Democratic rights under attack in Australia

Australian PM defends secret “national security” trials

By Mike Head, 9 December 2019

Morrison’s statement is further evidence of the creation of a police-state framework, overturning the fundamental democratic principle of public jury trials.

Following police shooting in Yuendumu

Australian governments reject calls for removal of armed police from Aboriginal settlements

By Richard Phillips, 7 December 2019

With about 30 percent of its population being indigenous, the Northern Territory is Australia’s most heavily-policed state or territory.

Australian media’s “Chinese spy defection” story unravels

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 December 2019

The collapse of Wang Liqiang’s story, and the revelation that he is most likely “the spy who wasn’t,” is an object lesson in the fraudulent character of the entire anti-China campaign.

Australian teenagers call for support for Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 5 December 2019

“The only way to help Assange is a mass of people having his back and supporting him so that they have to release him because the people are against it.”

Assange is facing a “new form of forced rendition”

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson addresses the Australian press club

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 December 2019

Hrafnsson said Assange’s “rendition” was not taking place “with a sack over the head and an orange jumpsuit, but with the enabling of the UK legal system and with the apparent support of the Australian government.”

Australian government launches “foreign interference” taskforce

By Mike Head, 4 December 2019

The announcement was clearly made to meet demands in the ruling circles for prosecutions under the draconian “foreign interference” laws pushed through parliament last year.

Australian coronial inquiry clears prison officers in death of young Aboriginal man

By Robert Campion, 4 December 2019

References to the need for “greater training” are aimed at covering up the systemic character of state violence against working class, poor and indigenous people thrown into the prison system.

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson: “If Julian is taken to that Devil’s Island across the Atlantic, his life is lost”

By Oscar Grenfell and Richard Phillips, 3 December 2019

In an interview with the WSWS, Hrafnsson stated: “The case of Julian Assange is, in all senses, the turning point. It is the biggest and the most serious attack on journalism and the free press in decades, if not 100 years.”

Central Australian residents speak out in defence of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 2 December 2019

“Assange is a journalist, he’s done nothing wrong and we need to get him back to Australia. There should be marches, rallies, protests and that sort of thing everywhere.”

Australian Labor Party shuts down parliamentary discussion on Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 November 2019

It is a glaring exposure of the thoroughly rotten character of the Labor Party that, on the issue of Assange, it is well to the right of Joyce, a conservative nationalist and populist.

Australian establishment’s anti-China campaign goes into overdrive

By Oscar Grenfell, 28 November 2019

There is little doubt that the anti-China barrage in Australia is the result of consultations with, and substantial pressure from, the US military and intelligence establishment.

Australian PM rejects Pamela Anderson’s appeal that his government defend Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 November 2019

The refusal of the Coalition and Labor to uphold Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen is inextricably tied to their support for the US alliance and their own turn to police state measures.

A secret trial in Canberra points to extent of Australia’s police-state powers

By Mike Head, 27 November 2019

All details of the man’s prosecution and imprisonment, even the very existence of the case, have been suppressed by undisclosed gag orders.

Australian media and intelligence agencies reveal “Chinese spy” defection

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 November 2019

Despite the implausible character of many of the defector’s claims, they have been presented uncritically by media outlets seeking to bolster the escalating and protracted campaign against supposed “Chinese interference.”

Attendees at meetings in Australia and NZ support campaign for release of Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 26 November 2019

“What’s happening to Julian Assange affects us all. He has told the truth and he has exposed the war criminals and that’s why the US wants him.”

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson addresses public meetings in Australia

By Patrick O’Connor, 25 November 2019

Robinson warned that the US attempt to prosecute Assange for publishing the truth was setting a “terrifying precedent” for all journalists and media organisations.

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 workers and youth speak-out in support of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 13 November 2019

“Governments are trying to hide the truth and lie to the people. That’s why they are unfairly persecuting Assange and confining him to prison.”

Australian Greens member demands party leader defend Julian Assange

7 November 2019

“Assange is being held as a political prisoner. That is undeniable now, and still no action from the Greens... Ultimately, you have abandoned Assange.”

Geoffrey Rush defamation victory contested in Sydney’s Federal Court

By Linda Tenenbaum, 7 November 2019

The appeal by Murdoch-owned Nationwide News against last year’s Federal Court judgement in favour of Oscar-winning Australian actor, Geoffrey Rush, was heard early this week.

Former Australian PM asked to register under “foreign agent” laws

By Mike Head, 6 November 2019

The initial targeting of alt-right elements sets a precedent for the use of the laws against their intended victims—left-wing and oppositional groups.

Bipartisan drive to outlaw protest in Australia

By Mike Head, 5 November 2019

Prime Minister Morrison adopted the fascistic language of US President Donald Trump, accusing climate change demonstrators of “economic sabotage.”

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.

Australian police violently attack climate change protestors

By our reporters, 31 October 2019

The incident marks a further escalation of state repression in Australia against protest and dissent.

Australian state Labor government spearheads anti-protest laws

By Mike Head, 30 October 2019

Queensland’s government has defied popular opposition to rush through legislation that goes far beyond suppressing environmental demonstrations.

Australian parliamentarians form cross-party group in defence of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 October 2019

The establishment of the group is in response to a growing groundswell of demands for the Australian government to stop Assange’s extradition to the US.

Public meetings in Australia and New Zealand

Meeting defending Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning in Melbourne this Sunday

28 October 2019

The aim of the meetings is to prepare for the political action that must be organised in Australia and internationally in opposition to the legal travesty against Assange that is underway in the British courts.

Australian media companies protest government attacks on press freedom

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 October 2019

Threats to prosecute journalists underscore the need for media workers to defend Julian Assange, whose jailing has opened the floodgates for the assault on press freedom.

Growing calls for Australian government to defend Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 October 2019

The fear in Australian ruling circles is that if Assange is extradited to the US, the latent support for him will coalesce into a political movement against the official set-up.

Australia: “Four Corners” program promotes anti-China witch-hunt

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 October 2019

The program underscores the role of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a mouthpiece for the political establishment and the intelligence agencies.

Australian governments trial police-state measures against climate protesters

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 October 2019

The authorities are using the demonstrations as a test case for future repression of the emerging social and political struggles of the working class.

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 cyber conference “disinvites” US whistleblower and Assange supporter

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 October 2019

The cancellation of talks by NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and Melbourne academic Suelette Dreyfus was a political decision, most likely involving government agencies.

Australia’s prisoner swap with Iran contrasts with persecution of Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 8 October 2019

The deal exposes the denial of basic legal and democratic rights by the Australian, British and US governments in the continued detention and psychological torture of the WikiLeaks founder.

Australian Labor Party courts big business

By Mike Head, 7 October 2019

Labor leaders are “blitzing” corporate boardrooms to win their backing in the wake of Labor’s election debacle.

New industrial “integrity” laws seek to head off working class eruption in Australia

By Terry Cook, 1 October 2019

The Morrison government’s legislation is a pre-emptive move by the corporate establishment which is nervous about rising strike action by workers internationally despite the efforts of the unions to hold them back.

Australian troops accused of war crimes in Afghanistan

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 September 2019

Anonymous soldiers interviewed by “60 Minutes” alleged that Ben Roberts-Smith, who is widely presented as a “war hero,” kicked a handcuffed Afghan civilian off a cliff in 2012.

Australian government seeks arbitrary powers to revoke citizenship

By Mike Head, 25 September 2019

The Citizenship Cessation Bill is another indication of the repressive measures that the ruling class is preparing to deal with rising working-class discontent.

Australian prime minister endorses US trade war and militarism

By James Cogan, 23 September 2019

Morrison conducted himself as the head of a middle-order power that has functioned since World War II as the willing enabler of the predatory policies of its great power ally.

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.

Student union at Australian university attempts to bar Chinese students from elections

By Eric Ludlow, 17 September 2019

The student union at Monash University’s Caulfield campus in Melbourne was forced, after a public outcry, to repeal the decision preventing international students from running in the elections.

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.

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood visits Assange: “He’s a freedom fighter!”

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 September 2019

Westwood stated that Assange is “an innocent man” who has been “persecuted for nine years for telling the truth.”

Australian establishment demands removal of alleged “pro-China” member of parliament

By James Cogan, 12 September 2019

Gladys Liu has views that are at odds with the propaganda being promoted in Australia to justify the alliance with US imperialism and war preparations against China.

Australian incarceration rate rising despite drop in crime

By Martin Scott, 12 September 2019

Indigenous Australians are now more likely to be imprisoned than African Americans.

Another police-state raid in Australia to protect spy agencies

By Mike Head, 7 September 2019

The Morrison government is stepping-up an offensive on democratic rights at the Trump administration’s behest.

Peter Greste’s panel discussion in Sydney: Support for censorship and throwing Assange to the wolves

By James Cogan, 7 September 2019

Greste advocates the anti-democratic conception that a “responsible journalist” censors information that is deemed too controversial for the population to know.

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.

Australia: Whistleblower trials proceed despite outcry

By Mike Head, 3 September 2019

The Morrison government rejects calls to drop the prosecution of people who exposed the criminal activities of the country’s US-linked spy agencies and armed forces.

Roger Waters holds concert on Monday

Take forward the fight to free Julian Assange!

By Joseph Kishore, 2 September 2019

Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are the victims of a monstrous criminal conspiracy, involving the most powerful governments in the world, the intelligence agencies and the corporate media.

Australian government moves to deport Tamil refugees despite mass opposition

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 September 2019

The family has been transferred to Christmas Island, where they have been placed in substandard accommodation and given expired food.

Australian government seeks to deport Tamil refugee family to Sri Lanka

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 August 2019

The outpouring of support for the family reflects the broad opposition of working people to the bipartisan assault on asylum-seekers.

Australian Labor Party accuses government of “losing control” of borders

By Mike Head, 28 August 2019

Shadow home affairs minister Kristina Keneally condemned the government for allowing asylum seekers to arrive by plane.

Australian PM calls for new internet censorship measures at G7

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 August 2019

Morrison is campaigning for an international crackdown on social media, while his government asserts the right to ban websites and domains domestically.

Anti-China witch-hunt targets Australian universities

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 August 2019

The government and the security agencies convened a meeting with universities, threatening research involving Chinese academics.

Australian state Labor government’s lies about “protest violence” exposed

By Mike Head, 24 August 2019

Labor’s fabricated “booby trap” claims illustrate how governments concoct fear campaigns to attack basic democratic rights.

As Australian government threatens to jail journalists, media chiefs denounce Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 19 August 2019

While claiming to champion the “right to know,” media executives condemned the WikiLeaks founder for exposing the crimes of the US spy and military apparatuses.

Australian government boosts Special Forces despite war crimes charges

By Mike Head, 16 August 2019

The move is part of the preparation for war, as well as for the suppression of domestic dissent.

Australia: Pro-US ideologue brands student groups as China’s “useful idiots”

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 August 2019

Clive Hamilton’s comments are a warning that Australia’s involvement in the US drive to war with China will be accompanied by political repression domestically.

Establishment figures welcome renewed anti-China hysteria in Australia

By James Cogan, 13 August 2019

The ruling elite requires Australia’s incorporation into US war preparations to be accompanied by slandering any public opposition as the product of “Chinese interference.”

Australian actor John Jarratt sues Daily Telegraph after jury throws out rape charge

By Richard Phillips, 13 August 2019

The jury of five men and seven women took just over 15 minutes to unanimously reject the #MeToo-inspired rape allegation against the veteran actor.

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 investigative journalist exposes Guardian/New York Times betrayal of Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 August 2019

Mark Davis made clear that the corporate media cynically exploited WikiLeaks, before ruthlessly turning on its founder Julian Assange and joining the state campaign against him.

Jennifer Robinson, a leading member of Assange’s legal team, speaks with the WSWS

By our reporters, 9 August 2019

“It speaks volumes about Australia’s position in the world that it’s not willing to take a stand against the United States and protect an Australian citizen.”

Australian spy and police chiefs say raids on journalists must continue

By Mike Head, 8 August 2019

In a blunt intervention, Director-General of National Intelligence Nick Warner used the language of war to defend the targeting of journalists.

Protests in Australia continue to break official silence on Julian Assange

By our reporters, 7 August 2019

The sentiments of ordinary people stand in stark contrast to the refusal of all of the official parties to take any action in defence of the WikiLeaks founder.

Despite briefing by Julian Assange’s lawyer, Australian politicians still refuse to defend him

By Mike Head, 3 August 2019

Intensive lobbying in Canberra this week failed to convince any parliamentarian to oppose the Trump administration’s bid to extradite the WikiLeaks founder.

Julian Assange’s lawyer briefs Australian parliamentarians on his persecution

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 August 2019

The event reflected concerns within the ruling elite over popular opposition to the Trump administration’s bid to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder.

Australian government demands police-state powers over protests and exclusions of citizens

By Mike Head, 24 July 2019

The bills would hand governments the most authoritarian powers since the two world wars.

Australian government seeking to prosecute journalists over exposure of war crimes

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 July 2019

The federal police are investigating journalists over the 2017 publication of the “Afghan Files,” which revealed Australian military involvement in extrajudicial killings and other crimes.

Twitter removes account of Assange defence organisation

By Mike Head, 13 July 2019

Unity4J, which campaigns against the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder, was given no reason for the suspension.

Australian police monitoring journalists’ travel and internet data

By Mike Head, 10 July 2019

New reports demonstrate an escalating effort to criminalise exposures about key military and intelligence operations.

Was the Australian army placed on alert during last year’s political crisis?

By Mike Head, 5 July 2019

Whether or not the military was actually activated, Australia was on the brink of a constitutional crisis last August.

Julian Assange’s birthday celebrated at vigils in Australia and New Zealand

By our reporters, 5 July 2019

Linda Tenenbaum, a longstanding leader of the SEP, indicted the Australian government and the political and media establishment for abandoning Assange, an Australia citizen.

Australian workers and youth speak out at vigils for Assange’s birthday

By our reporters, 5 July 2019

“The things he has done have changed the world. The people who hate him are usually the people who are in power.”

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson calls on journalist Peter Greste to defend Assange

4 July 2019

Ricketson’s “Open Letter” debunks Greste’s claim that Assange is not a journalist and therefore not deserving of support, and calls on him to defend the WikiLeaks founder, as he did Ricketson who was wrongly jailed in Cambodia.

Video: Watch the Sydney Free Assange rally

4 July 2019

The demonstration is one of a series of rallies organised by the Socialist Equality Party to defend Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning; the next will be in Brisbane on Saturday followed by Melbourne on Sunday July 14.

Australian workers and youth speak out in defence of Assange at SEP rally

By our reporters, 3 July 2019

“No other political party, none of the human rights groups are acting. Amnesty is doing nothing! Getup is doing nothing!”

Australian media chiefs seek to divert anger over police raids

By Mike Head, 2 July 2019

There was no mention of the violent arrest of Julian Assange, which opened the floodgates for a broader assault on free speech.

Australian PM refused to raise persecution of Assange with Trump

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 July 2019

At the G20 summit Morrison fawned over Trump, who is seeking to imprison the WikiLeaks founder for life, or execute him.

Watch the Sydney rally to free Assange live!

28 June 2019

The SEP rally is among the first events to be held since the WSWS International Editorial Board called for the formation of a Global Defence Committee to demand freedom for Assange and Manning.

Terry Hicks, father of former Guantánamo Bay prisoner David Hicks, demands freedom for Assange and Manning

28 June 2019

“There’s only one word to describe the victimisation and persecution of Assange and Manning, and that word is barbaric.”

Join the Sydney rally this Saturday demanding freedom for Julian Assange!

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 June 2019

The demonstration will insist that the Australian government take immediate action to prevent the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the US, where he faces life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson to speak at SEP rally in defence of Assange

26 June 2019

“We must do all in our power to prevent Assange’s extradition to the US. Signing petitions is not enough. We must make our presence felt in the streets at vigils and demonstrations.”

Assange legal advisor: Pentagon spearheaded pursuit of WikiLeaks founder

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 June 2019

Geoffrey Robertson’s statement is another demonstration that Assange would not receive anything resembling a fair trial if he were extradited to the US.

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.

Professor Stuart Rees to speak at SEP rally to defend Julian Assange

20 June 2019

“The rally must increase public awareness of the outrageous injustice if Julian is extradited to the US to face a possible 170 years in prison.”

John Pilger urges participation in SEP (Australia) rallies to defend Assange

19 June 2019

“In my career, there has never been a more important case. If we lose Julian and Chelsea Manning to the dungeons of a rogue America, once-liberal societies will never be the same again; democracies will be in name only.”

Prominent Australian journalist Mary Kostakidis calls for campaign to free Assange

18 June 2019

“We must not wait till it is too late to recognise the broader significance of the persecution of Julian Assange and fail to defend his human rights.”

Two protesters arrested at Melbourne rally in defence of Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 June 2019

The arrests were aimed at intimidating supporters of WikiLeaks and preventing broader layers from joining the campaign to defend Assange and all democratic rights.

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.

WikiLeaks publisher Assange faces US extradition trial next February

By Robert Stevens, 15 June 2019

The UK government has made clear that it will do everything possible to expedite Washington’s vindictive attempt to render the courageous journalist to face imprisonment, torture, and execution in the US.

Activist Lauri Love and others speak out in defence of Assange

By our reporters, 15 June 2019

Members of the Julian Assange Defence Committee and the SEP were joined by people from across London and further afield, including two “Yellow Vest” protestors from France.

Australian Labor Party’s hypocrisy on police media raids exposed

By Mike Head, 12 June 2019

The opposition Labor Party has joined hands with the ruling Coalition to pass legislation handing unprecedented powers to the police and intelligence agencies.

Australian journalist calls on colleagues to defend Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 June 2019

Andrew Fowler warned: “If Assange is left to swing in the breeze, it will be an open invitation for any journalist, anywhere in the world, to be extradited to the US.”

US issues formal request for Assange’s extradition

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 June 2019

The Trump administration is pressing ahead with its attempt to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder over his role in the exposure of US war crimes and diplomatic conspiracies.

SEP (Australia) calls rallies demanding freedom for Julian Assange

11 June 2019

The protests will demand that the Australian government take immediate action to prevent the WikiLeaks founder's extradition to the US and secure his complete freedom.

Australian police chief links media raids to US-led “Five Eyes” spy network

By Mike Head, 8 June 2019

Gaughan’s statement points to the targeting of journalists in order to cover up Washington’s preparations for wars and mass political surveillance.

“Is there going to be a future for journalism?”

Australian media workers denounce police raids

By our correspondents, 8 June 2019

ABC workers spoke of their shock and alarm at the arrival of federal police in their building.