Australian Social Issues & Inequality

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 managed 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.

Another rapid rise in Australia’s prison population

By John Harris, 30 January 2018

The 40 percent increase over the past five years points to the escalating impact of “law and order” campaigns, anti-democratic bail laws and punitive sentencing requirements.

Accelerating concentration of wealth in Australia

By Mike Head, 29 January 2018

Of the 19 new billionaires created in Australia over the past 10 years, eight were added in the past year alone.

New evidence of mistreatment in Western Australian juvenile prison

By Eric Ludlow, 27 January 2018

Amnesty International documents ongoing abuses amounting to torture in a youth detention centre.

Australia: Workers reject union-government attempts to cancel NSW rail strike

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 January 2018

Rail workers responded with hostility to the union’s attempt to call off Monday’s stoppage, on the basis of an “offer” providing no details of the government’s demands for cuts to jobs and conditions.

Australian government continues deportations of New Zealanders

By Tom Peters, 17 January 2018

New Zealanders who have spent most of their lives in Australia are being detained and expelled for minor offences or on “character” grounds.

Prolonged fall in average Australian living standards

By Mike Head, 11 January 2018

The ever-greater gap between the fortunes of the wealthy and the deteriorating circumstances of working class families is escalating class tensions.

Australian government promotes racist diversion over so-called “African gangs”

By Patrick Kelly, 5 January 2018

Turnbull has sent a clear message that his government’s agenda for 2018 will consist of draconian new “law and order” measures, along with nationalist and racist hysteria.

Australian car attack highlights mental healthcare crisis

By Will Morrow, 29 December 2017

The political and media establishment has sought to channel the natural humanitarian response toward the victims in a reactionary direction.

Toxic contamination zone expanded around Australia’s Williamtown air force base

By Patrick Davies, 27 December 2017

The suddenly re-drawn “red zone” encompasses another 250 households who were previously told that their properties were not affected and no health precautions were necessary.

Australian government ends year with more austerity cuts

By James Cogan, 20 December 2017

The “improvement” to the budget is coming from the ongoing assault on the living standards of the working class.

Complaints soar against Australian government’s welfare agency

By Mike Head, 7 November 2017

Millions of welfare recipients were unable to contact Centrelink, the agency that administers their payments, causing enormous frustration and anger.

Families worse off under Australia’s privatised disability scheme

By Max Newman, 6 November 2017

Participants in the scheme must “buy” services from private operators, with their funds set by care plans imposed by a cost-cutting government agency.

Australia: Social devastation looms over Latrobe Valley

By Michelle Stevens, 26 October 2017

Today’s widespread poverty, unemployment and social problems are the result of decades of job destruction imposed by successive governments, assisted by the trade unions.

Latrobe Valley residents: “The government is failing very badly”

By Michelle Stevens, 26 October 2017

”People are often embarrassed that they need help.”

Australian military covered up dangers of toxic fire-fighting foam

By Patrick Davies, 19 October 2017

One Katherine resident, affected by the defence department’s poisoning of water supplies commented, “We’re collateral damage… it feels like our lives here really don’t matter.

Australia: Questions emerge over another Aboriginal death in custody

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 October 2017

When Hatfield died, his lawyers were conducting a vigorous defence against robbery charges, to which he pled not guilty in the Armidale District Court.

Australian economy “going into a hole”

By Nick Beams, 7 October 2017

The record run of the Australian economy, 26 years without a recession, has “flattered to deceive,” as major economic problems come to the surface.

Australia: Senate committee calls for flammable cladding ban

By Richard Phillips, 28 September 2017

The report obscures the fact that responsibility for compromising building safety rests with governments, Labor and Coalition, which have undermined the regulatory system over the past 20 years.

Australia: Two Ipswich meatworks to close, destroying hundreds of jobs

By Gary Alvernia, 21 September 2017

The state Labor government and the meatworkers' union are working to ensure there is no organised opposition to the devastating closures.

Australia: Turnbull government expands “cashless welfare card”

By Richard Phillips, 12 September 2017

The punitive social welfare system is part of an escalating bi-partisan assault on the most vulnerable sections of society.

Australian state government and health union shut down pathology strike

By Jason Quill and Oscar Grenfell, 7 September 2017

The Health Services Union welcomed the Victorian Labor government’s application for the federal Fair Work Commission to ban the stoppage.

The dual citizenship furore in the Australian parliament: What is at stake for the working class?

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 6 September 2017

The citizenship crisis is an attempt to suppress anti-war sentiment and class tensions by promoting nationalism and patriotism.

Australian governments knew about the dangers of airforce fire-fighting foam for decades

By Patrick Davies, 6 September 2017

The chemicals which are used in fire-fighting foam have been found at dangerous levels in water supplies near Royal Australian Air Force bases.

Australian reports show declining incomes and soaring debt

By Eric Ludlow and Oscar Grenfell, 31 August 2017

The ongoing property boom is forcing young people to live at home with their parents for longer, while creating a debt crisis for millions of working people.

Australian property bubble fuelling mortgage stress

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 August 2017

The divergence between soaring property prices and stagnating wages, along with a massive increase in debt, has sparked fears of a housing market crash.

Australia: New laws force an end to Sydney tent city protest

By Virginia Browne and Richard Phillips, 17 August 2017

Police have been given specific powers to arrest homeless people in Sydney, Australia’s largest and least affordable city.

Australia: Life expectancy gap between rich and poor almost 20 years

By John Mackay, 14 August 2017

The staggering differences in health quality and life expectancy are a direct effect of widening social inequality.

Opioid-related deaths soaring in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 11 August 2017

New research points to a rapidly growing number of fatalities, far outstripping heroin overdose deaths.

Australian government orders sham postal “survey” on same-sex marriage

By Mike Head, 11 August 2017

A fraud on every level, the non-binding postal vote has nothing to do with the long-overdue recognition of the basic legal and democratic rights of all couples.

Australian police kill mentally-ill man at Sydney’s main train station

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 July 2017

Police shot a suicidal individual four times in the head and chest, even though he was holding only a pair of scissors.

Australian inquiry into dangerous building products: An exercise in political damage control

By Richard Phillips, 27 July 2017

Safety and building engineers condemn deregulation, privatisation of building inspection and government cost-cutting.

Hundreds of thousands of Australian dwellings unoccupied as housing crisis deepens

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 July 2017

The 2016 census found that just 31 percent of the population owned a home outright, a 10 percent decline over the past 25 years.

Studies reveal stark health divide in Australia

By John Mackay, 6 July 2017

People in working class areas die younger and have almost double the rates of poor health compared to residents of wealthier suburbs.

Flammable cladding rife in Australian construction industry

By Paul Bartizan and Richard Phillips, 27 June 2017

The dangers of aluminium composite panels were known to building authorities and relevant government ministers long before the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Labour’s share of Australian GDP falls to record low

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 June 2017

The new figures underscore the consequences of the intensified assault on the social position of workers, amid a deepening economic crisis.

Australia’s billionaires celebrate a “wealth boom”

By Mike Head, 29 May 2017

During 2016, the total wealth of the Rich 200 List mushroomed from $197.3 billion to $233.1 billion—a rise of about 18 percent—while average real wages fell.

Falling wages fuel social crisis in Australia

By Mike Head, 19 May 2017

Real wages have been declining for four years, driven by the destruction of full-time jobs and the forcing of workers into part-time employment.

Australia: Tribunal to hear challenge to union-company wage-cutting deal

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 May 2017

The unions and the major corporations are fearful that the case against the deal threatens the entire pro-business framework of enterprise bargaining.

Australian budget: Drug-testing intensifies war on welfare

By Mike Head, 12 May 2017

The measures are aimed at humiliating, vilifying and punishing the jobless, and stripping them of basic legal and democratic rights.

The political issues in the fight to reject the Victorian teachers’ EBA

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 21 April 2017

The most detrimental, long-term aspect of the workplace agreement is that it includes sweeping commitments by the teachers' union to enforce a “performance-ranking” system.

Australian government withholds report on death of unemployed teenager

By John Harris and Oscar Grenfell, 1 April 2017

The Liberal-National government is covering-up the dangerous conditions facing unemployed workers and young people forced onto Work for Dole programs.

Australian private health insurance premiums soaring

By Michelle Stevens, 28 March 2017

Many working class people are now being forced to consider dropping their coverage, intensifying the healthcare crisis.

Report highlights growing social distress in Australia

By John Harris, 11 March 2017

An ME Bank survey indicates that millions of workers and young people are living on a financial knife-edge.

Australia: Young workers speak out against penalty rate cuts

By our reporters, 9 March 2017

Many young people are already deprived of weekend penalty wages, as a result of company-union wage-cutting deals.

Waiting times worsen in Australian public hospitals

By Margaret Rees, 8 March 2017

Conditions are deteriorating in hospitals as a result of the previous Labor government’s restructuring, which has deepened under the current Liberal-National government.

Australia: Three homeless people killed in arson attack

By Chris Sadlier, 7 March 2017

The tragedy is the outcome of growing unemployment and poverty, lack of affordable housing and inadequate welfare and mental health care facilities.

Discontent and political volatility dominate Western Australian election

By Mike Head, 4 March 2017

Because of Labor’s pro-business record, the WA election has become a testing ground for Pauline Hanson’s anti-immigrant One Nation party.

Australian youth pushed into unpaid “work experience”

By Robert Campion, 27 February 2017

Almost 60 percent of young people have been compelled to do unpaid labour, amid mounting unemployment and job insecurity.

Australian tabloid vilifies Muslim immigrants and welfare recipients

By Max Newman, 23 February 2017

Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph is witch-hunting Muslim immigrants, claiming that they are “piling on the dole queue.”

Australian housing among the world’s most unaffordable

By John Harris, 17 February 2017

Soaring housing prices are causing widespread financial stress and social hardship, especially for young people.

Australian disability workers strike against privatisation

By our reporters, 15 February 2017

Union officials sought to divert the widespread anger into impotent appeals to the state Coalition government, while promoting the opposition Labor Party.

Australian government uses investment collapse to push Trump-style corporate tax cuts

By Mike Head, 14 February 2017

Under intense pressure from the financial markets, the Turnbull government is seeking to slash social spending to enable cuts to business taxes.

Infrastructure failures exacerbate Australian heatwave conditions

By Frank Gaglioti, 13 February 2017

The February heatwave is among the hottest ever recorded in southeastern Australian cities and towns, where most of the country’s people live.

Australian government reintroduces sweeping welfare cuts

By Mike Head, 11 February 2017

By resuscitating previously blocked budget cuts, Turnbull’s government is intensifying the assault on welfare entitlements.

Australian government defies public outcry on welfare debt assault

By Margaret Rees, 25 January 2017

Despite leaks of damning information by public sector workers, the Turnbull government is ratchetting up its attack on welfare recipients.

Australian state government’s “law and order” response to Melbourne car killings

By Patrick Kelly, 24 January 2017

While unable to connect the Bourke Street incident to the bogus “war on terror,” the Victorian Labor government has used it to prepare far more stringent bail laws.

Carers cut off services under Australian disability scheme

By Max Newman, 20 January 2017

Carers of people with a disability are being denied support programs under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Australia: Melbourne homeless speak out against police harassment

By our reporters, 18 January 2017

Large contingents of police have used “move on” powers to shift groups of homeless people from busy areas of the city popular with tourists, including Flinders Street station.

Report reveals, for the first time, extent of wealth inequality in Australia

By Mike Head, 16 January 2017

Contrary to the myth of Australia as an egalitarian society, it is among the most unequal industrialised countries in the world.

Pensions cut for 330,000 Australian retirees

By Will Morrow, 13 January 2017

The cuts are the thin edge of the wedge of a far-reaching assault on the democratic right to a secure retirement.

Australian government intensifies welfare “debt” crackdown

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 January 2017

The government is dispatching thousands of “debt notices” demanding that current and former welfare recipients repay hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars.

Disability services privatised and targeted for more cuts in Australia’s public schools

By Susan Allan, 5 January 2017

An already under-funded scheme for providing disability services to public school children in the state of Victoria is to be targeted for further cuts.

Soaring prison populations highlight social crisis in Australia

By Robert Campion, 31 December 2016

There has been virtually no media coverage of the spiralling trend, because it raises serious questions about the rising level of social inequality.

Australia: Video reveals agonising death of Aboriginal woman in custody

By Zac Hambides, 29 December 2016

Although racism undoubtedly plays a role in the cruel treatment of indigenous people by the police, Dhu’s death points to the high rate of deaths for all prisoners.

Professor Marmot’s lectures in Australia chart extent of health inequality

By Cheryl Crisp, 21 December 2016

The lectures establish the connection between social inequality, the living and working conditions of the poor, and the deterioration in their health outcomes.

Global agencies demand deeper budget cuts in Australia

By Mike Head, 20 December 2016

An air of unreality hung over the government’s budget update because of the worldwide uncertainty in the wake of the election of Donald Trump as US president.

Corporate tax-dodging in Australia costs billions

By Mike Head, 16 December 2016

More than a third of the largest companies operating in Australia paid no tax in 2014-15 and multinational tax evasion cost an estimated $4.8 billion.

Australian government threatens to jail “overpaid” welfare recipients

By Margaret Rees, 13 December 2016

Under the banner of “welfare fraud,” the government is seeking another pretext for gutting the entire welfare system.

Australia: Thunderstorm-related deaths expose impact of health cuts

By Kurt Brown, 7 December 2016

Melbourne, a city of more than three million people, ran out of ambulances as thousands of people suffered potentially fatal thunderstorm-related asthma.

Millions of Australians living in recession

By Mike Head, 3 December 2016

An estimated 6.6 million people—28 percent of the population—are living in areas of outright economic decline.

Australian state government imprisons teenagers in adult jail

By Eric Ludlow, 24 November 2016

The repressive response to a so-called riot in the Melbourne juvenile prison is the latest example of the brutality being inflicted on teenage prisoners in Australia.

Australian prime minister pushes Trump-style tax cuts

By Mike Head, 19 November 2016

Turnbull demanded “hard” economic and budgetary decisions that would “create winners and losers.”

Rising indicators of social distress in Australia

By John Harris, 18 November 2016

A recent report points to a stark increase in rates of imprisonment and suicides.

Australian government mounts attack on Human Rights Commission

By Peter Symonds, 14 November 2016

The campaign is a cynical attempt to divert attention from the crisis within the government by launching a “freedom of speech” crusade against the Racial Discrimination Act.

Australian government steps up assault on social welfare

By Richard Phillips, 5 November 2016

The measures are in response to growing demands by the financial elite for major cuts in social spending.