response threatens widespread Covid-19 infection

By James Cogan, 11 March 2020

The great risk is that the virus is spreading, largely unknown and unchecked, via transmission within Australia—as took place in Italy and elsewhere.

Australian PM makes a desperate pitch to avert economic disaster

By Mike Head, 10 March 2020

Morrison’s speech shows that his main concern is to protect corporate profits and prop up his discredited government, not protect people from the coronavirus.

Australian government moves to boost data-swapping with US spy network

By Mike Head, 9 March 2020

These developments underscore the fear in ruling circles that working people worldwide use encrypted messages to discuss and organise free of government eaves-dropping.

Murdoch’s News Corp shuts down Australian Associated Press

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 March 2020

Australia already has one of the most monopolised media industries in the world, with Murdoch publications comprising more than 70 percent of all newspapers sold.

Australian Labor MP feigns concern over US extradition of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 March 2020

Penny Wong did not differ with government representatives, who explicitly endorsed the British judiciary’s brutal attacks on Assange’s legal and democratic rights.

Australia: “Teachers for Assange and Manning” campaign in Melbourne

By Sue Phillips, 7 March 2020

The active intervention of teachers and education support staff is just one indication of the growing concern among millions of people that Assange’s persecution has immense implications.

Local transmission of coronavirus increasing in Australia

By James Cogan, 6 March 2020

Frustration and anger are rising over the lack of pre-emptive action by federal and state governments.

As anger mounts over Assange’s persecution, former foreign minister Carr calls for moral appeals to Australian government

By Richard Phillips, 6 March 2020

Veteran Labor leader Bob Carr is attempting to divert the growing movement for the release of Assange into dead-end appeals to the Australian parliament.

Australian parliamentary parties endorse British show trial of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 March 2020

As Assange faced a legal travesty, government ministers declared their faith in British “due process,” while the Labor Party maintained its silence.

Workers to pay the price as Australia joins global slide into recession

By Mike Head, 5 March 2020

The Covid-19 disaster has not yet resulted in large-scale sickness in Australia, but major companies are already unveiling job cuts due to the global impact on production, trade and travel.

Australia’s health system could be overwhelmed by large-scale coronavirus outbreak

By James Cogan, 4 March 2020

Federal and state governments plan repressive measures to forcibly quarantine people and curtail public gatherings.

Australian government revives plan for internal electronic surveillance

By Mike Head, 4 March 2020

Under the guise of combatting on-line paedophilia, the Australian Signals Directorate is to be handed domestic spying powers.

Australia: Tram drivers’ union attempts to impose sellout agreement

By Patrick O’Connor, 3 March 2020

Tram workers ought to vote “no” to the proposed agreement, which undercuts their real wages and conditions.

Brisbane rally calls for freedom for Assange and Manning

By our correspondent, 2 March 2020

Participants applauded and cheered the speakers as they denounced the Australian government’s complicity in the abuses of Assange’s basic legal rights.

Access to disability funding for Australian children depends on wealth

By Max Newman, 29 February 2020

Children in poorer suburbs can wait hundreds of days for essential support services.

Indian primary school teachers demonstrate; Sri Lankan police attack sacked public sector workers

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

29 February 2020

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

Australian spy chief reveals fascistic networks, but minister attacks “left-wing lunatics”

By Mike Head, 28 February 2020

Dutton’s response shows that the real target of the government and the state apparatus is left-wing and socialist organisations, not violent, far-right groups.

Australia: Workers and youth call for intensification of Assange and Manning defence campaign

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

Queensland students and workers in Parramatta denounce the escalating government attacks on democratic rights.

Julian Assange’s father demands immediate bail for imprisoned son

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

John Shipton outlined his son’s decade-long history of arbitrary detention in the UK.

Australian bushfire inquiry: Damage-control, cover-up and a push for military powers

By Mike Head, 27 February 2020

The central purpose of the royal commission is to absolve the federal and state governments of responsibility for the disaster, and to introduce unprecedented national emergency powers.

Persecuted journalist Assange handcuffed, stripped naked on first day of extradition trial

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 26 February 2020

As proceedings were due to begin, a court official told WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson that he was barred from the public gallery.

“A disaster waiting to happen”

Two train drivers killed in derailment on Australia’s main interstate line

By Noel Holt, 25 February 2020

Drivers have complained for decades about poor track quality on the Melbourne to Sydney line, resulting in rough riding, mud holes and speed restrictions.

Waiting times for aged care in Australia quadruple over past decade

By Clare Bruderlin, 25 February 2020

Such is the contempt of the ruling elite for the working class that many elderly people have died while waiting for a home care package.

Rally and march in Melbourne, Australia demands freedom for Julian Assange

By Patrick O’Connor, 25 February 2020

Many people in the city centre expressed support for the march as it passed, with some joining the demonstration.

Australian government expands northern air base for US military use against China

By Mike Head, 24 February 2020

Echoing Pentagon terminology, Prime Minister Morrison declared the Tindal base was the “sharp end of the spear.”

“The release of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning is up to us”

Australian and New Zealand demonstrations demand freedom for WikiLeaks founder and US whistleblower

By our reporters, 24 February 2020

The weekend rallies point to growing international support for Assange and Manning and a deeper political understanding and determination to fight by important layers of students, workers and youth.