Australia and South Pacific

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.

Australian dock workers strike against threatened 60 percent wage cut

By our reporters, 6 April 2018

The Maritime Union of Australia is isolating the workers, while it seeks to strike a sellout deal with Qube Ports.

Australia proposes visas for white South Africans

By Max Newman and Mike Head, 6 April 2018

Home Affairs Minister Dutton insists white farmers deserve “special attention” for humanitarian visas.

Australian workers and youth condemn police assault on disabled pensioner

By our reporters, 5 April 2018

Graphic video footage of a distressed man being attacked by six police officers has provoked deep concern in the working class.

Ex-Australian prime minister embraces Pauline Hanson

By Mike Head, 3 April 2018

Abbott’s decision to launch Hanson’s book marks a sharp shift to the right within the political establishment to promote nationalism and xenophobia.

Australia: Victorian police assault disability pensioner

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 April 2018

Captured on CCTV footage, the incident graphically exposes the impunity with which police officers brutalise working class people, especially the poor and the vulnerable.

New Zealand: Labour government hit by sexual assault allegations

By John Braddock, 31 March 2018

The media has deliberately inflated an apparently minor incident into a major national issue as a warning to Labour to press ahead with an agenda of austerity and war preparations.

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.

Australian train workers denounce NSW rail sellout

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 March 2018

Workers question the legitimacy of the postal ballot and condemn the sordid manoeuvres of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union.

Opposition to Australian “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 27 March 2018

Under the banner of combating a Chinese “conspiracy” to dominate Australia, the bills contain far-reaching attacks on fundamental democratic rights.

Unions impose sellout deal on Australian rail workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 March 2018

The New South Wales rail unions could only secure a razor-thin margin through a months-long campaign to stifle and suppress opposition.

“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.

Geoffrey Rush lawsuit strikes blow against anti-democratic #MeToo campaign

By Richard Phillips and James Cogan, 22 March 2018

A judge ruled that the Murdoch media could not substantiate the allegations of sexual misconduct it made against acclaimed Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.

Interviews with voters at the Batman by-election

By our reporters, 20 March 2018

“There should be money for everybody, for health, for the elderly.”

Australian by-election in Melbourne heightens Greens’ crisis

By Patrick O’Connor, 20 March 2018

The Greens’ defeat in Batman marks a significant blow to their hopes of enlarging their influence within the parliamentary apparatus.

Union prepares another sellout deal at Australia’s Macquarie University

By our correspondent, 20 March 2018

The secrecy imposed by the NTEU is a warning that Macquarie will be a test case for the union’s capacity to impose intensifying cuts and pro-business measures.

Australian women join legal actions over pelvic implants

By Michelle Stevens, 20 March 2018

The allegations against the pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, if proven correct, will reveal a profit-driven disregard for the health and wellbeing of the women.

Australia-ASEAN summit held amid US-China tensions

By James Cogan, 19 March 2018

Australian Prime Minister Turnbull sought to draw more ASEAN members toward the anti-China orientation of the more openly US-aligned states.

Liberals take office in South Australia with a minority vote

By Mike Head, 19 March 2018

The result is part of a wider pattern in recent Australian elections that points to the breakdown of the two-party political set-up, through which the capitalist class has ruled since World War II.

Australian government to push through anti-democratic “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 17 March 2018

Submissions to a parliamentary committee provided chilling examples of how the legislation will eviscerate freedom of political expression and organisation.

Former Tongan PM charged in passport inquiry

By John Braddock, 17 March 2018

Tonga’s autocratic political system is under increasing pressure from the regional powers, Australia and New Zealand, over growing Chinese influence.

Australia: SEP meeting discusses government-media campaign over “African gangs”

By our reporters, 17 March 2018

The SEP has led a fight within the working class against the provocative hysteria against young people of African origin.

Forty thousand Indian railway workers march on parliament

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

17 March 2018

The workers were protesting against the introduction of a mandatory employee-contribution pension scheme.

New Zealand: Reject the union sellout of Wellington rail workers!

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 16 March 2018

The RMTU, private companies Transdev and Hyundai Rotem, and the Greater Wellington Regional Council want to impose a pro-business deal that freezes wages and paves the way for job cuts.

South Australian election campaign points to deepening political alienation

By Mike Head, 16 March 2018

No commentator has been able to predict the result, because of the ongoing collapse of support for the two major parties—Labor and Liberal.

Australia: By-election education “debate” reveals bogus Greens-Labor contest

By Frank Gaglioti and David Cohen, 16 March 2018

The event underscored the fraud of the efforts of Labor and the Greens in the Batman election campaign to present themselves as duelling “progressive” parties.

Australia: Unions preside over anti-democratic ballot to sell out NSW rail workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 March 2018

The rail unions have done everything they can to suppress any industrial and political struggle by workers.

Australia: Bileola residents protest at pre-dawn removal of Tamil refugee family

By Max Newman, 15 March 2018

People in a Queensland rural town are outraged at the pre-dawn Australian Border Force raid to seize and imprison a local family.

Pseudo-left groups form new “Victorian Socialists” electoral front in Australia

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 15 March 2018

The latest opportunist manoeuvre by the pseudo-left is a calculated response to immense disaffection within the working class towards the Labor Party.

Falling wages point to economic and social reality in Australia

By Mike Head, 14 March 2018

Instead of “jobs and growth,” the statistics point to increasing casualisation, real wage cuts and deepening social inequality.

Join the International Youth and Students for Social Equality! Take up the fight for socialism!

By the IYSSE (Australia), 14 March 2018

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) distributed the following statement at university orientation week events across Australia and in New Zealand.

Australian pseudo-lefts feature at pro-imperialist #SaveGhouta rallies

By Zac Hambides, 13 March 2018

The real purpose of the rallies was to urge the US and other Western imperialist powers to directly militarily intervene into Syria.

Gas profits and China fears drive Australia-Timor boundary treaty

By Mike Head, 13 March 2018

There were concerns in both Canberra and Washington that Australia’s refusal to abide by international law was opening the door for China to acquire greater influence.

Sweet Country: Bitter truths about Aboriginal dispossession in Australia

By George Morley, 13 March 2018

Warwick Thornton’s second feature is a visually striking and powerful historical drama, which confronts audiences with some ugly truths about Australia’s colonial past.

Rising anger over aid delays in Papua New Guinea’s catastrophic quake disaster

By John Roberts, 12 March 2018

The humanitarian crisis resulting from the earthquake exposes the inadequate response of the PNG and Australian governments.

Vote “no” in the postal ballot!

Australia: Rail authorities, unions push sellout deal in NSW train dispute

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 March 2018

The agreement provides for continuous pro-business restructuring, job cuts and the elimination of working conditions.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

10 March 2018

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

Australia: “Silent invasion” book advocates war against China

By Mike Head, 8 March 2018

A new book seeks to whip up anti-Chinese chauvinism, brand any dissent as treasonous, and insist on unconditional commitment to US war plans.

Australia: Anger erupts over privatised bus services in Newcastle

By Max Newman, 8 March 2018

Amid an ongoing state government attack on public transport workers’ jobs and conditions, a packed public meeting voices outrage over poor service and major delays.

Australian teachers salute courageous stand of striking teachers in West Virginia

By our reporters, 7 March 2018

Teachers in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia’s two most populous states, have expressed powerful support for the struggle being waged by their counterparts in West Virginia.

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: Liberals cling to office in Tasmanian election

By Mike Head, 5 March 2018

Far from an “historic” victory, the vote reflects deepening popular disaffection with the parliamentary establishment as a whole.

Australian rail union pushes through sellout agreement at Pacific National

By Patrick Davies, 5 March 2018

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has imposed another deal that slashes conditions and provides for the ever-greater use of casual labour by the freight operator.

Emergency declared after earthquake devastates Papua New Guinea

By Mike Head, 3 March 2018

More than 50 people are feared dead and anger is mounting over the lack of government assistance.

Obituary: Jim Anderton, a pivotal defender of New Zealand capitalism

By John Braddock, 3 March 2018

As leader of NewLabour and the Alliance, Anderton played a critical role defending the capitalist order by blocking any rebellion against the Labour government.