Australia and South Pacific

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.

New Zealand nurses reject third sellout deal, prepare to strike

By Tom Peters, 22 June 2018

The nurses’ union is desperately seeking to avoid two 24-hour strikes scheduled for next month.

“Julian fights for peace and defends democratic rights”

Watch: Workers at SEP rally in Sydney demand freedom for Julian Assange

By our reporters, 22 June 2018

Workers and young people who attended the SEP’s Sydney rally denounced the persecution of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange and demanded his immediate release.

Ecuadorian foreign minister warns that Julian Assange’s political asylum is “not forever”

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 June 2018

Valencia’s comments are another indication of a conspiracy to force the WikiLeaks editor out of the Ecuadorian embassy and into British and US custody.

Assange is being punished for exposing state secrecy and the reality of war

By Linda Tenenbaum, 21 June 2018

SEP national committee member Linda Tenenbaum told the Sydney rally that the event was to initiate an international movement in defence of Assange and basic democratic rights.

Educators internationally must stand up for Julian Assange

By Sue Phillips, 21 June 2018

Committee For Public Education national convenor Sue Phillips told the Sydney rally that the defence of Assange is intimately connected to the fight for the democratic and social rights of students, educators and the working class.

Staff at Australia’s Macquarie University vote for unified fight against government cuts

By our correspondent, 20 June 2018

The vote indicates the emergence of highly significant opposition to the decades-long betrayals of the trade unions.

Australian vigils held in defence of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 20 June 2018

Speaking in Melbourne, SEP national secretary James Cogan indicted the Australian political and media establishment for their attacks on Assange and called for a turn to the working class.

Australian government denies palliative care to dying refugee

By Max Newman, 19 June 2018

Successive Australian governments have pioneered many of the brutal measures now being taken in Europe and the US.

The Turnbull government must act to repatriate Australian citizen Julian Assange to Australia

By James Cogan, 19 June 2018

This speech was delivered by James Cogan, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Australia, to a rally organised by the SEP in defence of Julian Assange last Sunday in Sydney.

Bringing Julian Assange Home

By John Pilger, 19 June 2018

Addressing last Sunday's SEP rally in Sydney, well-known filmmaker and documentarian, John Pilger exposed the role of Labor and Coalition governments, along with prominent journalists and editors in the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange.

More voices from the Sydney rally to free Julian Assange

By our reporters, 19 June 2018

“Freedom of thought and expression is what this kind of rally brings. They’re trying to make an example out of Assange to silence all of us.”

Union-management partnership at Australia’s Macquarie University will create “two-tier” workforce

By our correspondent, 18 June 2018

The NTEU is collaborating with management to introduce the “jobs families” plan that will force huge workloads onto 25 percent of teaching staff.

“We’re not asking Malcolm Turnbull to defend Assange, we are telling him!”

Watch: Rally to Free Julian Assange held in Sydney

18 June 2018

Hundreds of people participated in Sunday's demonstration in Sydney Town Hall Square to demand Julian Assange's safe return to Australia. The rally, organised by the Socialist Equality Party, featured speeches from SEP Australia national secretary James Cogan and independent journalist and filmmaker John Pilger.

Workers and young people speak out after Sydney rally to defend Julian Assange

By our reporters, 18 June 2018

“We need heroes like Assange to continue this work and tell us the truth.”

Australian government demands fast-track passage of anti-democratic “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 14 June 2018

The anti-China offensive sees a bipartisan front to ram through powers to crack down on political dissent.

A welcome development:

Actor Geoffrey Rush to return to stage with Melbourne Theatre Company

By Richard Phillips, 14 June 2018

Rush, the target of unsubstantiated allegations by Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, will play Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

Artists Tony Garnett, Davide Dormino and Costantino Ciervo demand freedom for Julian Assange

13 June 2018

Film and TV producer Tony Garnett said defending Julian Assange “is part of the fight for freedom, for the rights of the individual against state oppression.”

Demands grow that Australian government act to free Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 12 June 2018

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson insisted that the Turnbull government can and must intervene on behalf of the WikiLeaks editor.

Australian public high school teachers support campaign to free Julian Assange

By our reporters, 12 June 2018

Socialist Equality Party member Will Marshall moved a resolution in defence of Assange at Footscray City College.

New evidence of more Australian special forces’ war crimes in Afghanistan

By Mike Head, 11 June 2018

After years of official cover-up, a third closed-door inquiry is being conducted in an attempt to whitewash the abuses.

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.

Press conference to be held in Sydney ahead of rallies in defence of Assange

By our reporters, 11 June 2018

Canberra must meet its obligations to protect Julian Assange, as it did for Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste.

Professor Stuart Rees, former director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, calls for Assange’s liberty

9 June 2018

“Julian Assange has worked tirelessly to support free speech and to expose abuses of power by governments.”

US demands swift passage of Australian “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 8 June 2018

US officials “sought assurances” of parliamentary support for the laws directed against China and free speech.

Australia’s disability scheme prepares to restrict access for people with autism

By Max Newman, 7 June 2018

The move to reduce autism services underscores the cost-cutting character of the NDIS.

Fear of working-class unrest triggers Australian minimum pay increase

By Mike Head, 6 June 2018

The industrial judges voiced concerns that record poor wages growth has generated dangerous discontent.

Journalist Antony Loewenstein: “Heavy pressure” needed to win freedom and justice for Assange

6 June 2018

The following statement was sent by journalist and filmmaker Antony Loewenstein, a consistent defender of WikiLeaks.

Australian unions shut down state Labor conference to suppress discussion of anti-refugee policy

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 June 2018

The CFMMEU, presented as a “left-wing” and “militant” union, blocked a motion that questioned the brutal repression of asylum seekers.

Australia: Private health giant Healthscope axes 400 jobs

By Margaret Rees, 5 June 2018

The company is shutting down two hospitals in order to help secure a more favourable takeover bid.

Terry Hicks, father of former Guantánamo Bay prisoner David Hicks, supports Julian Assange

5 June 2018

“We pulled apart all the government and media lies and character assassination against David and we never gave up. This is what we have to do for Assange.”

Lift the ban on communications! Free Julian Assange!

By James Cogan, 4 June 2018

The American state and its allies are seeking to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in order to intimidate every critical and independent media organisation.

Papua New Guinea government plans to block access to Facebook

By John Braddock, 4 June 2018

The threatened month-long ban is part of a shift toward more authoritarian forms of rule, aimed at suppressing opposition to austerity measures and official corruption.

Lawyer Julian Burnside endorses June 17 Sydney demonstration for Assange’s freedom

4 June 2018

“The Turnbull government must help Julian Assange now. He must be helped to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy without being arrested.”

Indian garment workers demand higher pay, teachers demonstrate in China

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

2 June 2018

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

Australian “terrorist weapon” was a modified fly swatter

By Mike Head, 1 June 2018

The belated police admission raises further questions about the supposed bomb plot and the “war on terror.”

Two workers killed at Australian paper mill

By Paul Bartizan, 31 May 2018

The cause of the gas exposure is still unclear.

Break the silence on the danger facing Julian Assange

By James Cogan, 31 May 2018

A profound shift has taken place among a layer that previously postured as “liberal,” “left” and even “socialist.”

The working class must mobilize to free Julian Assange!

By Andre Damon, 30 May 2018

The demand for the freedom of Julian Assange must be connected to the developing international movement of workers against inequality, oppression and exploitation.

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.

Official report “just a fob off”

Australia: Residents denounce government response to PFAS health disaster

By our correspondents, 29 May 2018

The WSWS spoke to Terry and Jenny Robinson, who live on a contaminated property near a military base.

Gonski 2.0: A new business blueprint for Australian school education

By Linda Tenenbaum and Susan Allan, 29 May 2018

The most revealing aspect of the new Review is that it fails to provide any assessment of the role of the current education models in the school education crisis.

Demand freedom for Julian Assange! Join the demonstration in Sydney on June 17!

By James Cogan, 29 May 2018

Assange’s situation stems directly from the Australian government’s refusal to protect one of its citizens.

John Pilger endorses June 17 Sydney demonstration in defence of Julian Assange

29 May 2018

“Julian is a courageous editor persecuted for exercising a right enshrined in the United States Constitution.”

Australia’s spy chief demands passage of “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 28 May 2018

ASIO's Director-General Duncan Lewis is a key figure in the security apparatus, which operates as a “deep state” within ruling circles.

Indian port workers to walk out, 30,000 municipal workers remain on strike in Haryana state

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

26 May 2018

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

US-China tensions expose rifts in Australian ruling circles

By Mike Head, 25 May 2018

A parliamentary committee chairman threw a “grenade” into government efforts to overcome a chill in relations with China.

Joint email signals union-management partnership at Australia’s Macquarie University

By our correspondent, 24 May 2018

The NTEU is proceeding with the “strategic” measures in order to impose savage cost-cutting and restructuring

Scientists reveal global warming’s impact on Great Barrier Reef

By Frank Gaglioti, 23 May 2018

Warming events are becoming more frequent, giving coral insufficient time to recover.

Report highlights growing child hunger in Australia

By John Harris, 23 May 2018

Increases to the cost of living, including housing and utility costs, are fuelling a social crisis.

Australian workers and youth defend Julian Assange

By our reporters, 21 May 2018

The support for Assange stands in stark contrast to the venomous hostility to the WikiLeaks editor from governments and the corporate media.

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.

Australian government rules out referendum as dual citizenship crisis escalates

By Mike Head and James Cogan, 19 May 2018

The Coalition government has moved to make it even more difficult to prove “unqualified allegiance” to Australia

Australian government “review” prepares deeper public sector cuts

By Terry Cook, 18 May 2018

The review will be a mechanism to justify further privatisations, outsourcing and cuts to jobs and conditions.

Australia: Why is the New South Wales Teachers Federation promoting a new NAPLAN?

By Erika Zimmer, 18 May 2018

Australian teachers have been almost universally hostile to NAPLAN testing which was introduced by the former Rudd Labor government a decade ago.

US State Department accuses China of “economic blackmail”

By Mike Head, 16 May 2018

The Australian media highlighted the provocative report, which alleges that China is using “debtbook diplomacy” to take over Asian and Pacific countries.

Australian pseudo-left backs union campaign to elect a big business Labor government

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 May 2018

Socialist Alternative is attempting to cover up the fact that Labor and the unions have become the central political instruments of the corporate elite.

Hillary Clinton demands Australia and New Zealand act against “Chinese interference”

By Mike Head, 14 May 2018

Clinton’s whipping up of anti-Chinese sentiment in Australia and New Zealand was accompanied by her appeals to affluent feminist layers.

New Zealand government boosts foreign aid for “Pacific Reset”

By John Braddock, 12 May 2018

The increased spending is aimed at pushing back against growing Chinese influence in the region.

Delivery drivers strike in China, Korean Airline pilots and workers demand dismissal of company chairman

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

12 May 2018

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

Australian Labor leader replies to budget with empty populism

By Mike Head, 11 May 2018

Bill Shorten postured as a champion of “Australians doing it tough,” while denouncing the government for not cutting the budget deficit enough to prepare for “global bad news.”

Australian unions promote Labor Party at “Change the Rules” rally in Melbourne

By our reporters, 11 May 2018

Between 60,000 and 100,000 workers marched in central Melbourne.

For a socialist movement against war throughout the Asia-Pacific region

By James Cogan, 11 May 2018

The following speech was delivered to the ICFI’s May Day 2018 International Online Rally by James Cogan, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia).

Australian High Court citizenship ruling disqualifies five more MPs

By Mike Head, 10 May 2018

The ruling takes to a new level a purge of parliament to clear out anyone lacking “unqualified allegiance” to Australia.

The way forward for New Zealand nurses: Break from the unions! Unite the working class against the Labour government!

By Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 10 May 2018

The fight by nurses and other health workers for decent wages and conditions must be consciously directed against the Labour Party government and the pro-capitalist trade unions.

A desperate and vicious pre-election budget in Australia

By Mike Head, 9 May 2018

The government is preparing to try and scrape back into office before the economic and political situation worsens.

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.

Australia: Melbourne university staff strike to defend academic freedom

By Patrick O’Connor, 7 May 2018

Through the “reforms” of successive Labor and Liberal-National governments, universities have been transformed into privatised and corporatised entities.

ExxonMobil gas project a disaster for Papua New Guinea’s people

By John Braddock, 4 May 2018

The country’s impoverished population would have been better off by almost every measure of economic welfare without the LNG project.

Australia: Unions, state governments, try to rescue standardised testing as student performance declines

By Erika Zimmer, 3 May 2018

A recent comprehensive analysis found that the NAPLAN test results of disadvantaged students had sharply declined.

Leaked documents expose plans for internal surveillance by Australia’s electronic spy agency

By Mike Head, 2 May 2018

The leaks point to the preoccupation of the ruling class with monitoring and suppressing mounting domestic disaffection and unrest.

Anzac Day 2018: Australia stages a “gender-inclusive” glorification of war

By Richard Phillips, 2 May 2018

Female veterans, including participants in the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, were given pride of place in this year’s military marches.

Global giant spearheads drive for further healthcare privatisation in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 1 May 2018

Bupa wants to restrict its “gap cover” to customers who undergo medical procedures in facilities under contract to the company.

Australian High Court rubberstamps “fast track” denial of refugee visas

By Mike Head, 30 April 2018

The court’s decision will help the Liberal-National Coalition government speed up the return of thousands of asylum seekers to the countries they fled.

Australian rail union tries to suppress continuing hostility to NSW train sellout

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 April 2018

The union is acutely aware that the pro-business restructuring mandated by the enterprise agreement will provoke struggles among rail workers.

Australian government prepares budget and possible early election

By Mike Head, 28 April 2018

Such an election would be the latest attempt to install a government that can carry through a far deeper assault on social spending, as well as prepare for potential trade wars and wars.

North and South Korea hold “peace” summit

By James Cogan, 27 April 2018

Any concrete development toward a rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula on US-dictated terms will be viewed with immense concern in Beijing.

After Washington briefings, Australian Labor Party reiterates support for “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 27 April 2018

Just as another anti-China scare campaign was launched, Labor’s shadow foreign affairs minister emphasised its backing for the measures directed against China and anti-war dissent.

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 government imposes harsh financial burdens on immigrant families

By Max Newman, 25 April 2018

New migrants now have to pay more than double to bring family members to Australia.

Australian and Chinese navy ships reportedly face off in the South China Sea

By Gary Alvernia, 24 April 2018

International media outlets gave the incident prominent coverage, depicting it as a “Chinese challenge” to Australian warships.

Australian unions impose sweeping job and pay cuts via “interest-based bargaining”

By Mike Head, 24 April 2018

The IBB process is a new stage in the decades-long transformation of the unions into corporatist entities.

Australian workers and youth denounce persecution of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 23 April 2018

The sentiments of ordinary people stand in stark contrast to the actions of the official parliamentary parties, which are all complicit in the attacks on WikiLeaks and Assange.

Geoffrey Rush defamation case: Australian judge dismisses newspaper’s latest defence

By Richard Phillips, 23 April 2018

Friday’s ruling is another legal setback for the Murdoch-owned Daily Telegraph and the #MeToo campaign’s contempt for democratic principles.

British Commonwealth summit sees line up against China and Russia

By Mike Head, 23 April 2018

The CHOGM gathering saw a concerted drive to transform the 53-member grouping, long regarded as an imperial relic, into a confrontational vehicle.

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 Greens riven by factional conflicts

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 April 2018

The tensions, which threaten splits in the party, have been spurred by a series of recent electoral defeats.

Resolutions of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) Fourth National Congress

The SEP and the Political Independence of the Working Class

20 April 2018

The Fourth National Congress of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) was held in Sydney from March 30 to April 2, 2018.

Resolutions of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) Fourth National Congress

For an International Anti-War Movement!

20 April 2018

The following text is the second of four resolutions passed at the Fourth National Congress of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) held in Sydney from March 30 to April 2, 2018.

Australian meetings to call for Julian Assange’s freedom

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 20 April 2018

The Australian political and media establishment bears major responsibility for the outrages perpetrated against Julian Assange.

Australian government endorses US-led strikes on Syria

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 April 2018

The support of the Turnbull government and Labor opposition for the illegal act of aggression, is in line with Australia’s role as a key military and diplomatic ally of Washington.

Australia: Discontent as union pushes collaboration with management at Macquarie University

By Mike Head, 17 April 2018

Younger academics and casual teachers, in particular, have voiced disbelief at the National Tertiary Education Union’s assurances.

Australian government pushes ahead with “foreign donations” ban

By Mike Head, 16 April 2018

The bill is a part of a multi-pronged legislative package that targets alleged “Chinese interference” in Australian political and commercial life.

Another Australian prime minister faces serious crisis

By Mike Head, 14 April 2018

At the heart of the worsening political instability are mounting economic and geo-strategic pressures.

Meeting in Brisbane May 20: Organise Resistance to Internet Censorship! Free Julian Assange!

14 April 2018

The silencing of Assange coincides with Washington’s escalation of war in Syria and preparations for confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.

Thousands of oil tanker drivers in Odisha, India to strike next week for higher pay

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

14 April 2018

The Odisha tanker drivers are employed by contractors for the state-owned oil corporations and are only paid about $US115 per month.

Australian media stokes fears of Chinese military base in Vanuatu

By John Braddock, 13 April 2018

The escalating propaganda war is another sign of deepening tensions across the Asia Pacific that threaten to embroil the entire region into a major war.

Australian asylum seekers stripped of minimal welfare payments

By Max Newman, 11 April 2018

As of this month, over 12,000 refugees are at risk of being left destitute and forced to return to the countries they fled.

Australian universities integrated into military build-up

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 April 2018

A report last month documented the proliferation of ties between Australian universities, government-backed military research, and private contractors, including arms dealers.

Australian tertiary education union imposes cuts to wages and conditions at Murdoch University

By Mike Head, 9 April 2018

Almost half the university’s staff abstained or refused to vote in the postal ballot to accept the NTEU-negotiated agreement.