Australian Social Issues & Inequality

Mass protests after police shoot and kill Aboriginal teenager in remote Australian town

By Eric Ludlow, 15 November 2019

The police killing of Kumanjayi Walker in the poverty-stricken Northern Territory community of Yuendumu has led to widespread protests across Australia.

Australian aged care report: “A shocking tale of neglect”

By Cheryl Crisp, 13 November 2019

The inquiry’s “urgent” recommendations do nothing to address the underlying reasons for these appalling conditions.

Australian Labor Party review covers up causes of federal election debacle

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 November 2019

The real reason for Labor’s defeat is that it is incapable of making a credible appeal to workers and young people, after decades of having imposed the dictates of big business.

Australia: Mobilise students, staff and academics against the closure of Macquarie University’s human sciences faculty

By the Committee for Public Education, 7 November 2019

The National Tertiary Education Union’s major concern is not the job cuts themselves, but that they were left out of the “consultation process” required to implement them.

Australia: Bullied teachers reveal union complicity in victimisations—Part 1

By Sue Phillips and Erika Zimmer, 4 November 2019

The WSWS and Committee for Public Education discuss the crisis in Australia’s public schools, with the founders of the Bullied Teachers Support Network.

Australia: Official unemployment figures downplay growing jobs crisis

By Terry Cook, 2 November 2019

The mass destruction of full-time jobs and a rapid growth in casualisation across every sector has been overseen by Liberal and Labor governments alike.

Australian government ministers call for protesters to be cut off welfare

By Mike Head, 11 October 2019

While the remarks referred to “Extinction Rebellion” demonstrators who temporarily blocked some traffic in major cities, they have a wider anti-democratic logic.

Australian students and youth speak out at climate strikes

By our reporters, 23 September 2019

“The governments are too scared to do anything because they want to make profits, rather than save the planet.”

Australian government “balances” budget at expense of disabled

By Mike Head, 23 September 2019

The Morrison government “saved” $4.6 billion by underfunding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and cutting a total of $6.4 billion from social programs.

Bupa’s aged care homes failing official standards across Australia

By Jenny Campbell, 17 September 2019

The record illustrates the extent to which corporations have been permitted to prioritise profits over care.

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.

Household incomes dropping in Australia as economy slides toward recession

By Mike Head, 10 September 2019

Working class living standards are continuing a seven-year fall, setting the scene for class conflict.

Stop the deportation of the Biloela refugee family from Australia!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 4 September 2019

The fight to defend refugees can only advance through a struggle by the working class against the right-wing nationalist policies of the entire political establishment, including Labor and the Greens.

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?’”

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Australian retail giant to cut jobs, wages

By Eric Ludlow, 9 July 2019

Woolworths, one of Australia’s two major supermarket chains, last month announced a restructure that endangers thousands of jobs across the country.

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.

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.

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.

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 MPs push for huge tax cuts for wealthy

By Mike Head, 22 June 2019

The wealthiest layers of society would enjoy the biggest tax handouts since the Hawke and Keating Labor governments of 1983 to 1996.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

The Australian Labor Party’s election debacle and the fight against the far-right

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 May 2019

The election outcome exposes the bankrupt claims by the unions and the pseudo-left that the rise of the extreme right can be opposed by supporting pro-business centre-left parties such as the Australian Labor Party.

Only socialist policies can resolve the Australian public education crisis

By the Committee for Public Education, 18 May 2019

Teachers and parents should treat the sham election promises of Labor, Liberal and the Greens on education with the contempt they deserve.

Labor’s promise on childcare wages—another cynical deception

By Terry Cook, 17 May 2019

Labor leader Bill Shorten’s pledge is designed to prevent a rank-and-file struggle for a genuine improvement in wages and working conditions.

Australia’s central bank slashes growth forecasts

By Mike Head, 15 May 2019

Regardless of whether Labor or the Coalition wins office, the next government will be one of even more severe austerity.

Factory fire symptomatic of social devastation in Calwell electorate

By Peter Byrne: SEP candidate for Calwell, 14 May 2019

“Where factories once employed workers who actually made things, they are now rented and filled with toxic waste, then abandoned.”

Economic reversal exposes Australian election myths

By Mike Head, 27 April 2019

Inflation was zero during the March quarter, indicating a rapidly stalling economy that will intensify the corporate offensive against the working class.

Australian construction workers facing massive fines for striking

By Terry Cook, 26 April 2019

The Australian Building and Construction Commission has launched legal action against workers involved in a short work-stoppage last year.

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 Labor Party leader offers false hope of “fair go” in budget reply

By Mike Head, 5 April 2019

Acutely aware of seething working class discontent towards the entire political establishment, Shorten sought to promote illusions in making capitalism less brutal.

More layoffs point to worsening jobs crisis in Australia

By Terry Cook, 5 April 2019

Major companies across a range of sectors continue to shed jobs amid forecasts of a worsening global slowdown, particularly in China.

Australian property prices fall faster than during global financial crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 March 2019

Analysts have warned that a host of global factors could transform the downturn into a full-blown economic crash.

The struggle to stem climate change is the political fight to end capitalism!

Join the International Youth and Students for Social Equality!

By the IYSSE (Australia), 14 March 2019

The IYSSE will distribute the following statement tomorrow at high school student strikes demanding immediate action to resolve climate change and environmental destruction.

Australian unions try to push through another sellout deal at BlueScope steel

By Martin Scott, 13 March 2019

Working hand-in-hand with BlueScope management, the Australian Workers Union claimed that the fate of the multi-billion dollar company depended on “sacrifices” being made by its employees.

Workers and young people speak out at Melbourne rally to free Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 12 March 2019

“If Julian doesn’t receive freedom, if Chelsea Manning is not released, then we are going down a slippery slope.”

Warnings of further housing plunge and job losses in Australia

By Mike Head, 4 March 2019

With a federal election due in May, the corporate elite is insisting that austerity measures must be imposed.

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

Another flammable cladding fire in Australia highlights government failure

By Paul Bartizan, 6 February 2019

The fire at central Melbourne’s NEO200 high-rise apartment was caused by the same flammable panels used on London’s Grenfell Tower.

Australia: Opal Tower builder stops paying hotel fees for some evacuated residents

By John Wilson, 30 January 2019

Engineers for the body corporate have still not signed off on the safety of the apartment block, which was evacuated last month.

Australia: Port Kembla Coal Terminal locks out workers

By John Harris, 25 January 2019

The union created the conditions for the company attack and has isolated the workers since they were locked-out on Saturday morning.

Signs of slump in Australia overshadow looming election

By Mike Head, 18 January 2019

Regardless of all the promises, a sharp downturn will drive another wave of austerity measures and job-shedding once an election is out of the way.

Evacuated Opal Tower residents in Australia express anger and dismay

By our reporters, 8 January 2019

Residents of Opal Tower in Sydney have been living in temporary accommodation since the discovery of large broken concrete panels in the building.

Opal Tower structural flaws expose rot in Australian construction industry

By John Wilson, 7 January 2019

Residents have been told they must wait at least another week before they can reoccupy the building because the specific cause of the cracking has yet to be identified.

Australia: Structural faults in 36-storey building cause mass evacuation

By our reporters, 3 January 2019

Self-regulation and self-certification have been introduced in every area of the construction industry over the past 25 years, to speed up approval processes and maximise profits.

NSW Ambulance makes stunning reversal of allegation against Australian paramedic Tony Jenkins

By Cheryl Crisp, 27 December 2018

Scrutiny of the “Root Cause Analysis” forces reversal of allegation against veteran NSW paramedic.

Australian union leader warns of eruption of working class struggle

By Mike Head, 20 December 2018

ACTU secretary Sally McManus invoked the spectre of a tsunami of social unrest unless a Labor government bolstered the policing role of the trade unions.

SEP (Australia) meeting announces rallies in defence of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 18 December 2018

The protests in Sydney and Melbourne will demand that the government take immediate action to secure Assange’s return to Australia, with a guarantee against extradition to the US.

Australian workers and youth speak out in defence of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 15 December 2018

“The Australian government’s role in the attacks on Assange has been pathetic, gutless, disgraceful. They just do what the US deep state tells them to do.”

Australian Labor Party prepares for government amid political and economic turmoil

By Mike Head, 14 December 2018

For all the “fair go” rhetoric, Labor’s three-day conference will seek the backing of big business for a government that can suppress unrest, impose austerity and prepare for further US-led wars.

More warnings of an Australian property market crash

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 December 2018

Sydney’s house prices registered their sharpest monthly decline in 14 years, accompanied by rising mortgage stress and indications of a broader economic slowdown.

Baby’s death on Australia’s Gold Coast points to worsening social conditions

By Gary Alvernia, 29 November 2018

The discovery of a dead baby at Surfers Paradise is a tragic expression of intensifying poverty, social inequality, underfunding of public services and government indifference.

Australian prime minister denounces students’ climate-change protests

By Oscar Grenfell, 28 November 2018

Scott Morrison’s comments expressed the acute fear of the ruling establishment that students and young people are beginning to enter into political struggle.

Australia: Welfare cut leaves asylum seekers facing destitution

By Max Newman, 13 November 2018

A new report shows that nearly 80 percent of those cut off benefits are at risk of homelessness.

Australia: Horse-racing lobby forces Sydney Opera House to advertise $13 million horse race

By Richard Phillips, 18 October 2018

Racing industry, media and government bullying of Opera House management was angrily rejected by tens of thousands of Sydney residents.

Sharp rise in child protection interventions in Australia

By Michelle Stevens, 8 October 2018

The statistics point to a deepening social crisis, particularly in working class and rural areas, with the worst impact on indigenous families.

Australian banks downgraded as concerns mount over falling property prices

By Mike Head, 5 October 2018

The loss of “unquestionably strong” status is another indicator of a potential property and financial crash, with devastating consequences.

Australian royal commission reveals predatory practices of insurance companies

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 September 2018

Testimony indicated that the major insurance companies had breached their own regulations more than 30,000 times without incurring any substantial penalties.

Australian university students face unprecedented financial pressures

By Martin Scott, 24 September 2018

Students confront a housing affordability crisis, low-paid work and a mountain of tuition debt.

Rising homelessness among older people in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 22 September 2018

After working their entire lives, older workers are not guaranteed even a roof over their head.

Australia’s financial newspaper warns of another global crash

By Mike Head, 19 September 2018

The prospect of a financial meltdown is propelling a drive to refashion the political establishment to suppress the anticipated eruption of working-class unrest.

Western Australia: Indigenous boys drown trying to escape police

By Richard Phillips, 19 September 2018

The two teenagers were so terrified of being taken into police custody that they tried to escape by swimming across a dangerous river.

Australian government calls royal commission into aged care but numerous reports have already exposed major crisis

By Clare Bruderlin, 17 September 2018

Neglect, mistreatment and shocking conditions are an everyday reality for many now living in residential aged care.

Poor and unhealthy: Australia’s artists in social free-fall

By Kaye Tucker, 12 September 2018

Professional performing artists and support crews have a 74-year average life expectancy, ten years less than the general Australian population.

Hundreds of Australian Aborigines killed in state custody

By Richard Phillips, 10 September 2018

Figures published last week by the Guardian reveal that over 400 Aborigines have died whilst in the custody of Australian police and prison officers since 1991.

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.

Australia: Footage reveals brutal prison murder of young Aboriginal man

By John Harris, 23 August 2018

The killing is the latest in a series of violent attacks perpetrated by prison officers.

Australian police killed mentally ill young woman seconds after arriving at scene

By Martin Scott, 18 August 2018

The Coroner’s Court was told that 42 percent of those shot by police in Australia between 1989 and 2011 were suffering from a mental illness.

Australian government facing defeat over energy policy and company tax cuts

By Mike Head, 17 August 2018

It is clear from the events of this week that the government’s two signature policies are in tatters.

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.

Australia: Report reveals “Harvest Trail” exploitation of overseas workers

By Hugh Peters, 30 July 2018

The exploitative practices are the outcome of the gutting of permanent jobs by employers and successive governments, assisted by the trade unions.

Report finds majority of Australian youth favour socialism

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 June 2018

The poll showed that the growing attraction to socialism is closely related to a rise of anti-capitalist sentiments.

Australian Senate votes for huge tax cuts for wealthy

By Mike Head, 22 June 2018

The tax plans are designed to boost corporate profits and investors’ incomes under conditions of global turmoil and trade war.

More than half of Australian workers in part-time insecure employment

By Terry Cook, 11 June 2018

Decades of job destruction have produced a “gig economy,” with many young workers unlikely to ever hold a full-time job.

Rich list shows more Australian billionaires than ever

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 May 2018

The wealthiest six individuals alone control almost as much wealth as the poorest 20 percent of the population.

Australian feminists deny mental health crisis behind Margaret River murder-suicide

By Cheryl Crisp, 26 May 2018

The proponents of feminist identity politics provide a cover for the social conditions that led to the tragedy.

Australian apartment owners to join legal action over flammable cladding

By Paul Bartizan, 21 May 2018

Despite last year’s Grenfell Tower disaster in Britain, Australian governments refuse to take any serious action to remove flammable cladding or stop its widespread use.

Report underscores Australian rental affordability crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 8 May 2018

The inflated housing bubble has created a social disaster, especially for recipients of poverty-level government welfare.

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 banking revelations fuel political crisis

By Mike Head, 23 April 2018

Public outrage has mounted as damning evidence emerges from hearings conducted by a royal commission into financial services.

Australian government forced to delay company tax cut bill

By Mike Head, 30 March 2018

The setback could reignite the factional rifts that have wracked both the Liberal and National parties, especially since the Coalition government’s near-defeat in 2016.

“Financial toxicity” affects poorer cancer patients in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 23 March 2018

High medical payments and reduced income while patients are being treated or recovering from cancer are causing distress and avoidable deaths.

Deep social crisis ignored in South Australian election campaign

By Mike Head, 6 March 2018

After clinging to office for 16 years, the state Labor government could be swept out, or forced to form a minority administration with “SA Best.”

Australia: Why the RTBU is muzzling railworkers

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 February 2018

Having used the ruling of the Fair Work Commission to suppress a strike, for which rail workers voted, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union is trying to silence them and censor any expressions of opposition.