Australia

Australia’s High Court backs indefinite offshore detention

By Mike Head, 9 February 2016

The ruling sets a new global benchmark for the incarceration of innocent and desperate people in what amounts to Guantanamo Bay-style legal black holes.

Australian public hospitals face growing funding crisis

By Mike Head, 8 February 2016

According to the AMA’s annual hospital report card, waiting times lengthened in 2014–15 and funding shortfalls will worsen in 2017 when the latest cutbacks come into effect.

Australia: Sydney city council locks out community theatre group

By Richard Phillips, 8 February 2016

Closure of the inner-western Sydney Archway 1 theatre and exhibition space takes place amid ongoing federal and state government cuts to the arts.

Australian High Court sanctions indefinite offshore detention of refugees

By Mike Head, 4 February 2016

The decision sets a new global benchmark for the incarceration of men, women and children in conditions that amount to torture.

The Pentagon’s CSIS report and Australia’s role in the escalating war drive against China

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 3 February 2016

Washington’s entire anti-China strategy has received the unconditional backing of successive governments in Canberra.

Doctor challenges Australian government over refugee conditions on Nauru

By Max Newman, 2 February 2016

A paediatrics professor who worked in Nauru has condemned the indefinite detention of asylum seekers as torture, defying the police-state secrecy provisions of the Border Force Act.

Pressure mounts on Australian government to challenge China in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 2 February 2016

“Freedom of navigation” is the threadbare pretext used to disguise US-led preparations for war with China.

Australian teenager arrested for documents “connected” to terrorism

By Mike Head, 1 February 2016

The vague charges underscore the increasingly repressive sweep of Australia’s “anti-terrorism” laws.

Australian state government plans to privatise public housing

By Terry Cook, 30 January 2016

The New South Wales government’s blueprint will provide a bonanza for property developers and finance houses.

Former army chief named “Australian of the Year”

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 January 2016

The award is part of a broader campaign to normalise military involvement in political life, under conditions of escalating militarism and war.

Australian Treasury head demands deep spending cuts

By Mike Head, 29 January 2016

Fraser’s speech is part of a mounting ideological offensive by the financial and corporate elite to combat public hostility to the austerity agenda.

Australian maritime union isolates and betrays Portland seamen

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 January 2016

The Maritime Union of Australia’s “Our Coast. Our Jobs” campaign divides workers and obscures the union’s role as the enforcer of sweeping cuts demanded by big business.

Australian Dulux workers return to work but job cuts loom

By Mike Head, 26 January 2016

Together with the other trade unions, United Voice is seeking to contain the growing anger among workers over the mounting destruction of jobs.

Australia “central” to US plans for war with China

By James Cogan, 26 January 2016

The CSIS report demands a build-up of the Australia military, as well as US bases across the north of the continent.

Australian industrial court bans port strikes

By Oscar Grenfell, 23 January 2016

The ruling will likely be invoked by the union to strike a backroom deal with the port company.

Australian prime minister visits US military commander in Hawaii

By Mike Head, 23 January 2016

Over the past year, the admiral has played a vocal role in inflaming tensions with China, particularly over its territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Imprisonment periods lengthening in Australian immigration detention centres

By Max Newman, 22 January 2016

Detainees are now being incarcerated for an average 445 days, resulting in severe mental distress.

Labor Party in Australia demands “action” against China

By James Cogan, 21 January 2016

Shadow defence spokesman Stephen Conroy’s column underscores the Labor Party’s role as the most fervent supporter of the US-Australia alliance.

Australian government unveils new cuts to health care

By Mike Head, 21 January 2016

Malcolm Turnbull’s government has made the slashing of basic health services one of the priority targets of its austerity agenda.

Obama thanks Australian prime minister for war efforts

By Peter Symonds, 20 January 2016

While the tone was not as strident as his predecessor, Turnbull’s underlying message was the same: full support for US militarism around the world.

Australian nickel refinery crisis threatens thousands of jobs

By Mike Head, 20 January 2016

The livelihoods of workers in the northern city of Townsville and the French colony of New Caledonia are imperiled by the threatened closure of the Queensland Nickel plant.

Cuts and closures intensify in Australian TAFE colleges

By Erika Zimmer, 16 January 2016

Young people seeking vocational training are facing skyrocketing tuition fees.

Australian stocks fall sharply on China and global fears

By Mike Head, 12 January 2016

A new year sharemarket rout highlights Australian capitalism’s acute vulnerability to the slowing growth and signs of economic instability in China.

Two dead, scores of homes destroyed in Western Australian bushfire

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 January 2016

Residents of Yarloop, a town virtually destroyed by the blaze, were given almost no warning and were left without water.

Thirty-eight percent of Australia’s large companies paid no tax in 2013-14

By John Roberts, 11 January 2016

Tax office data reveals that the country’s major firms pay little or no company tax, while demanding an increased goods and services tax and the slashing of government spending.

Papua New Guinea government ejects Australian “advisors”

By Patrick Kelly, 8 January 2016

The decision marks a setback for Australian imperialist interests in its resource-rich former colony.

Australian government seizes on trade union report to attack workers’ conditions

By Will Morrow, 7 January 2016

While the immediate target of the royal commission report is the trade unions, the real aim is to clear the way for a fundamental transformation of Australian industrial relations.

Australian electronics retailer placed in receivership, threatening thousands of jobs

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 January 2016

The Dick Smith chain’s collapse has underscored the deepening crisis in the Australian economy, and drawn attention to the parasitic operations of private equity firms.

Australia: Over 100 houses destroyed in Victorian bushfires

By Margaret Rees, 4 January 2016

Victoria has been hit by more than 2,500 bushfires since October but the hottest months, when the most dangerous fires usually occur, are still to come.

Australia: One year after the Sydney siege, the cover-up continues

By Richard Phillips and Peter Symonds, 28 December 2015

The investigations into the Lindt café tragedy over the past year are above all aimed at obscuring the role of the state apparatus, especially the intelligence agencies.

Western Australia suffers “greatest revenue shock since Great Depression”

By Mike Head, 24 December 2015

Collapsing global iron ore and gas prices have triggered an abrupt economic reversal in Australia’s premier “mining boom” state.

Australian report calls for cutting penalty wage rates

By Mike Head, 22 December 2015

Big business is demanding the further lowering of wages and conditions to match those imposed on workers across America and Europe following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Australia, Japan “strongly support” US, amid rising tensions with China

By Peter Symonds, 19 December 2015

As Japanese and Australian leaders met in Tokyo, an American paper reported a US military intrusion into Chinese-claimed air space in the South China Sea.

Report reveals Australian disability scheme’s cost-cutting agenda

By Max Newman, 19 December 2015

Under-funded NDIS service providers are struggling to cope with low prices set by governments and are employing an increasingly casualised workforce.

Job losses mount throughout Australian mining sector

By Terry Cook, 18 December 2015

Anglo American’s announcement last week of massive layoffs, globally and in Australia, is just one indication of the crisis throughout the mining industry.

Corporate elite demands deeper budget cuts from Australian government

By Mike Head, 18 December 2015

The global slump and collapsing commodity prices have shattered the government’s promises to return to a surplus by the end of the decade.

Australian budget position worsens as cuts deepen

By Nick Beams, 16 December 2015

Even the government’s own dubious growth figures show that its much vaunted transition to a more broad-based economy is based on lowering real wages.

Australian PM unveils plan for indefinite detention of “terrorists”

By Mike Head, 12 December 2015

Turnbull’s announcement came amid an intensive campaign by his ousted predecessor, Tony Abbott, to demonise Muslims and call for ground troops to be deployed to Syria and Iraq.

As court bans racist rally, Australian media promotes far-right

By Richard Phillips, 12 December 2015

The media has provided blanket coverage of plans for an anti-Islamic rally in Cronulla, where racist mobs attacked Middle Eastern youth in 2005.

Indonesian government discusses offering Australia an island to detain refugees

By Max Newman, 11 December 2015

As a result of Australia’s “turn back” policy, more than 13,000 asylum seekers are now living in some of Indonesia’s most impoverished provinces.

Australia: Productivity Commission proposes further major cutbacks to pensions

By Richard Phillips, 11 December 2015

The report targets the family home, which for more than a century has been exempt from inclusion in the pension assets test.

Scores of Australian workers killed in workplace incidents

By Terry Cook, 9 December 2015

Workers continue to die or be severely injured in work-related accidents that are entirely preventable.

US pressures Australian government to toe the line on China

By Peter Symonds, 8 December 2015

Washington’s misgivings over Turnbull have been heightened by the lease of Darwin port to a Chinese company and his failure to agree to joint military challenges to Chinese claims in the South China Sea.

Australian union officials arrested on blackmail charges for imposing bans

By Mike Head, 8 December 2015

The use of the criminal law to punish industrial action is a bid to wind the clock back to the nineteenth century.

Ex-minister’s defection highlights fragility of Australian government

By Mike Head, 7 December 2015

Less than three months after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ousted his predecessor Tony Abbott there are intense rifts within his government.

Australian state government sells power generator for next to nothing

By Terry Cook, 7 December 2015

The power trade unions have diverted workers’ opposition into harmless protests while helping axe thousands of jobs through “voluntary” redundancies.

Sri Lankan housemaid faces execution in Saudi Arabia

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 5 December 2015

The impending death by stoning highlights the Sri Lankan government’s concern not to offend the Saudi regime and indifference to the plight of migrant workers.

Australian government pushes through bill to revoke citizenships

By Mike Head, 4 December 2015

The new powers, which can be exercised without any trial or judicial process, go far beyond targeting alleged terrorist suspects.

Australian workers and youth voice concerns over downing of Russian jet

By our correspondents, 3 December 2015

Workers and youth interviewed by the WSWS pointed to the role of the US in stoking global geo-strategic tensions.

Australia: Reserve Bank leaves rates on hold despite plunge in investment

By Mike Head, 2 December 2015

The investment figures throw into doubt the government’s efforts to talk up the country’s economic prospects.

Tens of thousands attend climate change rallies in Australia

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 December 2015

While the protests expressed growing concern over the environmental crisis, organisers sought to channel them into bankrupt appeals to the Turnbull government.

Refugees rescued off West Timor after being dumped by Australia

By Max Newman, 30 November 2015

Asylum seekers who disappeared for a week after being intercepted by the Australian navy were found stricken in a small boat without fuel off the Indonesian coast.

Australian Greens posturing on war and refugees exposed at public meeting

By Max Newman, 28 November 2015

None of the speakers mentioned the direct connection between the refugee crisis and the war drive by the US and its allies, including Australia.

Australian government unveils new pro-business “reforms”

By Mike Head, 28 November 2015

Entire areas of “human services”—including public health and education—will be thrown open to exploitation by cost-cutting corporate operators.

Australian state government rejects Chinese bid for electricity company

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 November 2015

State Grid’s offer was turned down after a hysterical campaign presenting it as a threat to “national security.”

Australian bushfires tragically confirm Climate Council warnings

By Margaret Rees, 27 November 2015

Hot, dry weather conducive to bushfires is extending beyond the traditional summer months.

Australian PM ramps up “war on terror”

By Peter Symonds, 25 November 2015

While his style was slicker than his predecessor’s, Turnbull’s reactionary message was the same: a continued commitment to war abroad and anti-democratic measures at home.

Anti-Muslim rallies in Australia: A byproduct of the “war on terror”

By James Cogan, 25 November 2015

Sunday’s protests had the character of a well-rehearsed political pantomime, staged for the benefit of the media and the police agencies.

Australian state-funded networks provide platform for extreme-right

By Richard Phillips, 24 November 2015

Extensive media coverage of anti-Islamic organisations is in line with the government’s preparations for war and deeper attacks on democratic rights.

Australian workers and youth denounce war drive after Paris attacks

By our reporters, 23 November 2015

Workers and young people spoke out against the use of the Paris terror attacks to escalate the drive to war and the assault on democratic rights.

Australia: Labor Party attacks government over Chinese port contract

By James Cogan, 23 November 2015

Labor’s subservience to Washington and the US-Australia alliance is in line with its entire history.

Toyota worker denounces union over shutdown of Australian car industry

By our reporter, 21 November 2015

“The only people who will win out from this closure are the company and the unions.”

BlueScope praises Australian unions for pushing through job destruction at Port Kembla

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 November 2015

The company will now try to use the threat to close the steel plant to extract more cuts to wages and conditions.

Australian unemployment figures provoke disbelief and criticism

By Terry Cook, 20 November 2015

Despite mounting job losses, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for October recorded an unexplained fall in the unemployment rate.

Obama demands China halt South China Sea activities

By Mike Head, 19 November 2015

In Manila for the APEC summit, Obama condemned China specifically, further escalating the confrontation over the South China Sea.

US president reproaches Australian PM over Darwin port deal

By Peter Symonds, 19 November 2015

Amid rising tensions with Beijing, Obama said Washington should have had “a heads-up” over a Chinese company winning the northern Australian port lease.

Australian unions force through steel job cuts and wage freeze

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 November 2015

A significant minority of workers rejected the company-union blackmail.

Australian establishment seizes on Paris attacks to justify war and police state measures

By James Cogan, 18 November 2015

Every effort is being made to silence any criticism of the wars, attacks on democratic rights and worsening social conditions that have fuelled Islamist extremism.

Australian maritime union betrays Hutchison workers

By Richard Phillips, 18 November 2015

Hutchison management thanked the union for giving the company “greatly enhanced flexibility.”

Hutchison worker: “The union delivered the job cuts the company wanted”

18 November 2015

One sacked Hutchison worker who attended the Brisbane mass meeting on Monday spoke with the World Socialist Web Site. He said that although there was “almost unanimous” vote for union-company deal “there were a lot of concerns about the end results.

Australian unions seek to ram through job destruction at BlueScope Steel

By Oscar Grenfell and James Cogan, 17 November 2015

Opposition has steadily increased to the union’s efforts to blackmail workers into voting to slash their own conditions.

Divisions emerge over Chinese contract for northern Australian port

By James Cogan, 16 November 2015

The discussion shifted from the commercial opportunities offered by Chinese investment to the “threat” posed by Chinese companies.

Australian government considers removing refugees to Kyrgyzstan

By Max Newman, 14 November 2015

Kyrgyzstan, one of a number of former Soviet Union countries being considered for transferring refugees, ranks among the 50 poorest countries in the world.

Australia: Growing opposition to union-company deal at Port Kembla steelworks

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 November 2015

The unions are seeking to intimidate workers into accepting 500 job cuts, a wage-freeze and an overhaul of working conditions.

Australian Labor Party backs revamped bill to revoke citizenships

By Mike Head, 13 November 2015

With Labor’s assistance, the Turnbull government’s bill establishes a wider precedent for overturning the fundamental democratic right to citizenship.

Australian government deporting life-long residents over minor offences

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 November 2015

Hundreds of long-term residents are being stripped of their visas, and face indefinite detention and deportation.

Forty years since the Canberra Coup

By James Cogan, 11 November 2015

The concern in ruling circles in Australia and the US was that the Whitlam Labor government had failed to stem the powerful movement of the working class that had brought it to power in 1972.

Refugee’s death triggers another riot on Australia’s Christmas Island

By Mike Head, 10 November 2015

According to detainees, a confrontation broke out after Iranian refugees demanded answers from security guards, only to be abused and taunted.

New research highlights social inequality in Australian schools

By Frank Gaglioti, 9 November 2015

A recent report verifies that ever-widening social inequality in Australia continues to have the most detrimental consequences for the working class.

Report reveals widening gap in Australian living standards

By John Harris, 9 November 2015

The gulf between the richest and poorest households grew over the past decade, and will deepen during the next 10 years.

Australian workers and youth denounce preparations for war against China

By our reporters, 7 November 2015

Australia’s Turnbull government last week gave its immediate support for US naval provocations against China in the South China Sea.

Brisbane residents startled by low altitude military flight

By Mike Head, 7 November 2015

The unannounced fly-over by a large Globemaster aircraft displayed utter contempt for the residents and alarmed many people, both physically and politically.

Australian government pushes to increase taxes on workers and poor

By Mike Head, 6 November 2015

Business leaders are demanding the hiking of the Goods and Services Tax, in line with higher consumption taxes being imposed around the world.

Chevron to slash hundreds of jobs at Australian gas projects

By Terry Cook, 6 November 2015

The resources giant is eliminating up to 14,000 jobs globally, underscoring the sharp reversal in the mining sector.

Australian financial commentator hails union role in steel cuts at Port Kembla

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 November 2015

The so-called negotiations had the character of a union-company conspiracy against the BlueScope workers.

Australian government trials new “welfare card”

By Susan Allan, 4 November 2015

Once more, Aboriginal people are being used as guinea pigs for measures designed to dismantle welfare entitlements throughout the working class.

Australia and China conduct joint naval exercises

By Peter Symonds, 3 November 2015

The joint operation in no way eases the tensions heightened by the US naval intrusion into Chinese-claimed territory in the South China Sea last week.

Two more refugees commit suicide in Australia

By Max Newman, 2 November 2015

The Australian government’s responsibility for the suicides is underscored by the treatment of Khodayar Amini, who set himself alight last month.

Australian unions peddle anti-Chinese chauvinism as they enforce job destruction

By Mike Head, 30 October 2015

The union campaign seeks to blame Chinese workers, and Chinese companies, for the growing unemployment in Australia.

Tensions soar internationally following US deployment in South China Sea

By James Cogan, 28 October 2015

The reckless calculation in Washington is that the Chinese regime’s diplomatic and military response to its provocative actions are nothing more than rhetoric.

Australian electricity unions go to industrial tribunal to assist job shedding

By Terry Cook, 27 October 2015

A directive by the Fair Work Commission ordering the reinstatement of 74 workers amounts to nothing more than a temporary stay of execution.

Australian PM refuses to halt deportations of New Zealanders

By Tom Peters, 26 October 2015

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull bluntly rejected a request to end the removal of New Zealand-born Australian residents who have received prison sentences.

Australian government plans to repackage university cuts

By Evrim Ludlow, 26 October 2015

Despite union claims of “victory,” the Turnbull-led Coalition will push ahead with revised schemes to slash student funding.

Australian government sends alleged rape victim back to detention on Nauru

By Max Newman, 24 October 2015

In order to prevent a court injunction, the Turnbull government quickly removed a young refugee woman seeking an abortion in Australia.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

24 October 2015

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

Australian ex-treasurer spells out corporate elite’s agenda

By Mike Head, 23 October 2015

In his departing speech, Joe Hockey outlined the dismantling of welfare, health and education, as well as deep cuts to working-class wages and conditions.

Major shareholder predicts closure of Australian steel plant

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 October 2015

The comments underscore that the attack on the Port Kembla workers is part of a global restructuring of the steel industry.