Australia and South Pacific

Julian Assange’s father warns WikiLeaks’ publisher’s health is “declining rapidly” in Belmarsh Prison

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 August 2019

”The government will willingly sacrifice Julian’s well-being to the demands of the US and the UK.”

Australian prime minister elevates pro-US militarists to top cabinet, intelligence positions

By James Cogan, 20 August 2019

Shearer’s role will be to advise Morrison and other ministers on how to publicly promote the US-led preparations for war with China.

Tensions over climate change dominate Pacific Islands summit

By John Braddock, 20 August 2019

Australia, with New Zealand’s support, has again quashed efforts by small Pacific Island states to push for measures to address climate change.

As Australian government threatens to jail journalists, media chiefs denounce Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 19 August 2019

While claiming to champion the “right to know,” media executives condemned the WikiLeaks founder for exposing the crimes of the US spy and military apparatuses.

New Zealand: Outrage over babies taken by the state

By John Braddock and Tom Peters, 17 August 2019

The brutal seizure of babies and infants from poor, mostly Maori families, has provoked public protests and outrage in the working class.

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.

Australia: Pro-US ideologue brands student groups as China’s “useful idiots”

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 August 2019

Clive Hamilton’s comments are a warning that Australia’s involvement in the US drive to war with China will be accompanied by political repression domestically.

Australia: Mentally-ill man carries out stabbing attacks in Sydney

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 August 2019

The alleged perpetrator was a 20-year-old man from a working-class suburb in Sydney’s west, with a lengthy history of psychological issues.

From Couch to Curb film launch highlights youth homelessness in Australia

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 August 2019

More than 116,000 people across Australia, or one in every 200, are currently without a home; a quarter of these are young people aged between 12 and 24.

Australia: Mentally-ill man shot dead by police at his home

By Martin Scott, 12 August 2019

“If there was no danger to the public, and if he was contained in his own house and not doing anything, one would have to ask ‘why in the hell is he gone?’”

The ABC documentary “Hero or Villain”: Undermining the defence of Julian Assange

By James Cogan, 12 August 2019

The program’s pernicious subtext was that Assange should be viewed as dubious, at best, and undeserving of sympathy, let alone active political support.

Following AUSMIN talks, Australian politician compares China to Nazi Germany

By James Cogan, 10 August 2019

Andrew Hastie falsely compared the purported failure of Australia to respond to the threat posed by China with France’s lack of response to the “German advance in 1940.”

US defence secretary, NATO chief visit New Zealand to strengthen military ties

By Tom Peters, 10 August 2019

The visits by US defence secretary Mark Esper and NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg were aimed at incorporating New Zealand further into the military build-up against China, Russia and Iran.

John Pilger warns: “Do not forget Assange. Or you will lose him”

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 August 2019

The well-known journalist outlined the WikiLeaks founder’s deteriorating health, and the draconian conditions in which he is being held in a British prison.

Australian High Court scraps free speech for workers

By Mike Head, 9 August 2019

The judges’ support for the sacking of a public servant is part of an assault on free speech under conditions of escalating social, geo-strategic and war tensions.

Jennifer Robinson, a leading member of Assange’s legal team, speaks with the WSWS

By our reporters, 9 August 2019

“It speaks volumes about Australia’s position in the world that it’s not willing to take a stand against the United States and protect an Australian citizen.”

Australian spy and police chiefs say raids on journalists must continue

By Mike Head, 8 August 2019

In a blunt intervention, Director-General of National Intelligence Nick Warner used the language of war to defend the targeting of journalists.

Protests in Australia continue to break official silence on Julian Assange

By our reporters, 7 August 2019

The sentiments of ordinary people stand in stark contrast to the refusal of all of the official parties to take any action in defence of the WikiLeaks founder.

Australia: Melbourne rail workers vote for strike action

By Patrick O’Connor, 7 August 2019

While privatisation has provided new and lucrative profit opportunities for corporate operators, it has proven a disaster for rail workers and commuters.

US Secretary of State demands greater Australian involvement in war drive against China

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 August 2019

The support for Pompeo’s aggressive remarks in Canberra is a warning that behind its back, the Australian population has been placed on the frontline of a confrontation with China that threatens a catastrophic nuclear war.

Assange’s father speaks to the WSWS: “Julian’s resolve is fierce”

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 August 2019

John Shipton condemned the Australian government’s refusal to raise the issue of Assange with the US, or to take any action in his defence, declaring: “Silence is complicity.”

Australian households’ cost of living soars above consumer price index

By Margaret Rees, 3 August 2019

A large gap has emerged between the official statistics and the standard of living, thanks to skyrocketing prices for essential goods and services, as opposed to prices for discretionary items.

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.

Intercept article calls on Democrats to step up attack on Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 July 2019

James Risen peddled the lies of CNN and the intelligence agencies, slanderously suggesting that Assange worked on behalf of Russia and the Trump campaign.

Australia: Six Queensland mining deaths in 12 months

By Patrick Davies, 30 July 2019

The tragedies are a result of the gutting of full-time jobs and the erosion of working conditions, enforced by the trade unions.

DP World threatens to sack 10 percent of its Australian workforce during industrial action

By Noel Holt, 29 July 2019

The move marks a new offensive by employers to further slash jobs, basic rights and conditions on the waterfront and throughout the working class as a whole.

Australian central bank chief fearful of rising global tensions

By Mike Head, 27 July 2019

“When businesses are nervous, they don’t want to invest,” Philip Lowe warned a corporate lunch audience.

Official New Zealand inquiry into Afghan war crimes further exposed as a whitewash

By Alan Johnson and John Braddock, 26 July 2019

The Labour government’s inquiry seeks to clean up the image of the NZ Defence Force for new wars.

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.

New Zealand foreign minister repeats call for increased US role in Pacific

By John Braddock, 25 July 2019

Peters’ speech echoed his earlier appeal for a stronger US-New Zealand military and strategic alliance to counter Beijing.

Australian government demands police-state powers over protests and exclusions of citizens

By Mike Head, 24 July 2019

The bills would hand governments the most authoritarian powers since the two world wars.

Australian aged care home closes abruptly, traumatising residents

By Jenny Campbell, 22 July 2019

Nurses and other Earle Haven staff members watched in horror and shame as patients were left in limbo, with their medications, patient records and equipment quickly removed from the premises.

Gulf between wealthy and poor widening in Australia

By Mike Head, 19 July 2019

Successive governments, both Liberal-National and Labor, have enriched the corporate elite at the expense of the working class.

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.

Melbourne rally participants speak in defence of Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 15 July 2019

“I don’t believe any government will stand up for Assange. I think that it comes down to normal people standing and fighting.”

Talisman Sabre: US and Australia prepare for war with China

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 July 2019

The massive military exercise in northern Australia, in preparation for conflict in the Indo-Pacific, has been treated as a non-event by the political and media establishment.

Rally in Melbourne demands freedom for Julian Assange

By our reporters, 15 July 2019

Amid cold and wet weather, about 130 people rallied with determination to demand Assange’s freedom.

Elderly poor suffering hypothermia in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 13 July 2019

The “Cold and Lonely” study points to an often-hidden social crisis—the avoidance or under-consumption of heating by people who must ration their energy use so they can pay their bills.

Euthanasia bill before New Zealand parliament

By John Braddock, 13 July 2019

The bill, which would make assisted suicide legal, is sponsored by leader of the far-right ACT party amid a sharpening social crisis.

Three months since arrest of WikiLeaks publisher

UK government holds “media freedom” conference while imprisoning Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 July 2019

The “media freedom” conference was held seven miles from Belmarsh Prison, where the world’s most famous persecuted journalist is jailed.

Indian aeronautic workers threaten national walkout; Pakistan power workers demand safe, permanent jobs; Taiwan union ends flight attendants’ strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

13 July 2019

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

Prominent Australian academic suggests building nuclear weapons

By Peter Symonds, 11 July 2019

The debate over nuclear weapons is another warning of the advanced preparations for war being made in capitals around the world.

Australian police monitoring journalists’ travel and internet data

By Mike Head, 10 July 2019

New reports demonstrate an escalating effort to criminalise exposures about key military and intelligence operations.

Australia: DP World stevedoring strike against attacks on conditions

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 July 2019

While the stoppage expresses growing militancy among dock workers, the union is seeking to contain any struggle and enforce a sell-out agreement.

SEP (Australia) holds rally in Brisbane to demand freedom for Assange and Manning

By Gary Alvernia, 8 July 2019

Despite downpours of rain, workers and young people came from far afield to join the event, demonstrating the underlying support for the WikiLeaks founder and the courageous whistleblower.

Australian Labor Party backs government’s tax cuts for the wealthy

By Mike Head, 6 July 2019

By voting for the massive tax cuts, Labor further repudiated its bogus election rhetoric against “the big end of town” and for a “fair go” for working people.

SEP meetings review political lessons of Australia’s federal election

By our reporters, 6 July 2019

Labor’s defeat in the May 18 elections poses the urgent necessity for an intensification of the fight for socialist and internationalist consciousness among workers and youth.

Australian workers and youth discuss SEP election campaign

By our reporters, 6 July 2019

“I’ve seen the Labor Party and the unions working hand-in-glove at the expense of the workers throughout my entire working life.”

Punjab Roadways workers strike for three days; thousands of Bangladesh municipal workers strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

6 July 2019

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

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson calls on journalist Peter Greste to defend Assange

4 July 2019

Ricketson’s “Open Letter” debunks Greste’s claim that Assange is not a journalist and therefore not deserving of support, and calls on him to defend the WikiLeaks founder, as he did Ricketson who was wrongly jailed in Cambodia.

Australian central bank cuts cash rate to record low

By Mike Head, 4 July 2019

The second cut in two months is a sign of fear in ruling circles of the intensifying impact of the global turmoil on the domestic economy.

South Australian teachers strike for better wages and conditions

By Sue Phillips, 4 July 2019

South Australia teachers have joined their counterparts in New Zealand, other Australian states and around the world, to strike against their current, unsustainable wages and conditions.

Video: Watch the Sydney Free Assange rally

4 July 2019

The demonstration is one of a series of rallies organised by the Socialist Equality Party to defend Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning; the next will be in Brisbane on Saturday followed by Melbourne on Sunday July 14.

Australian prime minister lines up with Trump at the G20

By Peter Symonds, 3 July 2019

Trump made clear that he expected Morrison and the Australian government to back the US in its confrontations on all fronts—in particular against Iran and China.

New Zealand secondary teachers’ union pushes through sellout

By Tom Peters and John Braddock, 3 July 2019

The deal pushed through by the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association, following a similar sellout by the primary teachers’ union, will only see the crisis in schools worsen.

Australia: Hundreds of students and staff protest against trimesters at UNSW

By our reporters, 3 July 2019

“Orientating the uni towards profit rather than education is not a good thing overall for education.”

Video: Protesters at SEP (Australia) rally speak out in defence of Assange and Manning

2 July 2019

“I came to support Julian because of all the time he has lost to help the poor people and the oppressed around the world.”

Australian media chiefs seek to divert anger over police raids

By Mike Head, 2 July 2019

There was no mention of the violent arrest of Julian Assange, which opened the floodgates for a broader assault on free speech.

Australian PM refused to raise persecution of Assange with Trump

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 July 2019

At the G20 summit Morrison fawned over Trump, who is seeking to imprison the WikiLeaks founder for life, or execute him.

SEP (Australia) holds Sydney rally in defence of Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 1 July 2019

“If two million people can come out on the streets of Hong Kong against extradition legislation, then we can surely build such a mass popular movement on a global scale to free Assange and Manning.”

Far-right Australian senator disbands party in favour of Coalition government

By Mike Head, 27 June 2019

Bernardi’s decision underscores the ongoing refashioning of the political establishment in a right-wing populist direction to try to divert seething social discontent.

Join the Sydney rally this Saturday demanding freedom for Julian Assange!

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 June 2019

The demonstration will insist that the Australian government take immediate action to prevent the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the US, where he faces life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson to speak at SEP rally in defence of Assange

26 June 2019

“We must do all in our power to prevent Assange’s extradition to the US. Signing petitions is not enough. We must make our presence felt in the streets at vigils and demonstrations.”

Australian teachers establish new Facebook “support network” against ongoing victimisation

By Erika Zimmer, 26 June 2019

Three victimised teachers have launched a new “Bullied Teachers Support Network,” under conditions where nearly 25 percent of NSW high school teachers claim to have been bullied.

Students and staff to protest imposition of trimesters at Australian university

By Martin Scott, 25 June 2019

The University of New South Wales management has put commercial interests ahead of education.

Australian Labor Party embraces huge tax cuts for richest 5 percent

By Mike Head, 25 June 2019

Labor has signalled its readiness to accept, directly or indirectly, the government’s plan to slash income taxes for those receiving more than $200,000 a year.

Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) calls rally to demand freedom for Julian Assange

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 25 June 2019

Support the SEG’s rally on Sunday July 14 as part of the international campaign to demand freedom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

New Zealand neo-Nazi jailed for 21 months for sharing video of mosque shootings

By Tom Peters, 24 June 2019

The trial was a test case for anti-democratic legislation that can and will be used to suppress mounting social opposition from the working class.

Australia: NSW government tries to minimise political and economic fallout over unsafe apartments

By John Wilson, 24 June 2019

Hundreds of Mascot Tower residents still have no idea when the structurally unsafe building will be repaired, so that they can finally return to their homes.

Australian Labor Party leader determined to expel building union official

By Mike Head, 21 June 2019

Corporate outlets have declared that John Setka’s removal is the first “test” of Anthony Albanese’s leadership in turning Labor further to the right.

Australian workers and youth support SEP rallies defending Assange

By our reporters, 21 June 2019

The hostility of ordinary people to the US attempts to prosecute Assange stands in stark contrast to the complicity of the political and media establishment.

Australia: NSW government unveils thousands of public sector job cuts

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 June 2019

The state budget includes 3,000 retrenchments, a deepening offensive against social services and massive handouts to big business.

Professor Stuart Rees to speak at SEP rally to defend Julian Assange

20 June 2019

“The rally must increase public awareness of the outrageous injustice if Julian is extradited to the US to face a possible 170 years in prison.”

John Pilger urges participation in SEP (Australia) rallies to defend Assange

19 June 2019

“In my career, there has never been a more important case. If we lose Julian and Chelsea Manning to the dungeons of a rogue America, once-liberal societies will never be the same again; democracies will be in name only.”

Two protesters arrested at Melbourne rally in defence of Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 June 2019

The arrests were aimed at intimidating supporters of WikiLeaks and preventing broader layers from joining the campaign to defend Assange and all democratic rights.

Australia: Another Sydney apartment block evacuated over major structural cracks

By John Wilson, 17 June 2019

The event underlines the escalating crisis in housing and apartment building and the cost-cutting methods used during the past two decades.

Australian Labor Party leader reinforces pro-business message by denouncing building union official

By Mike Head, 14 June 2019

The John Setka affair is an initial “test” set by the corporate elite for the Labor and union leaders of their capacity to suppress rising working-class unrest.

Australia’s industrial tribunal maintains poverty-level minimum wage

By Terry Cook, 13 June 2019

The ruling is part of a decades-long assault on workers’ pay and conditions enforced by successive governments and the trade unions.

New Zealand protest opposes persecution of Julian Assange and Australian journalists

By our reporters, 13 June 2019

Tom Peters of the Socialist Equality Group warned that press freedom and democratic rights are “not compatible with endless war and endless attacks on living standards.”

Australian Labor Party’s hypocrisy on police media raids exposed

By Mike Head, 12 June 2019

The opposition Labor Party has joined hands with the ruling Coalition to pass legislation handing unprecedented powers to the police and intelligence agencies.

Australian journalist calls on colleagues to defend Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 June 2019

Andrew Fowler warned: “If Assange is left to swing in the breeze, it will be an open invitation for any journalist, anywhere in the world, to be extradited to the US.”

US issues formal request for Assange’s extradition

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 June 2019

The Trump administration is pressing ahead with its attempt to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder over his role in the exposure of US war crimes and diplomatic conspiracies.

SEP (Australia) calls rallies demanding freedom for Julian Assange

11 June 2019

The protests will demand that the Australian government take immediate action to prevent the WikiLeaks founder's extradition to the US and secure his complete freedom.

Australia: Telstra to destroy 10,000 contract jobs over two years

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 June 2019

The announcement of new sackings targeting contractors coincided with reports that Telstra has already eliminated many of the 9,500 permanent jobs it is seeking to destroy by 2022.

Australian workers and youth defend Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

By our reporters, 10 June 2019

“Assange is a genius and a hero and if it wasn’t for him, people around the world would not know about government war crimes and other illegal things that they have been doing.”

Australian police chief links media raids to US-led “Five Eyes” spy network

By Mike Head, 8 June 2019

Gaughan’s statement points to the targeting of journalists in order to cover up Washington’s preparations for wars and mass political surveillance.

“Is there going to be a future for journalism?”

Australian media workers denounce police raids

By our correspondents, 8 June 2019

ABC workers spoke of their shock and alarm at the arrival of federal police in their building.

New Zealand secondary teachers’ union cancels industrial action

By Tom Peters, 7 June 2019

There is growing anger over the Labour Party-led government’s refusal to adequately fund education, and the unions’ efforts to isolate teachers.

Murder of homeless woman in Melbourne a result of housing and mental health crisis

By Tessa Hugo, 7 June 2019

The tragedy exposes a deep crisis within Australia’s healthcare system, which leaves scores of young people and workers unable to receive the treatment they often desperately need.

The global war on journalism

By Mike Head, 6 June 2019

The arrest of Julian Assange has set a precedent for the state persecution of journalists, triggering police raids in Australia and France against reporters documenting government crimes and corruption.

Australian Federal Police raid journalists over exposures of government spying, war crimes

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 June 2019

The raids, targeting a News Corp journalist and the Sydney offices of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, are part of an expanding assault on democratic rights and press freedom.

Australian government forces refugees back to face repression in Sri Lanka

By Max Newman, 5 June 2019

At least 20 more asylum seekers have been detained by the Australian navy and deported to Sri Lanka to face possible torture and imprisonment.

Australian PM’s trip to Solomon Islands highlights intensifying US confrontation with China

By Mike Head, 4 June 2019

Morrison’s visit, his third to the southwest Pacific this year, was to send a blunt message to Pacific Island states to line up against Beijing.

Britain and Australia dismiss UN report that Assange has been tortured

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 June 2019

The brazen responses demonstrate the criminality of the US-led vendetta against Assange, which is proceeding in violation of due process and the fundamental tenets of international law.

Sydney Peace Prize recipients demand Australian government defend Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 June 2019

The statement was a powerful indictment of the Australian political and media establishment, which has abandoned the WikiLeaks founder or openly participated in his persecution.

Australian billionaires celebrate soaring wealth, while wage case leaves millions in poverty

By Mike Head, 1 June 2019

The annual Rich List, along with the outcome of the latest minimum wage case, underscore the acceleration of social inequality in Australia and around the world.

New Zealand budget delivers billions for the military, starves public services

By Tom Peters, 1 June 2019

The Labour Party-led coalition government’s “well-being budget” deepens the program of austerity and militarism supported by all the parties in parliament.

Australia: Children detained in adult watch houses in Queensland

By John Harris, 31 May 2019

Children as young as ten have been held in maximum security facilities, where they have been subjected to horrific abuses.

Amid grave concerns for his health, Assange transferred to Belmarsh Prison medical wing

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 May 2019

The WSWS demands Assange’s immediate release from the maximum security prison and his transfer to a hospital with the best medical care available and with doctors of his choice.