Australia and South Pacific

Australia: Woolworths lifts lockout as union pushes through sell-out deal

By Terry Cook, 8 August 2020

The United Workers Union has brokered a sell-out deal that maintains the exploitative conditions and low-pay regime at Woolworths’ Wyong distribution centre.

Former Australian PM: Beware the Guns of August in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 8 August 2020

Kevin Rudd argues that the danger of war between the US and China is greater than at any time since the 1950s and warns the risk “will be especially high” in the lead up to the US presidential election.

Indian railway and Sri Lankan port workers oppose privatisation; Australian supermarket warehouse employees stop work over COVID-19 infection

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

8 August 2020

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Dangerous conditions in Melbourne quarantine hotels helped cause Australia’s COVID-19 resurgence

By Martin Scott, 7 August 2020

Victoria’s state Labor Party government presided over the hiring of poorly-paid security guards with no infection control training.

War crimes in Afghanistan covered up by UK Ministry of Defence

By Jean Shaoul, 6 August 2020

Documents, written by SAS officers and military personnel, provide evidence of war crimes.

Australia: Victorian hospital admissions soar amid warnings COVID-19 surge will continue for weeks

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 August 2020

It is clear that the Victorian government only introduced sharper lockdown measures, after the state was already on the precipice of a healthcare catastrophe.

NTEU enforces deep pay and job cuts at Australian universities

By Mike Head, 6 August 2020

In the latest outrage, the union is urging Adelaide University staff members to take wage cuts of up to 15 percent and still accept the elimination of 200 jobs.

Australian meatworks emerge as centres of COVID-19

By Steve Strietberg, 5 August 2020

Amid growing infections throughout the industry, cold storage workers at the JBS plant in Melbourne refused to begin work last week, demanding safe working conditions.

Islamic Women’s Council calls for transparency from inquiry into New Zealand terrorist attack

By Tom Peters, 5 August 2020

The WSWS spoke with Anjum Rahman from the Islamic Women’s Council, which is concerned about secrecy surrounding the royal commission into last year’s fascist attack.

Victoria’s COVID-19 catastrophe: An indictment of Australian governments and capitalism

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 5 August 2020

The surge in coronavirus deaths and infections is the outcome of the pro-business reopening of the economy enforced by governments, the corporations and the trade unions.

COVID-19 “state of disaster” imposed across Australian state of Victoria

By Patrick O’Connor, 3 August 2020

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton characterised the sweeping measures as “shock and awe.”

Royal commission into Australia’s bushfires promotes greater use of the military

By Margaret Rees, 1 August 2020

The inquiry will ignore the underfunding of fire and emergency services while justifying rapid and expanded military interventions in domestic “emergencies.”

India: Punjab health workers strike for permanent jobs; Asahi auto glass-making workers strike in Chennai; Woolworths Distribution Centre workers locked out in Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

1 August 2020

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Australian COVID-19 surge continues as epidemiologists urge stricter lockdown

By Patrick O’Connor, 31 July 2020

In refusing to implement the measures demanded by medical experts, the ruling elite has chosen to protect profits over lives.

New Zealand suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong

By John Braddock, 31 July 2020

The diplomatic rift, underpinned by a domestic anti-China propaganda campaign, echoes Washington’s increasingly aggressive operations against Beijing.

Ten years since WikiLeaks published the Afghan war logs

By Oscar Grenfell, 31 July 2020

The documents provided the world’s population with an unprecedented insight into the first war crimes of the 21st century.

Six arrested at banned Australian protest against police violence

By Martin Scott, 29 July 2020

COVID-19 public health orders were used to suppress the demonstration in a blatant attack on democratic rights.

Woolworths locks out workers at Australian warehouse

By Terry Cook, 29 July 2020

Strikers at Wyong speak out as the United Workers Union facilitates the attack by isolating them.

New Zealand’s largest retail chain axes 1,080 jobs

By John Braddock, 29 July 2020

Like other corporates, The Warehouse is using the pandemic and resulting economic downturn to accelerate job cuts and destroy working conditions.

Australian government echoes aggressive US shift on South China Sea

By Mike Head, 28 July 2020

Australia suddenly abandoned its previous policy of formal neutrality on the competing territorial claims, just 10 days after a similar declaration by the US.

Working-class opposition emerging amid Australia’s COVID-19 surge

By Oscar Grenfell, 28 July 2020

Meat workers in Melbourne walked off the job this morning over safety concerns, while teachers and principals are demanding school closures after dozens of classroom infections.

Australian treasurer hails Reagan and Thatcher as “inspiration” for government’s economic agenda

By Nick Beams, 28 July 2020

Frydenberg lauded the “success” of the offensive against the working class in the 1980s, just as he announced a record budget deficit of $184.5 billion for this financial year.

Australian state government bans protest against police violence

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 July 2020

The authorities are cynically invoking the pandemic to block political protests, while at the same time proceeding with a pro-business “reopening of the economy.”

Mounting COVID-19 deaths expose deep crisis in Australian aged care homes

By Margaret Rees, 27 July 2020

“They’ve casualised the workforce so much that this is bound to happen.”

Dozens of Australian schools shut down after coronavirus outbreaks

By Patrick Kelly, 27 July 2020

Keeping the schools open is regarded as a central aspect of the reopening of the economy and the continued provision of an exploitable workforce.

Australian Tamil refugee mother denied urgent medical treatment for weeks

By Max Newman, 27 July 2020

Despite outrage in her Australian home town of Biloela, Priya Murugappan was flown to a mainland hospital only after suffering prolonged abdominal pain.

US demands even greater support from Australia in confrontation with China

By Mike Head, 25 July 2020

Despite the intensifying COVID-19 danger in the US, Australia’s foreign and defence ministers will personally attend the annual AUSMIN talks in Washington next week.

Australia’s COVID-19 death toll rising rapidly

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 July 2020

Through the “national cabinet,” Labor and Liberal-National governments yesterday “recommitted” to the pro-business policies that have resulted in record deaths and infections.

Indian health workers protest over COVID-19 treatment discrimination and wages; Western Australian caterers and cleaners strike on offshore gas platforms

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

25 July 2020

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Huge Australian budget deficits mean intensified assault on workers

By Mike Head, 24 July 2020

Governments and the corporate elite have begun extracting the cost from the working class, via cuts to jobs, pay and working conditions as well as social spending.

Couples and families separated by New Zealand’s border restrictions

By Tom Peters, 24 July 2020

A woman who is unable to enter New Zealand, despite being married to a citizen, said that migrants have become political pawns in the campaign for the national election.

Record daily coronavirus infections in Australia

By Patrick O’Connor, 23 July 2020

The pandemic has been exacerbated by the casualisation of the workforce that was engineered over the last four decades by successive Labor and Liberal governments.

Ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases across Pacific Island states

By John Braddock, 23 July 2020

The global health and economic crisis is having a catastrophic impact on the fragile and impoverished former colonies across the Pacific.

Safety expert removed from Australia’s Grosvenor Mine explosion inquiry

By Terry Cook, 23 July 2020

The Queensland state Labor government’s inquiry is shaping up to become another cover-up of how safety is subordinated to the companies’ ruthless drive for profits.

Australian government slashes pandemic payments to workers after suspending parliament

By Mike Head, 22 July 2020

The blatant purpose of the cuts is to give workers no choice but to go back into unsafe workplaces regardless of the rising danger of COVID-19 infection.

Australian coronavirus surge hits Sydney

By Patrick O’Connor, 21 July 2020

The basic reproduction rate (R0) is 1.4 in Sydney and New South Wales, even higher than neighbouring Victoria, which continues to have the largest number of active infections.

Samoan government amends constitution to elevate traditional “custom”

By John Braddock, 21 July 2020

Samoa’s constitutional amendments will strengthen traditional customs and political control within the legal system.

Australian coronavirus surge hits workplaces, factories

By Paul Bartizan, 20 July 2020

Some 80 percent of all COVID-19 transmissions in the state of Victoria over the last two months have occurred in workplaces.

Australian bushfire victims still suffering six months on

By Cheryl Crisp, 20 July 2020

Hundreds of people who lost their homes are living in tents, caravans or shipping containers in what is now the dead of winter.

Australian medical experts call for workplace and school shutdowns as Victoria’s COVID-19 surge escalates

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 July 2020

Despite the highest spike in Australian coronavirus infections since the pandemic began, the Victorian Labor government has implemented a “lockdown” that leaves schools and most workplaces open.

Australia: Hundreds of health workers in Victoria contract COVID-19

By Clare Bruderlin, 18 July 2020

A national survey of 500 healthcare workers found that half were experiencing PPE shortages and some were having to source their own supplies.

Destruction of full-time jobs intensifies in Australia

By Mike Head, 18 July 2020

Governments and employers are working with the trade unions to exploit the COVID-19 catastrophe to accelerate the casualisation of the workforce.

New Zealand’s opposition National Party in turmoil after another leadership change

By John Braddock and Tom Peters, 18 July 2020

The National Party, which supports stronger business links with China, has been thrown into chaos by the escalating US-led preparations for war.

India: Over 40,000 Karnataka health workers begin indefinite state-wide strike; Pakistani doctors protest and Sri Lanka nurses demand overtime pay

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

18 July 2020

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

“Palace letters” point to the plotting behind the 1975 constitutional coup in Australia

By Mike Head, 17 July 2020

Together with the military coup in Chile in 1973, the Labor government’s dismissal was one of the first acts in what became an international counter-offensive against the working class.

SEP (Australia) holds lecture series on the history of Trotskyism

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 July 2020

The lectures, now all available online, reviewed some of the fundamental lessons of the protracted struggle by the Trotskyist movement for socialist internationalism.

“NTEU Fightback” aims to block revolt against Australian university trade union

By Jack Turner, 17 July 2020

Various pseudo-left organisations are desperately seeking to defend the National Tertiary Education Union after a revolt against its pay- and job-cutting COVID-19 “national framework.”

Thousands of sackings at Australian universities

By Eric Ludlow, 17 July 2020

The job cuts are part of a major assault on universities, being enforced by governments and the trade unions.

Australian governments reject lockdowns, as Victoria hits highest daily infection toll

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 July 2020

Infections are spiralling out of control, because governments are refusing to implement measures that would impinge on the profits of the corporate elite.

Australian teachers and school staff condemn return to classrooms in Victoria

By Sue Phillips, 15 July 2020

Teachers and educators speak out against the state Labor government’s order to reopen schools despite a COVID-19 surge in Melbourne.

Australian authorities sought to cover-up asbestos removal at Newcastle school

By Robert Campion, 15 July 2020

The debacle is part of a decades-long scandal concerning the use of asbestos in public buildings, involving successive Labor and Liberal governments.

New Zealand aluminium smelter to close, axing 1,000 jobs

By John Braddock, 15 July 2020

The smelter’s closure is part of the escalating attack on jobs and livelihoods among major sections of the workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anger grows as Australian state Labor government sends teachers and senior students back to school in Melbourne

By Patrick Kelly, 14 July 2020

The sweeping return to school, amid a worsening COVID-19 surge, represents a threat to public safety.

Australia’s COVID-19 spike spreads to New South Wales

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 July 2020

Venues that were reopened as part of the lifting of safety restrictions, including pubs and gyms, have emerged as centres of infection.

Limited lockdowns fail to halt Australia’s COVID-19 surge

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 July 2020

As is happening globally, the government and business “reopening” is causing a disaster.

Melbourne public housing residents still outraged by Australian police lockdown

By Eric Ludlow, 13 July 2020

The brutal state Labor government operation failed to curb the spread of COVID-19 throughout the public housing estates.

Special Forces commander admits Australian troops committed war crimes in Afghanistan

By Jason Quill, 13 July 2020

The systematic killings and other abuses are the inevitable product of the colonial-style invasions and occupations mounted by the US and its allies.

Committee for Public Education and International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Australia)

Public forum: COVID-19 and the escalating assault on educators and students

13 July 2020

The Committee for Public Education and International Youth and Students for Social Equality in Australia are holding on online forum on July 18 to discuss the critical issues posed by government demands that schools reopen.

Australia’s national cabinet steps up “reopening” despite COVID-19 surge

By Mike Head, 11 July 2020

Since the government leaders started lifting restrictions at breakneck speed in late May, the number of new confirmed infections has begun to soar.

Online book launch of The Most Dangerous Man in the World defends Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 July 2020

Author Andrew Fowler said that journalists “should be more supportive” of Assange “because of what he taught us.”

India: Airport workers in Kerala oppose sackings; Telangana private school teachers hold state-wide demonstrations

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

11 July 2020

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

Victoria records highest number of cases since pandemic began, as Australian coronavirus surge intensifies

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 July 2020

Victoria's chief medical officer told the press: “We will see an increase in hospitalised and ICU cases and in deaths in the coming days because of the spike that we have seen.”

NTEU steps up collaboration with Australian university managements amid job cuts “tsunami”

By Mike Head, 10 July 2020

The union is pushing ahead with deals to impose unprecedented sacrifices on university workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve been made to feel like a criminal, but I haven’t done anything wrong”

Melbourne public housing resident denounces Australian police lockdown

By Eric Ludlow, 9 July 2020

Kat, a working-class mother, spoke with the WSWS about the conditions in the locked-down public housing towers, home to some of the most oppressed sections of the working class.

Melbourne public housing residents condemn Australian police lockdown

By Martin Scott and Oscar Grenfell, 9 July 2020

“Instead of nurses, doctors and social workers, they send us the police, which gives the wrong message among the community.”

Australia: Woolworths to slash more than 1,300 warehousing jobs

By Patrick Davies, 9 July 2020

Like other corporations, the supermarket chain is using the pandemic to restructure its operations at the expense of jobs and working conditions.

What is behind the New Zealand health minister’s resignation?

By Tom Peters, 9 July 2020

The resignation of David Clark just months before an election, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, points to political instability in the Labour Party-led government.

Oppose the Melbourne public housing towers lock-in! For a health and welfare response, not a police mobilisation!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 9 July 2020

The SEP calls for the formation of local safety committees, both within the tower blocks and more broadly, to organise measures to protect the residents and the working class as a whole.

Limited lockdown imposed in Melbourne as COVID-19 surges in Australia

By Oscar Grenfell, 8 July 2020

The spike in Victoria refutes the claims of federal and state governments that the coronavirus could be locally-contained as they “reopen the economy.”

The COVID-19 vaccine and the drive for profit

By Frank Gaglioti, 8 July 2020

As the pandemic rages across the planet, the struggle to develop a vaccine has become an urgent task. But the vaccines will be weaponized for geopolitical purposes, not to provide the treatments equitably on a global scale.

Growing opposition to Australian police lockdown of Melbourne public housing residents

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 July 2020

One resident stated: “We should have seen buses and cars full of healthcare and mental health workers and social workers, not the police.”

Australian court rejects Murdoch appeal against Geoffrey Rush defamation verdict

By Linda Tenenbaum, 7 July 2020

Last week’s Federal Court verdict is another important blow against the anti-democratic #MeToo movement.

Thousands more jobs destroyed in Australia

By Terry Cook, 7 July 2020

Employers are continuing to utilise the COVID-19 pandemic to restructure their operations, shedding thousands of jobs and cutting working conditions.

Organise teachers, parents and school staff committees to oppose reckless school reopening in Melbourne!

By the Committee for Public Education (Australia), 7 July 2020

The CFPE calls for the formation of safety action committees to demand the suspension of the school system as part of a comprehensive public health and safety plan to protect the working class.

Vigils in New Zealand demand freedom for Julian Assange

By our reporters, 6 July 2020

The Socialist Equality Group’s Tom Peters spoke at one of the Wellington vigils, which was part of global protests held to mark the jailed WikiLeaks founder’s birthday.

Australian police confine Melbourne public housing residents indoors after COVID-19 outbreak

By Patrick O’Connor, 6 July 2020

The state Labor government opted for a police operation instead of having medical staff, social workers, and people in the community lead the necessary preventive measures.

Australian Labor Party vote falls further in by-election

By Mike Head, 6 July 2020

The biggest swings against Labor occurred in Queanbeyan, a largely working-class city neighbouring Canberra, the national capital.

Australian government seeks to place country on war footing

By Mike Head, 4 July 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has identified the Indo-Pacific as the likely arena for another world war, directed against China.

Australia: Melbourne’s coronavirus outbreak continues to spread despite localised lockdown

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 July 2020

It only took days for the Victorian Labor government’s lockdown of ten Melbourne postcodes to be exposed as an ineffectual and punitive response to the rise in infections.

“Deep cleaning” in Australian schools: Image and reality

By Carolyn Kennett, 4 July 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, governments promised thoroughly cleaned classrooms, but school cleaners have neither the resources nor hours to conduct the necessary cleaning.

SEP (Australia) July 7 online lecture

A new period of socialist revolution and the tasks of the Fourth International

4 July 2020

The lecture will outline the contemporary significance of the Trotskyist movement’s fight for socialism internationalism, amid a breakdown of capitalism and an upsurge of the class struggle.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

4 July 2020

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

The Assange precedent in action

Australian journalist threatened with prosecution for exposing war crimes in Afghanistan

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 July 2020

Like Assange, Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Dan Oakes faces prosecution for publishing evidence of war crimes in Afghanistan.

More migrants speak out against New Zealand’s visa-processing delays

By Tom Peters, 3 July 2020

There is growing support for a petition urging the government to immediately process tens of thousands of residency applications which have been left in limbo.

Hundreds of jobs axed as Australian Broadcasting Corporation imposes government cuts

By Richard Phillips, 3 July 2020

ABC management, in line with federal government and Murdoch media demands, is imposing another round of job cuts at the public broadcaster.

Australian cancer testing declines during coronavirus pandemic

By Clare Bruderlin, 1 July 2020

The lack of personal protective equipment in hospitals and shortages of masks, gloves and sanitiser available to the public have forced many people to put off appointments.

Australian government unveils military boost aimed against China

By Mike Head, 1 July 2020

Over the next decade, $575 billion will be spent on the armed forces, including an expanded $270 billion military hardware buildup, featuring “long-range strike capabilities.”

Australian state government locks down Melbourne working class suburbs

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 July 2020

While measures are required to contain the coronavirus, the lockdown will disproportionately affect workers, the unemployed and the poor.

COVID-19 cases increase across Pacific Island states

By John Braddock, 1 July 2020

The WHO warning underscores that the pandemic continues to escalate in all parts of the world.

Australian COVID-19 surge continues in Victoria

By Martin Scott, 30 June 2020

Almost 300 coronavirus cases have been detected in the state over the past seven days.

Australian court backs secret trial on East Timor bugging exposure

By Mike Head, 30 June 2020

The closed-door proceedings seek to protect the entire network of spy agencies involved in the escalating US confrontation with China.

Australian Labor Party intent on ousting MP from parliament over “Chinese agent” claims

By Mike Head, 29 June 2020

Labor wants to remove Shaoquett Moselmane despite his denunciation of his “political lynching.”

Australian paper mill workers locked out as company moves to slash wages

By Steve Strietberg, 29 June 2020

The company wants a two-tier wage system, with 15 percent lower pay rates for new employees.

Legal settlement lets Australian military off the hook over PFAS pollution

By Patrick Davies, 29 June 2020

The settlement will see victims share just $126 million of a $212 million payout and releases the Defence Department from any further claim over financial loss.

Australia’s US-backed anti-China witch hunt escalates with raid on MP’s home

By Mike Head, 27 June 2020

The operation is another step towards branding anyone who challenges Australia's involvement in the US offensive against Beijing as a “foreign agent.”

SEP (Australia) June 30 online lecture

The 1985–86 split with the WRP and the renaissance of Marxism

27 June 2020

The split ranks among the most crucial strategic experiences of the Trotskyist movement and the international working class.

Indian and Pakistani health workers strike over coronavirus safety; Australia Paper maintenance workers locked out

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

27 June 2020

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

Australian military deployed in Melbourne as COVID-19 infection rate surges

By Martin Scott, 26 June 2020

The daily rate of new cases in Victoria is at its highest since early April.

New Zealand Police brutally attack young man in Auckland

By Tom Peters, 26 June 2020

The attack on an unarmed Maori man in Auckland follows mass protests against police violence and the arming of officers.

Australian unions support Queensland Labor government’s public sector wage freeze

By Gary Alvernia, 26 June 2020

The pay “deferral” sets a new precedent for exploiting the COVID-19 emergency to intensify the ongoing corporate and government attack on the living and working conditions of workers.