Australia and South Pacific

Queensland state election underscores political instability in Australia

By Gary Alvernia, 20 October 2020

While focussing on closing the state borders due to COVID-19, Labor is reassuring the corporate elite that a Labor government will meet all its requirements.

Roof deflection warnings ignored before young Australian construction worker killed

By Margaret Rees and Paul Bartizan, 20 October 2020

Perth apprentice Jonnie Hartshorn fell 20 metres to his death when the glass roof of a university building under construction collapsed despite concerns raised by other workers of excessive deflection.

Australian pseudo-left denies fascist danger in US presidential election crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 October 2020

Socialist Alternative is attempting to chloroform the working class, insisting that the American ruling class would never resort to dictatorial rule.

Political scandal engulfs premier in Australia’s most populous state

By Mike Head, 19 October 2020

Behind the Berejiklian affair lies a history of “anti-corruption” inquiries, being used to execute political shifts in the state of New South Wales.

Labour Party strengthens its hold on power in New Zealand election

By Tom Peters, 19 October 2020

The Labour Party has gained significant support from businesses and sections of the upper middle class after launching an assault on the living conditions of the working class.

Labor Party helps impose Australian military call-out laws for “emergencies”

By Mike Head, 16 October 2020

The “emergency” bill can cover civil unrest, industrial action or any other development regarded as a threat to the existing economic and political order.

Australian health union leader pleads guilty to corruption

By Cheryl Crisp, 15 October 2020

While they were imposing poverty-level wages and dire conditions on the workers they falsely claim to represent, several Health Services Union were looting the organisation’s treasury for their own purposes.

New Zealand Green Party postures over tax, poverty

By John Braddock, 14 October 2020

The record proves that an incoming Labour-Greens coalition would be completely subservient to the demands of big business.

Australia: New South Wales wage freeze approved by Industrial Relations Commission

By Martin Scott, 14 October 2020

Growing numbers of workers are demanding industrial action while the unions are advocating impotent appeals to big business politicians.

Cuts to healthcare system responsible for Victoria’s coronavirus resurgence

By Margaret Rees, 13 October 2020

Mass health worker infections are the direct outcome of the gutting of the sector by successive state and federal governments, Labor and Liberal alike.

Australian citizens stranded by COVID-19 measures denounce Morrison government

By John Harris, 13 October 2020

“The rich are having no trouble circumnavigating the globe because they can still travel first class. It’s no big deal to them. Everyone who flies economy class is stuck and with no chance of getting in.”

Australia: Victoria University IYSSE holds successful AGM

By our correspondents, 12 October 2020

The meeting, attended by students, youth and workers, reviewed some of the lessons of Leon Trotsky’s life and political work.

Jobs bloodbath in Australia continues as companies restructure to slash costs

By Terry Cook, 12 October 2020

Employment relations expert warns the end of the JobKeeper scheme will leave workers exposed to a “redundancy bloodbath.”

Poverty to soar after Labor backs Australian budget

By Mike Head, 12 October 2020

The swift passage of the budget’s key measures demonstrates a close political partnership.

New Zealand debates reveal bipartisan support for austerity and US alliance

By John Braddock, 10 October 2020

Both Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and opposition leader Judith Collins pledged continued support for the US, as it prepares for war against China, while proposing nothing to stop the worst social crisis since the Great Depression.

Deaths of Sydney delivery drivers expose dangerous conditions in the “gig economy”

By Max Boddy, 10 October 2020

The conditions in the sector are the direct result of the destruction of permanent full-time jobs, enforced by the trade unions.

Australian budget based on shaky foundations

By Nick Beams, 10 October 2020

One of the key assumptions of the Australian budget is that an effective COVID-19 vaccine will be developed and available to the population by the end of 2021.

Australian Labor’s budget reply: Bipartisan backing for tax cuts to the rich, austerity for workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 October 2020

Anthony Albanese made clear yet again that Labor and the government march in lockstep when it comes to the pro-business response to the pandemic and the accompanying onslaught against the working class.

Australian inquiry hears Victorian quarantine hotel program plagued by “disorganisation, lack of appropriate staffing”

By Martin Scott, 8 October 2020

Health workers reveal the “shambolic” conditions that have contributed to as many as 768 deaths and 18,000 infections in the state.

Police shut down protests, fine students at University of Sydney

By Jack Turner, 8 October 2020

On the pretext of enforcing COVID-19 safety measures, the state government has deployed police to conduct anti-democratic operations on a university campus.

Australian budget: A bonanza for business at workers’ expense

By Mike Head, 7 October 2020

The bipartisan backing for this budget is a turning point in the restructuring of economic and social life in the interests of a tiny super-rich layer.

New Caledonia rejects independence from France for second time

By John Braddock, 7 October 2020

With a growing economic crisis and social tensions, the referendum result was deeply divided with just 53 per cent voting against independence.

Socialist Equality Group holds webinar on the New Zealand election

By Our reporter, 6 October 2020

Members of the SEG (New Zealand) and the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) spoke on the global pandemic, the danger of war and dictatorship, and the right-wing record of Jacinda Ardern’s government.

Australian government silent on calls to intervene in defence of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 October 2020

The silence of the government and Labor has been a green light for the abuses that Assange has been subjected to over the past month, and the entire US-led campaign to destroy him.

Pandemic exposes Australian employers’ exploitation of young backpackers

By Michael Smith, 6 October 2020

The political establishment’s only response to the abuses has been to expand such visa programs and extend them to jobless workers and school leavers.

Australian university trade union concedes up to 90,000 job losses

By Mike Head, 5 October 2020

This disaster is a staggering indictment of the NTEU and all those trying to keep university workers tied to the union.

US FBI officials trained Australian Federal Police “foreign interference” squad

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 October 2020

The revelation demonstrates that the US state has a central hand in the campaign against supposed “foreign interference” in Australia.

India: 13,000 teachers in Delhi strike over unpaid wages; Government doctors protest in Pakistan; LNG offshore maintenance workers to walk out in Western Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

3 October 2020

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

Australian teachers confront fast-tracked return to classrooms in Victoria

By Karen Maxwell, 3 October 2020

Behind the backs of teachers, the Australian Education Union is working closely with the state Labor Party government to stifle resistance.

Australian budget to slash taxes for the rich while hitting workers

By Mike Head, 3 October 2020

While mounting a further assault on working-class conditions, this is a crisis budget like no other in living memory.

Australian Labor Party leader demands budget “discipline” and “back to work”

By Mike Head, 2 October 2020

Anthony Albanese’s main pitch is for big business to again rely on a trade union-supported Labor government in a period of economic and political crisis.

Australia Post workers denounce union-enforced restructure, call for independent rank-and-file committees

By Jim Franklin and Oscar Grenfell, 2 October 2020

“On the eve of the biggest battle of our lives, the union has gone around in the middle of the night and emptied our guns of bullets. Just as the war begins they take away our right to withdraw our labour.”

Australian waterfront union shuts down industrial action at Patrick Terminals

By Patrick Davies, 2 October 2020

The Maritime Union of Australia is determined to contain and isolate the dispute while signalling its willingness to negotiate and impose company demands.

Australian unions plead for continued secretive talks with government and employers

By Mike Head, 1 October 2020

Behind closed doors, the union chiefs have been discussing how to keep suppressing working class opposition to the destruction of jobs, wages and basic conditions.

Australia Post workers speak out against union-enforced COVID-19 dangers and cuts to conditions

By Jim Franklin and Oscar Grenfell, 1 October 2020

“What used to be a job you would gladly retire on has now become like a job for contractors forever chasing their tail to meet deadlines with piecemeal payments.”

Socialist Equality Party (Australia) holds online health workers’ forum

By our reporter, 29 September 2020

Australian health workers speak out over the lack of PPE and proper training to deal with COVID-19, and the government’s run-down of the healthcare system.

Australian journalist Mary Kostakidis: Assange is a “highly principled individual with enormous courage”

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 September 2020

“This war on journalism is an element of the rise in authoritarianism in countries that in the past championed press freedom, but can no longer claim to do so.”

Australia: Victorian government accelerates lifting of COVID-19 restrictions to satisfy big business

By Mike Head, 28 September 2020

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has fallen further into line with the “return to work” campaign of the corporate elite and the federal government.

Australia’s Queensland Labor government suspends public hearings of Grosvenor Mine disaster inquiry

By Terry Cook, 28 September 2020

Like other government-initiated inquiries into industrial disasters, the inquiry was called to hose down widespread public outrage in the wake of the mine explosion.

Free Julian Assange! The political issues confronting educators in the fight for freedom of information

By the Committee for Public Education (Australia), 28 September 2020

“Teachers and educators are among those owing a debt to Assange and to the whistleblowers who courageously decided to leak classified information in the public interest.”

Public meeting: New Zealand’s COVID election, the breakdown of capitalism and the fight for socialism

By Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 28 September 2020

The Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) will hold a public online meeting, via Zoom, on Saturday October 3 at 4:00p.m. NZ time.

Australian government boosts bank profits as social misery deepens

By Mike Head, 26 September 2020

The lending law changes would see a return to the predatory policies that saw the impoverishment of thousands of households, small businesses and family farmers.

Former Australian PM Paul Keating lashes central bank

By Nick Beams, 26 September 2020

Keating’s overriding concern is the explosive social and political consequences of rising unemployment resulting from the deepening crisis of the capitalist economy.

Social health workers demonstrate in Tamil Nadu; Vietnamese garment workers strike over pay; Qantas baggage handlers protest against job cuts

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

26 September 2020

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

Australian government seeks to ban phones in immigration detention

By Martin Scott, 25 September 2020

The proposed new laws will allow warrantless searches and the use of sniffer dogs.

Australian health workers still being denied adequate PPE

By Clare Bruderlin, 25 September 2020

Nothing has been done to boost protection for health workers, meaning that further mass outbreaks of COVID-19 are all but inevitable.

Huge tax cuts for the wealthy trigger nervousness in Australian ruling elite

By Mike Head, 24 September 2020

The October 6 budget will give a dual-income household on $400,000 an annual tax cut of $23,280, while millions of people will have their JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments slashed.

Assange’s partner Stella Moris calls for Australian government to intervene in his defence

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 September 2020

“This is not something that the Australian government can just hide its head in the sand and say ‘nothing to do with us.’”

“NTEU Fightback” aims to replace the discredited Australian university union leadership

By Jack Turner, 22 September 2020

These supposed “socialists” are seeking to keep workers trapped within the industrial and political straitjacket of the trade unions.

Thirteen former national presidents demand an end to the British show-trial of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 September 2020

The statement demonstrates that the attempt to prosecute Assange for exposing war crimes is widely viewed as an act of imperialist banditry that brands Britain and the US as rogue states.

Australian university staff and students confront job cuts avalanche

By Mike Head, 21 September 2020

The NTEU and other trade unions are doing everything they can to prevent a nationwide strike against the escalating assault on university jobs and basic conditions.

University of Melbourne student union enforces club affiliation requirement amid pandemic

By Eric Ludlow, 21 September 2020

The student union’s demands will serve only to disaffiliate clubs, compounding the destructive impact of the COVID-19 crisis on cultural and political life on campus.

Australian jobs figures show acceleration of “gig economy”

By Mike Head, 19 September 2020

Governments and employers are exploiting the mass unemployment triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic to bludgeon workers onto reduced wages and conditions.

Australia: Ovato printing company demands more cuts to jobs and conditions

By Noel Holt, 19 September 2020

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has “bent over backwards” to assist Ovato restructure its operations.

India: Chennai garbage workers strike; Sri Lankan bank workers protest over contracts; Australian waterfront workers walkout

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

19 September 2020

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

New Zealand: Auckland University backs away from resuming classes after mass student opposition

By John Braddock, 18 September 2020

More than 10,000 Auckland University students have signed petitions opposing the resumption of lectures and classes amid ongoing community transmission of COVID-19.

Australia: Mentally-ill man in coma after brutal Victorian police assault

By Martin Scott, 18 September 2020

The man was rammed by a police car before he was pepper-sprayed and kicked in the head.

Former CIA director Leon Panetta: We are prosecuting Assange to intimidate others

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 September 2020

Panetta’s comments confirmed the mafia-character of the US-pursuit of Assange, its politically-motivated nature and flagrant disregard for international laws.

Journalist Andrew Fowler: If Assange is extradited, the same can happen to any of us

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 September 2020

“The attempt by the State to control information is at the heart of the charges against Assange. Its physical manifestation is there every day in the court.”

Australian ruling elite moves to junk coronavirus safety measures—the working class must intervene to answer the pandemic threat!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 17 September 2020

Sections of the ruling class have concluded that any further safety restrictions can no longer be tolerated, regardless of the danger to working class lives.

Letters from Australia, the US and New Zealand defending Philippine historian Dr. Joseph Scalice

By our reporters, 17 September 2020

The Communist Party of the Philippines “is scapegoating an historian for having the principles and courage to tell the truth to the whole world about the anti-democratic and anti-working class role of the Stalinists.”

Australian CEO pay hits record high, boosted by JobKeeper subsidies

By Jason Quill, 16 September 2020

Large companies have exploited government COVID-19 bailout schemes to increase executive rewards.

Attend SEP (Australia) online forum: The COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis of capitalism and the way forward for health workers

15 September 2020

The safety and well being of health workers must be taken out of the hands of governments and unions who have no interest in this task.

Management and NTEU prepare to cut jobs and conditions at Australia’s Newcastle University

By John Harris, 15 September 2020

In Newcastle, as around the country, the trade union is stepping up its collaboration with the employers to impose deep cost-cutting measures.

Assange would not have fair US trial, witness tells Old Bailey

By Thomas Scripps, 15 September 2020

A damning picture was painted of the degrading treatment which would characterise Assange’s detention in the US and of the impossible restrictions which would be placed on his legal defence.

Australia: Unions silent as dozens of New South Wales schools are affected by COVID-19

By Martin Scott, 14 September 2020

Even teachers over the age of 70, or with serious health conditions, have been forced back to front-line teaching since late May.

Australian government, Labor opposition silent on sadistic British show-trial of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 September 2020

The Australian political and media establishment has largely responded to the vicious attacks on Assange’s legal and democratic rights by pretending that they are not occurring.

Hundreds of new COVID-19 cases raise fears of uncontrolled outbreaks across the Pacific

By John Braddock, 12 September 2020

The surge in cases across the Pacific is causing a deepening health and social crisis, underscoring the global reach of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian raids on Chinese journalists mark escalation of US-led witch hunt

By Mike Head, 12 September 2020

The timeline of this affair points to an intensifying anti-China propaganda campaign, instigated by Washington and the intelligence apparatus.

Australia’s brutal immigration policy in Stateless: “What is my crime?”

By Joanne Laurier, 12 September 2020

Stateless, now showing on Netflix, deals with the harsh Australian immigration detention program and the horrors inflicted on persecuted refugees fleeing colonial wars.

India: Petrol refinery and agricultural marketing workers strike against privatisation; Pakistani government workers strike against pay freeze

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

12 September 2020

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

Solomon Islands’ renegade province threatens separatist split over China diplomatic recognition

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 September 2020

The threat is the latest in a series of provocations by the Malaitan leader, who is being backed by US and Australian imperialism.

Unions enforce pro-business restructure at Australia Post

By Jim Franklin and Oscar Grenfell, 11 September 2020

The unions are integrating themselves into management and enforcing a no-strike pledge, amid a major assault on the conditions of postal workers.

Australian intelligence agencies raided Chinese journalists in June

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 September 2020

Amid an escalating diplomatic conflict, it has emerged that the Australian intelligence agencies have been targeting Chinese journalists and academics.

Australian study reveals rise in mental health problems during COVID-19 pandemic

By John Mackay, 10 September 2020

The data shows that services remain woefully inadequate to deal with the impact of the pandemic and its aftermath.

Australian Education Union endorses re-opening of schools in Melbourne

By Sue Phillips, 9 September 2020

The union functions as the willing and active accomplice of the government and the education department.

Thousands of Australians stranded overseas by profiteering airlines

By John Harris, 9 September 2020

The message from the government and the airlines is clear: If you cannot afford to pay first class, you are on your own.

Unions help impose new wave of job cuts in Australian universities

By Mike Head, 8 September 2020

The NTEU and CPSU are pleading with the managements for negotiations on how to best enforce even deeper cost-cutting measures on their members.

The working class must demand an end to the show trial of Julian Assange

By Thomas Scripps, 8 September 2020

Assange’s kangaroo court extradition hearing has seen the UK, which boasts of being one of the world’s oldest democracies, sink to the level of a tinpot dictatorship.

Protesters condemn show trial of Julian Assange at the Old Bailey

By our reporters, 8 September 2020

Longstanding supporters were joined by others who had travelled from across the UK and from Switzerland, France, Portugal, the United States and Australia.

Watch John Pilger’s speech outside the London show-trial of Julian Assange

8 September 2020

“The American indictment is clearly rigged, a demonstrable sham. So far, the hearings have been reminiscent of their Stalinist equivalents during the Cold War.”

Australian big business, federal government demand accelerated lifting of Melbourne lockdown

By Patrick O’Connor, 8 September 2020

The anti-lockdown campaign is aimed at accelerating the ruling elite’s homicidal reopening of the economy.

“Schools should not be opened if it puts people at risk”

Australian teachers back US educators’ fight for independent rank and file safety committees

By our correspondents, 7 September 2020

Australian school teachers denounce re-opening of American schools and support the formation of rank-and-file safety committees.

Australian governments demand full economic “reopening” by December

By Mike Head, 7 September 2020

This reckless agenda is driven solely by the rapacious demands of big business for the lifting of all restrictions on profit-making.

As British show-trial resumes: The working class must defend Julian Assange!

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 September 2020

The persecution of Assange is an attempt to intimidate mass opposition to imperialist war, social inequality and a turn to authoritarianism, amid a breakdown of global capitalism and an eruption of the class struggle.

Profits soar as global crash intensifies social crisis in Australia

By Mike Head, 5 September 2020

The most severe recession since the 1930s Depression has already thrown one million out of work, with much worse to come.

Unions enforce takeover of Virgin Australia by private equity firm

By Martin Scott, 5 September 2020

The deal offers workers no guarantees but promises to further enshrine the unions’ role as enforcers of management dictates.

New Zealand Greens in crisis over private school funding

By Tom Peters, 5 September 2020

The Green co-leader’s decision to approve nearly $12 million in funding for an elite private school is in keeping with the pro-business politics of the party.

West Bengal administrative workers strike; Maharashtra nurses hold state-wide protests; private sector nurses strike in New Zealand

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

5 September 2020

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

Former Australian PM Tony Abbott: Let the elderly die for corporate profits

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 September 2020

Abbott, who was never known for his subtlety, merely gave unvarnished expression to the homicidal response to the pandemic by governments internationally.

Australia: International students and foreign visa holders face major social crisis

By Robert Campion, 4 September 2020

Some 61 percent of international students and other foreign visa holders were relying on savings which they said would be exhausted in a matter of weeks.

Australian government launches anti-China inquiry in universities

By Mike Head, 3 September 2020

McCarthyite-style parliamentary hearings will be held into “foreign interference in the university sector.”

Australian establishment treats sentencing of Christchurch terrorist as a non-event

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 September 2020

Fascist gunman Brenton Tarrant spent his formative years in Australia and had connections to extreme-right movements that were promoted by its political establishment.

Qantas eliminates over 2,000 ground crew jobs

By Terry Cook, 2 September 2020

The Australian government is bailing out the airline company as it exploits the COVID-19 pandemic to unveil a further restructuring.

Australian “assembly” of university workers seeks to head off rebellion against NTEU

By our correspondents, 2 September 2020

The online event was an attempt to divert the growing rank and file disgust over the union’s role in volunteering unprecedented sacrifices of jobs, pay and conditions.

Australian treasurer demands a dangerous “reopening” in Victoria

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 September 2020

The Victorian Labor government has signalled it will implement the same pro-business policies that have led to thousands of infections and hundreds of deaths over the past two months.

Major Australian corporations report windfalls from JobKeeper scheme

By Martin Scott, 31 August 2020

Although the true extent of the corporate welfare grab is unknown, listed companies have received at least $625 million in COVID-19 wage subsidies.

Australian report reveals accelerating social inequality in education

By Erika Zimmer, 31 August 2020

The data exposes the fraud of the Gonski funding model, commissioned by the last federal Labor government, ostensibly to overcome the socioeconomic divide.

Bipartisan Australian move to ban agreements with China

By Mike Head, 29 August 2020

The bill was announced amid bellicose anti-China speeches by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and an accompanying media witch hunt.

Labor MP denounces Australian government’s refusal to defend Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 August 2020

Labor parliamentarian Julian Hill could just as well have condemned his own party’s refusal to oppose the unprecedented persecution of the WikiLeaks publisher.