Australian Social Issues & Inequality

Australian government to stop welfare payments to teenage mothers

By Tania Baptist, 29 June 2011

The scheme is part of various measures aimed at forcing the disabled, the long-term unemployed, and single mothers off welfare and into the workforce, where they will become a new source of cheap labour.

“Putting mothers and babies under grossly unfair pressure”

By Tania Baptist, 29 June 2011

The WSWS interviewed advocates for single mothers and welfare recipients about the implications of the Gillard government’s trials, which will suspend welfare payments for teenage parents.

Australian tribunal allows greater exploitation of student labour

By Mike Head, 27 June 2011

The ruling is part of a concerted government-backed drive to slash wages and conditions of low-paid retail workers amid falling sales, a wave of store closures and signs of deepening slump.

Mining boom boosts Australia’s ultra-wealthy

By Peter Byrne, 15 June 2011

Four out of the top five on the Rich 200 List made their fortunes in the mining sector, pointing to the growing weight of the major miners within the ruling elite.

Corporate executive pay hits “stratospheric new heights” in Australia

By Terry Cook, 1 December 2010

Two reports on executive remuneration reveal that Australia’s corporate and financial elite are taking home millions of dollars while workers and their families suffer increasing levels of financial and social stress.

Australia: Labor government accelerates rundown and privatisation of public housing

By Will Marshall, 24 November 2010

Successive Labor and Liberal governments in Victoria have starved public housing of funds. The most disadvantaged people in the state currently languish on waiting lists for almost three times as long as they did when the Labor government was first elected in 1999.

Australia: Privatisations send electricity prices surging

By Alex Messenger, 16 November 2010

With privatisation driving an expected rise in electricity prices by 100 percent in the next five to seven years, growing numbers of working people are having difficulties paying their bills.

Global financial crisis leaves two million Australians in poverty

By Mike Head, 4 November 2010

Beneath the surface of the mining-led “recovery”, millions of ordinary people are suffering economic insecurity, acute financial difficulties and housing stress.

Australian election: The Labor government’s childcare backdown and the profit system

By Tania Baptist and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Gellibrand, 23 July 2010

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has made clear that Labor’s construction halt on new childcare centres, which was imposed at the behest of the private for-profit childcare operators, will be maintained.

Australian government targets diabetes sufferers to cut health costs

By John Mackay, 23 June 2010

Diabetes patients are to be a test case for a new health blueprint designed to ration access to medical care.

Australia: Unemployment statistics mask job crisis

By James Cogan, 12 June 2010

Hundreds of thousands of people who want and need full time jobs do not show up in the figures because they are not counted as unemployed.

“Casemix”: The model for cutting Australian hospital spending

By Margaret Rees and Mike Head, 26 April 2010

The Rudd government’s hospital plan centres on using the “casemix” funding model to slash costs and ration patients’ access to services.

Australia’s wealthiest executives “back in the money”

By Chris Johnson, 6 April 2010

Australia’s richest 200 executives saw their wealth rebound 72 percent last year, in a list dominated by mining and finance companies.

Australia: Media demands stricter health care “rationing”

By Patrick O’Connor, 2 April 2010

Encouraged and emboldened by what was said during the televised debate between Rudd and Abbott, the media is now urging the Labor government to go further.

Australia: Rudd government unveils plan to cut health spending

By Mike Head, 6 March 2010

Despite being presented as an historic “reform,” the plan has nothing to do with resolving the worsening crisis in the chronically under-funded health system.

Australia: Queensland trials scheme to punish parents of truants

By Tess Gordon, 16 February 2010

In a trial scheme in Queensland, parents in the impoverished working class suburbs of Logan are having their welfare payments stripped if their children fail to attend school.

Australia: Victorian government attempts to pre-empt findings of bushfire investigation

By Margaret Rees, 11 July 2009

In an extraordinary political manoeuvre, Victorian premier John Brumby has moved to pre-empt potentially damaging findings by the state’s royal commission into the February 7 “Black Saturday” bushfires.

Australia: Low-wage workers’ pay cut

By Mike Head, 9 July 2009

Australia’s Fair Pay Commission has inflicted a real pay cut on 1.3 million low-paid workers by freezing the minimum wage for the first time in 27 years.

Indian student protests spread to Sydney: “We came here to study, not to fight”

By Laura Tiernan, 10 June 2009

Protests by Indian students studying in Australia that erupted in Melbourne on May 31 have spread to Sydney over recent days.

Australia: James Hardie court ruling another affront to asbestosis victims

By Noel Holt, 26 May 2009

Just as a court ruled that former directors of James Hardie Industries had issued a false statement in 2001 about the company’s asbestosis compensation fund, the company revealed that its current fund might be unable to meet its commitments by 2013.

Australia: Royal Commission inquiry forced to investigate “stay or go” bushfire policy

By Margaret Rees, 16 May 2009

Criticism of the government’s “stay or go” policy has followed the devastating firestorm, now known as Black Saturday, that hit the Australian state of Victoria on February 7.

Australia: Unemployment study highlights “new face of disadvantage”

By Tess Gordon, 2 May 2009

A research report has warned that suburbs in Australia’s middle and outer suburban mortgage belts could become “hot spots of home repossessions” as unemployment strikes.

Australia: Survivors of Victorian bushfires receive minimal compensation

By Will Marshall, 28 April 2009

Labor government promises to support the victims of the “Black Saturday” bushfires have proven hollow. The small amount of compensation for those whose homes were destroyed will mean that hundreds may never rebuild again.

Australian bushfire victims speak with WSWS as evidence of government culpability grows

By a reporting team, 16 February 2009

As evidence grows of government culpability in last week’s Australian bushfires, hundreds of survivors are living in temporary accommodation across Victoria or in tents.

Cash-starved Australian hospitals unable to pay for vital supplies

By Terry Cook, 12 February 2009

Recent reports show that public hospitals are so under-funded that many cannot pay pharmaceutical companies, food providers, maintenance contractors and security firms for supplies and basic services.

Australia: Tragedy of child’s death sparks international response

By Susan Allan, 10 February 2009

At about 9.10 a.m. on January 29 and in the midst of an unprecedented summer heat wave, Arthur Freeman, a 35-year-old father of three, drove onto Melbourne’s busy West Gate Bridge, allegedly took his 4-year-old daughter Darcey from the car and dropped her from the bridge.

Australian government hopes recession will produce military “recruitment bonanza”

By Terry Cook, 26 January 2009

The Australian has published a front-page article expressing satisfaction that rising unemployment could produce a “recruitment bonanza” for the Australian Defence Force.

Australian government calls for wage cuts to “save jobs”

By Terry Cook, 14 January 2009

The Rudd Labor government is using the threat of job cuts to browbeat workers into accepting the burden of an economic crisis that is not of their making.

Australian university review proposes student vouchers

By Carolyn Robinson, 2 January 2009

For two decades, the higher education system has been systematically starved of funds. Now the dire state of over-stretched universities is being used to justify a radical pro-market restructuring.

WSWS interviews charity workers and recipients

Demand for emergency welfare relief “dramatically spikes” in Sydney

By Keith Morgan and Mike Head, 30 December 2008

The WSWS interviews charity workers and recipients about the social impact of the global economic breakdown in Sydney, Australia’s financial capital.

Australia: Hundreds of jobs to be axed as childcare centres close

By Alex Messenger, 22 December 2008

Hundreds of Australian childcare employees, some of the poorest paid workers in the country, will lose their jobs in the coming months with the $1.6 billion collapse of childcare provider ABC Learning and sackings at Neighbourhood Early Learning Centres.

Australian welfare agencies warn of growing social crisis

By Mike Head, 12 December 2008

Australian welfare agencies say they have reached breaking point, with demand for services like housing, counselling and emergency relief doubling. They have made an urgent appeal to the Rudd government for a funding injection of $900 million to keep services running over the next three years.

Doctors declare Australian hospital system on the brink of collapse

By Alex Messenger, 11 December 2008

Australia’s public hospitals are so understaffed and bed shortages so serious that hospitals routinely operate for long periods at “code red”, a level of overcrowding at which patients will die, according to the Australian Medical Association.

Amid Allegations of Enron-style Fraud

Major Australian child care corporation at risk of bankruptcy

By Katrina Morrison, 30 September 2008

Australia’s largest child care provider ABC Learning, also the world’s largest publicly traded child care corporation, stands on the brink of collapse.

Australia: Methane gas landfill leak forces residents to evacuate suburb

“The land should never have been sold”

By Peter Byrne, 25 September 2008

On September 11, Country Fire Authority chief officer Russell Rees advised owners of about 250 houses in the working class outer-Melbourne suburb of Cranbourne to move out after methane levels of 60 to 65 percent were found in some houses. Concentrations of 5-15 percent are considered an explosion risk.

Australia: The 2008 Victorian teachers’ dispute, Teachers Alliance and the Socialist Equality Party

By Patrick O’Connor and Will Marshall, 12 September 2008

The World Socialist Web Site is publishing an interview with Mary Merkenich, a leading member of the Teachers Alliance organisation, on the recent struggle waged by Victorian public school teachers for improved wages and conditions. A comment by Socialist Equality Party member and public school teacher Will Marshall follows.

Australia: Labor to strip welfare from parents of truant children

Punishing the poor

By Laura Tiernan, 4 September 2008

In what amounts to a declaration of war on the right to welfare, Labor’s Minister for Education Julia Gillard presented a new bill to federal parliament last week that will strip benefits from parents whose children truant from school. Payments can be cut for 13 weeks or cancelled entirely if parents fail to provide a “reasonable excuse” for their child’s non-attendance.