Australian Health Issues

Australia: NSW Ambulance staff forced to do overtime to cover under-staffing

By Clare Bruderlin, 23 January 2020

The pressure on over-worked paramedics and other ambulance workers is the result of years of budget cuts and understaffing.

Smoke haze from Australian bushfires pose serious public health threat

By John Mackay, 18 January 2020

The fine particulates in smoke from fires has been known to contain a toxic mix of chemicals that are a concern to public health.

Australian fires leave tens of thousands in financial hardship and stress

By James Cogan, 17 January 2020

The fires have most severely affected low-income workers and welfare recipients, self-employed contractors, small-business owners and family farmers.

Australia: Kinglake residents speak on government inaction 11 years after Black Saturday blaze killed 173

By our reporters, 14 January 2020

One resident stated: “I don’t care which party they are from—Labor, Liberal, whatever—these politicians only look after their pockets.”

Australia: Gospers Mountain fire survivors denounce government cuts in firefighting and bush management

By our reporters, 13 January 2020

One resident stated “With regards to government policy, it’s all about the bottom line. It’s all about money.”

Inadequate government relief for Australian bushfire victims

By James Cogan, 9 January 2020

With his government under siege, Prime Minister Morrison announced that $2 billion in assistance will be provided over the next two years.

Australian bushfire victims speak-out: “What is our government doing at the moment?”

By our reporters, 9 January 2020

One resident of Balmoral, a village in NSW, stated: “We’ve been through tough times before but nothing like this. The size of fires is unprecedented. All the resources are stretched to breaking point.”

Australian bushfire catastrophe exposes the contempt of the ruling elites for working people

By James Cogan, 8 January 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will go down in history as the political leader who secretly went on holiday to Hawaii while the country burned.

After another weekend of devastation, Australia faces weeks more of unprecedented fires

By James Cogan, 6 January 2020

A discernable shift is underway in how masses of people view the political parties and institutions that have downplayed or denied the reality of climate change.

Australian mental health report highlights a systemic crisis

By Margaret Rees, 28 December 2019

Patients, carers and medical staff “are being traumatised by an under-resourced system.”

Research explains how the measles virus destroys immune “memory”

By Frank Gaglioti, 27 December 2019

The measles virus is particularly dangerous as it wipes out immunity previously acquired after exposure to other microbes in a process known as “immune amnesia.”

Australian fires bring growing global climate crisis into stark relief

By James Cogan, 23 December 2019

The catastrophic fires in Australia follow blazes that have engulfed large areas of California, Siberia, Borneo and the Amazon.

Australia: Toxic air from bushfires rated a “public health emergency”

By John Mackay, 23 December 2019

Health professionals have called on governments to take action amid record levels of bushfire haze in towns and cities.

Bush fires claim lives and property as Australia endures hottest days in recorded history

By James Cogan, 20 December 2019

The development of catastrophic conditions has been predicted and warned about for years.

Australia: Thousands attend climate change rally in Sydney

By Martin Scott, 13 December 2019

While bushfires ravaged the state, workers and students gathered to protest government inaction on climate change.

Australia: Ongoing health fallout from 2018 toxic chemical blaze

By Margaret Rees, 3 December 2019

Firefighters and residents are continuing to suffer ill effects from the huge fire in Melbourne’s West Footscray.

Australian bushfire crisis continues as political fallout intensifies

By Mike Head, 18 November 2019

Prime Minister Morrison and Labor Party leader Albanese have both tried to call a halt to any discussion of the crucial issues raised by the fires.

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.

Accidental drug overdose deaths continue to rise in Australia

By Clare Bruderlin, 18 September 2019

As in the US, the pharmaceutical companies are taking advantage of social misery to addict the population on deadly drugs.

Australian government pushes drug testing for welfare recipients

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 September 2019

The trial, which is aimed at extending “welfare quarantining” measures, would target working class areas hit by job destruction and government budget cuts.

Abortion bill in NSW used to push Australian politics further to the right

By Cheryl Crisp, 16 September 2019

The emotive demagogy over abortion is part of a campaign to mobilise a right-wing Christian base and recruit them into the Liberal Party.

Australian health workers protest assaults on staff

By John Wilson, 17 August 2019

The Health Services Union limited the action and channelled workers’ anger into a demand for more security officers, not for increased funding and staffing.

Indian doctors hold national 24-hour walkout; Chinese auto workers strike; Australian railway workers vote for industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

3 August 2019

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

Slump deepens in Australian residential construction industry

By Paul Bartizan and Richard Phillips, 2 August 2019

Multiple faults in new apartment buildings have become a factor in the bursting of a debt-fuelled property bubble that is threatening thousands of jobs.

Early peak in Australia influenza season causes concern

By John Mackay, 31 July 2019

The severity of deadly flu outbreaks could be minimised with global free access to vaccination, and the development of a universal vaccine.

Australian disability centre closures result in nearly a dozen deaths

By Max Newman, 26 July 2019

Former residents of a disability centre in Newcastle have died after being transferred to under-funded group homes via the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Australian cancer victim sues Bayer-Monsanto

By Frank Gaglioti, 23 July 2019

Michael Ogalirolo claims his potentially lethal cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is due to 18 years of exposure to glyphosate, the active component of the herbicide Roundup.

Australian aged care inquiry hears damning evidence of abuse

By Clare Bruderlin, 18 July 2019

Testimony by care workers, patients and family members has underscored how the cost-cutting drive for profit jeopardises the health, safety and quality of life of elderly people.

Mental health crisis in Australia’s refugee camps

By Max Boddy, 3 June 2019

So torturous are the conditions confronting the more than 500 asylum seekers still on Manus—some for nearly seven years—that many have inflicted bodily injury to themselves.

Australian Labor Party’s fraudulent cancer care pledge

By Gary Alvernia, 13 May 2019

Even if implemented in full, the plan would not significantly reduce the exorbitant costs of cancer therapy and care.

The Australian election and the fraud of the NDIS

By Max Boddy: SEP candidate for Hunter, 10 May 2019

The National Disability Insurance Scheme was always designed to privatise the disability sector, push people off welfare payments and slash public spending.

Western Australia Labor government dismisses water contamination risks in indigenous communities

By Margaret Rees, 20 April 2019

Labor has dismissed evidence of a potential correlation between poor water quality and elevated levels of kidney disease and type-2 diabetes.

Australian royal commission into aged care begins second hearing

By Clare Bruderlin, 18 March 2019

Government cost-cutting has led to chronic under-staffing and poor care, particularly in facilities run for profit.

Australia: Sydney residents protest downgrading of Mona Vale Hospital

By John Wilson and John Harris, 2 March 2019

Protests continue against the hospital’s closure in the lead up to the March 23 New South Wales state election.

Australia: Victorian Labor government’s bogus healthcare promises

By Margaret Rees, 25 February 2019

The Andrews government is preparing to accelerate the privatisation of the health system.

Steve McDowell, campaigner for Australian paramedic rights, speaks with WSWS

By Cheryl Crisp and John Mackay, 12 February 2019

“The thing is, if NSWA treated their staff the way their staff treat the public, there would be no issue.”—Steve McDowell

Australia: Understaffing and equipment shortages at new Sydney public-private hospital

By Clare Bruderlin, 21 December 2018

The state Liberal government marketed the $840 million hospital as having state-of-the-art facilities.

Australia: Factory fire sends toxic smoke over western Melbourne

By Eric Ludlow, 7 September 2018

Authorities tried to reassure concerned residents, but hundreds of dead fish, eels and birds have been found in nearby waterways.

Family speaks to World Socialist Web Site

Unanswered questions surround the suicide of Australian paramedic Tony Jenkins

By Cheryl Crisp and John Mackay, 6 September 2018

On April 9, the 28-year veteran paramedic took his own life within two hours of being called into a meeting with New South Wales Ambulance senior managers.

Reports point to growing social inequality in Australia

By John Harris, 28 August 2018

As elsewhere globally, the wealth of Australia’s richest has swollen over the past two decades, alongside mounting financial stress for millions of people.

Australian thunderstorm asthma deaths inquest reveals health system breakdown

By Margaret Rees, 20 August 2018

Triple 0 callers were told an ambulance was on the way when it had not been dispatched.

Australian hospital staff have to raise money for patients’ basic needs

By E. Ballesteros, 9 August 2018

Footscray Hospital is one of three acute and sub-acute hospitals servicing a major working-class region of the Victorian state capital.

Australian government promises changes to My Health Records following widespread opposition

By Cheryl Crisp, 2 August 2018

The “opt out” health database faces mounting public concern over official and corporate surveillance.

New Zealand nurses speak to WSWS opposing sellout deal

By Tom Peters, 7 July 2018

Nurses denounced the union-backed proposed agreement, which keeps wages low and maintains severe under-staffing of hospitals.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Australian government reports whitewash responsibility for toxic foam crisis

By Patrick Davies, 29 May 2018

Official cover-ups are scrapping any notion of potential buybacks or compensation.

Australian health care costs among the worst internationally

By John Mackay, 26 April 2018

Deepening cuts to public health funding mean patients confront higher out of pocket charges from doctors, clinics and hospitals.

Australian women join legal actions over pelvic implants

By Michelle Stevens, 20 March 2018

The allegations against the pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, if proven correct, will reveal a profit-driven disregard for the health and wellbeing of the women.

Australian aged care workers confront worsening conditions

By Michelle Stevens, 9 January 2018

Decades of government funding cuts, combined with the rise of corporate profit-making operators, have led to severe under-staffing.

Australian flu epidemic inundates public health services

By John Mackay, 25 October 2017

Emergency room visits reached record levels at the peak of the winter season in many major hospitals.

Australian state government and health union shut down pathology strike

By Jason Quill and Oscar Grenfell, 7 September 2017

The Health Services Union welcomed the Victorian Labor government’s application for the federal Fair Work Commission to ban the stoppage.

Young doctor suicides point to deteriorating conditions in Australia’s health system

By Ed Ballesteros, 22 August 2017

The ostensible concern of governments for the well-being of health professionals is belied by funding cuts that have stretched public hospitals to breaking point.

Opioid-related deaths soaring in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 11 August 2017

New research points to a rapidly growing number of fatalities, far outstripping heroin overdose deaths.

Australia: Hundreds evacuated after toxic blaze at Melbourne recycling plant

By Will Marshall, 17 July 2017

The SKM fire is a product of the systematic gutting of environmental health and safety regulations, as well as town planning and construction guidelines.

Studies reveal stark health divide in Australia

By John Mackay, 6 July 2017

People in working class areas die younger and have almost double the rates of poor health compared to residents of wealthier suburbs.

Australian private health insurance premiums soaring

By Michelle Stevens, 28 March 2017

Many working class people are now being forced to consider dropping their coverage, intensifying the healthcare crisis.

Australian public hospitals relying on private patients

By Gary Alvernia, 16 March 2017

Funding cuts initiated by the last federal Labor government have forced hospitals to double the number of private patient services since 2008.

Waiting times worsen in Australian public hospitals

By Margaret Rees, 8 March 2017

Conditions are deteriorating in hospitals as a result of the previous Labor government’s restructuring, which has deepened under the current Liberal-National government.

Australian disability workers strike against privatisation

By our reporters, 15 February 2017

Union officials sought to divert the widespread anger into impotent appeals to the state Coalition government, while promoting the opposition Labor Party.

Carers cut off services under Australian disability scheme

By Max Newman, 20 January 2017

Carers of people with a disability are being denied support programs under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Millions of disabled Australians to be denied national insurance support

By Max Newman, 14 January 2017

The National Disability Insurance Scheme will deny adequate assistance to many in need, even those with severe mental illnesses.

Professor Marmot’s lectures in Australia chart extent of health inequality

By Cheryl Crisp, 21 December 2016

The lectures establish the connection between social inequality, the living and working conditions of the poor, and the deterioration in their health outcomes.

100 Marmot lectures charts Australia's health inequality

14 December 2016

Australia: Thunderstorm-related deaths expose impact of health cuts

By Kurt Brown, 7 December 2016

Melbourne, a city of more than three million people, ran out of ambulances as thousands of people suffered potentially fatal thunderstorm-related asthma.

Australia: Mounting evidence of black lung cover-up

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 November 2016

Thousands of miners could be afflicted by the deadly disease as a result of the erosion of safety standards by the major companies, with government and union complicity.

Australia: Rally against Shellharbour hospital privatisation

By our reporters, 8 November 2016

The trade unions that organised the protest promoted the fraud that Labor would defend the hospital and public health care.

Australia: Maitland residents oppose privatisation of regional hospital

By John Roberts, 28 October 2016

The protest was another attempt by the unions to divert mounting anger over the attacks on public health into appeals to the government and the promotion of illusions in Labor.

Australia: Large protest against Wyong hospital privatisation

By John Mackay, 19 October 2016

Unions New South Wales is seeking to channel widespread opposition to the attacks on healthcare behind the Labor Party.

Healthcare costs a growing barrier to treatment for Australians

By Michelle Stevens, 15 October 2016

Almost half those suffering some chronic health conditions are skipping treatment because of “out of pocket” costs.

Australian state government to privatise five hospitals

By John Mackay, 1 October 2016

The plan will set a model for the wholesale handover of health care to profit-making corporate operators.

Tragic death of baby in Australian hospital

By Richard Phillips, 10 August 2016

The New South Wales government has responded to an entirely preventable hospital accident by going into damage control.

The Australian election’s “save Medicare” fraud

By Mike Head—SEP candidate for the Senate in Queensland, 27 June 2016

For four decades, the reality has been one of a relentless assault on public health care by Labor and Coalition governments alike.

Increasing suicide rate in Australia highlights social crisis

By Mary Beadnell, 26 April 2016

Steep increases in the numbers of people taking their own lives point to deteriorating economic and social conditions.

Black lung disease reemerges in Australian coal mines

By Richard Phillips, 11 April 2016

Increased workloads, inadequate mine ventilation and low dust-testing standards have produced a sudden jump in the number of coal miners suffering from black lung.

Australia: Despite deaths, no youth mental facility in Brisbane

By Declan O’Malley, 14 March 2016

The official inquiry is an attempt to cover up the refusal of successive state and federal governments to provide adequate mental health services.

Australian health care rallies promote election of Labor and Greens

By Zac Hambides, 23 February 2016

Not one of the speakers mentioned the cutting of health spending by the last Labor government, kept in office by the Greens.

Australian public hospitals face growing funding crisis

By Mike Head, 8 February 2016

According to the AMA’s annual hospital report card, waiting times lengthened in 2014–15 and funding shortfalls will worsen in 2017 when the latest cutbacks come into effect.

Australian prime minister clings to office

By Peter Symonds, 9 February 2015

Prime Minister Tony Abbott fended off a leadership challenge today, but the political turmoil inside the ruling Liberal Party will continue.

Australian government seeks to force doctors to charge fees

By Mike Head, 10 December 2014

Abbott’s apparent about-face is another indication of the political crisis wracking the Liberal-National Coalition government.

Suicides highlight harsh conditions in Australia’s mining industry

By Joe Lopez, 2 September 2014

Nine Pilbara “Fly In Fly Out” workers have committed suicide in the past 12 months, despite an earlier federal parliamentary inquiry.

Australian budget protests: A political balance sheet

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 30 August 2014

Protest organisers have channelled public opposition into the dead-end of parliamentary manoeuvre, promoting the illusion that Labor and the Greens would block the budget measures.

Australian government moves to outsource key social services

By Terry Cook, 27 August 2014

The move will effectively cut the human services department in half, paving the way for the axing of tens of thousands of jobs.

Medical co-payments and the assault on public health in Australia

By James Cogan, 5 June 2014

The objective is the long-term reduction of public health spending by using “price signals” to deter people from accessing medical care.

The Medical Research Future Fund: A hand-out to corporate Australia

By James Cogan, 5 June 2014

The Abbott government has sought to lessen the public outrage over its introduction of co-payments for public medical services by channelling much of the revenue into a Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) until it reaches $20 billion. By 2017–2018, the MRFF, which will invest its capital in the share and money markets, will use its dividends to make grants of up to $1 billion annually for medical research in Australia.

Western Australian government cuts hospital beds and jobs

By Joe Lopez, 7 April 2014

Hundreds of public health jobs to be eliminated at hospitals in Perth, the state capital.

Australian state government closes disability support facilities

By Max Newman, 21 February 2014

The closure of Newcastle’s Stockton Centre exposes the purpose of the former Labor government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Australia: Labor Party promoted at protest against Medicare cuts

By Oliver Campbell, 18 February 2014

The pseudo-left organisations that organised the rally are seeking to divert opposition to cuts to social spending behind the Labor Party, Greens, and trade unions.

Australia: Defend Medicare rally promotes Labor Party

By Oliver Campbell, 7 January 2014

The protest was called in response to proposals for upfront fees for visits to doctors.

Australian coroner’s report points to Labor’s responsibility for insulation deaths

By Terry Cook, 11 July 2013

Prime Minister Rudd cynically apologised to the families of four young men killed when working for contractors under the home insulation scheme.

Australian thinktank demands “tough” health and welfare cutbacks

By Mike Head, 23 April 2013

The Grattan Institute launched a broadside against the major parties for “raising expectations about what government can and should deliver.”

Union calls off Western Australian nurses’ strike

By Joe Lopez, 28 February 2013

Industrial action by nurses, drawing support from other workers, threatened to raise uncomfortable questions for the Liberal government, the Labor opposition and the union.

Australia: Protest over privatisation of hospital hydrotherapy pool

By Mark Church, 28 January 2013

The sell-off at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney is a direct result of deep health care cuts by the state and federal governments.

Australian hospital funding cuts cause bed closures

By Will Morrow, 24 January 2013

While being presented as accounting corrections, these cutbacks are entirely in line with the federal Labor government’s so-called health care reform program.

Australian hospital patients waiting longer under Labor’s “health reform”

By Mike Head, 18 December 2012

The data underscores the fraud of the government’s claims that its three-year-old “national health reform” program seeks to improve patient care.

Australia: New disability scheme to cut long-term costs

By Alex Messenger, 6 June 2012

Under the guise of helping the disabled, the NDIS involves a massive rationalisation of existing services designed to drive many off pensions and into work.

Australia: Elderly to pay much more for care

By Alex Messenger, 28 April 2012

Far from the “increased funding” promoted by the media, the changes will reduce the government’s contribution to the funding of home care from 84 percent to 76 percent.

Australian nurses’ union imposes real wage cut

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 March 2012

The overriding priority of the union has been to prevent the nurses’ dispute from becoming a political struggle against the state and federal governments.