Australian Health Issues

Australia: Factory fire sends toxic smoke over western Melbourne

By Eric Ludlow, 7 September 2018

Authorities tried to reassure concerned residents, but hundreds of dead fish, eels and birds have been found in nearby waterways.

Family speaks to World Socialist Web Site

Unanswered questions surround the suicide of Australian paramedic Tony Jenkins

By Cheryl Crisp and John Mackay, 6 September 2018

On April 9, the 28-year veteran paramedic took his own life within two hours of being called into a meeting with New South Wales Ambulance senior managers.

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.

Australian thunderstorm asthma deaths inquest reveals health system breakdown

By Margaret Rees, 20 August 2018

Triple 0 callers were told an ambulance was on the way when it had not been dispatched.

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.

Australian government promises changes to My Health Records following widespread opposition

By Cheryl Crisp, 2 August 2018

The “opt out” health database faces mounting public concern over official and corporate surveillance.

New Zealand nurses speak to WSWS opposing sellout deal

By Tom Peters, 7 July 2018

Nurses denounced the union-backed proposed agreement, which keeps wages low and maintains severe under-staffing of hospitals.

Australian investigation underscores global health dangers of toxic foam exposure

By Patrick Davies, 6 July 2018

The official response to a PFAS-related cancer cluster in the US city of Oakdale mirrors the indifference of Australian authorities to a similar health crisis.

Australian government denies palliative care to dying refugee

By Max Newman, 19 June 2018

Successive Australian governments have pioneered many of the brutal measures now being taken in Europe and the US.

Australia’s disability scheme prepares to restrict access for people with autism

By Max Newman, 7 June 2018

The move to reduce autism services underscores the cost-cutting character of the NDIS.

Australia: Private health giant Healthscope axes 400 jobs

By Margaret Rees, 5 June 2018

The company is shutting down two hospitals in order to help secure a more favourable takeover bid.

Australian government reports whitewash responsibility for toxic foam crisis

By Patrick Davies, 29 May 2018

Official cover-ups are scrapping any notion of potential buybacks or compensation.

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 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.

Australian aged care workers confront worsening conditions

By Michelle Stevens, 9 January 2018

Decades of government funding cuts, combined with the rise of corporate profit-making operators, have led to severe under-staffing.

Australian flu epidemic inundates public health services

By John Mackay, 25 October 2017

Emergency room visits reached record levels at the peak of the winter season in many major hospitals.

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.

Young doctor suicides point to deteriorating conditions in Australia’s health system

By Ed Ballesteros, 22 August 2017

The ostensible concern of governments for the well-being of health professionals is belied by funding cuts that have stretched public hospitals to breaking point.

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.

Australia: Hundreds evacuated after toxic blaze at Melbourne recycling plant

By Will Marshall, 17 July 2017

The SKM fire is a product of the systematic gutting of environmental health and safety regulations, as well as town planning and construction guidelines.

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.

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.

Australian public hospitals relying on private patients

By Gary Alvernia, 16 March 2017

Funding cuts initiated by the last federal Labor government have forced hospitals to double the number of private patient services since 2008.

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.

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.

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.

Millions of disabled Australians to be denied national insurance support

By Max Newman, 14 January 2017

The National Disability Insurance Scheme will deny adequate assistance to many in need, even those with severe mental illnesses.

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.

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.

Australia: Mounting evidence of black lung cover-up

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 November 2016

Thousands of miners could be afflicted by the deadly disease as a result of the erosion of safety standards by the major companies, with government and union complicity.

Australia: Rally against Shellharbour hospital privatisation

By our reporters, 8 November 2016

The trade unions that organised the protest promoted the fraud that Labor would defend the hospital and public health care.

Australia: Maitland residents oppose privatisation of regional hospital

By John Roberts, 28 October 2016

The protest was another attempt by the unions to divert mounting anger over the attacks on public health into appeals to the government and the promotion of illusions in Labor.

Australia: Large protest against Wyong hospital privatisation

By John Mackay, 19 October 2016

Unions New South Wales is seeking to channel widespread opposition to the attacks on healthcare behind the Labor Party.

Healthcare costs a growing barrier to treatment for Australians

By Michelle Stevens, 15 October 2016

Almost half those suffering some chronic health conditions are skipping treatment because of “out of pocket” costs.

Australian state government to privatise five hospitals

By John Mackay, 1 October 2016

The plan will set a model for the wholesale handover of health care to profit-making corporate operators.

Tragic death of baby in Australian hospital

By Richard Phillips, 10 August 2016

The New South Wales government has responded to an entirely preventable hospital accident by going into damage control.

The Australian election’s “save Medicare” fraud

By Mike Head—SEP candidate for the Senate in Queensland, 27 June 2016

For four decades, the reality has been one of a relentless assault on public health care by Labor and Coalition governments alike.

Increasing suicide rate in Australia highlights social crisis

By Mary Beadnell, 26 April 2016

Steep increases in the numbers of people taking their own lives point to deteriorating economic and social conditions.

Black lung disease reemerges in Australian coal mines

By Richard Phillips, 11 April 2016

Increased workloads, inadequate mine ventilation and low dust-testing standards have produced a sudden jump in the number of coal miners suffering from black lung.

Australia: Despite deaths, no youth mental facility in Brisbane

By Declan O’Malley, 14 March 2016

The official inquiry is an attempt to cover up the refusal of successive state and federal governments to provide adequate mental health services.

Australian health care rallies promote election of Labor and Greens

By Zac Hambides, 23 February 2016

Not one of the speakers mentioned the cutting of health spending by the last Labor government, kept in office by the Greens.

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.

Australian prime minister clings to office

By Peter Symonds, 9 February 2015

Prime Minister Tony Abbott fended off a leadership challenge today, but the political turmoil inside the ruling Liberal Party will continue.

Australian government seeks to force doctors to charge fees

By Mike Head, 10 December 2014

Abbott’s apparent about-face is another indication of the political crisis wracking the Liberal-National Coalition government.

Suicides highlight harsh conditions in Australia’s mining industry

By Joe Lopez, 2 September 2014

Nine Pilbara “Fly In Fly Out” workers have committed suicide in the past 12 months, despite an earlier federal parliamentary inquiry.

Australian budget protests: A political balance sheet

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 30 August 2014

Protest organisers have channelled public opposition into the dead-end of parliamentary manoeuvre, promoting the illusion that Labor and the Greens would block the budget measures.

Australian government moves to outsource key social services

By Terry Cook, 27 August 2014

The move will effectively cut the human services department in half, paving the way for the axing of tens of thousands of jobs.

Medical co-payments and the assault on public health in Australia

By James Cogan, 5 June 2014

The objective is the long-term reduction of public health spending by using “price signals” to deter people from accessing medical care.

The Medical Research Future Fund: A hand-out to corporate Australia

By James Cogan, 5 June 2014

The Abbott government has sought to lessen the public outrage over its introduction of co-payments for public medical services by channelling much of the revenue into a Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) until it reaches $20 billion. By 2017–2018, the MRFF, which will invest its capital in the share and money markets, will use its dividends to make grants of up to $1 billion annually for medical research in Australia.

Western Australian government cuts hospital beds and jobs

By Joe Lopez, 7 April 2014

Hundreds of public health jobs to be eliminated at hospitals in Perth, the state capital.

Australian state government closes disability support facilities

By Max Newman, 21 February 2014

The closure of Newcastle’s Stockton Centre exposes the purpose of the former Labor government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Australia: Labor Party promoted at protest against Medicare cuts

By Oliver Campbell, 18 February 2014

The pseudo-left organisations that organised the rally are seeking to divert opposition to cuts to social spending behind the Labor Party, Greens, and trade unions.

Australia: Defend Medicare rally promotes Labor Party

By Oliver Campbell, 7 January 2014

The protest was called in response to proposals for upfront fees for visits to doctors.

Australian coroner’s report points to Labor’s responsibility for insulation deaths

By Terry Cook, 11 July 2013

Prime Minister Rudd cynically apologised to the families of four young men killed when working for contractors under the home insulation scheme.

Australian thinktank demands “tough” health and welfare cutbacks

By Mike Head, 23 April 2013

The Grattan Institute launched a broadside against the major parties for “raising expectations about what government can and should deliver.”

Union calls off Western Australian nurses’ strike

By Joe Lopez, 28 February 2013

Industrial action by nurses, drawing support from other workers, threatened to raise uncomfortable questions for the Liberal government, the Labor opposition and the union.

Australia: Protest over privatisation of hospital hydrotherapy pool

By Mark Church, 28 January 2013

The sell-off at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney is a direct result of deep health care cuts by the state and federal governments.

Australian hospital funding cuts cause bed closures

By Will Morrow, 24 January 2013

While being presented as accounting corrections, these cutbacks are entirely in line with the federal Labor government’s so-called health care reform program.

Australian hospital patients waiting longer under Labor’s “health reform”

By Mike Head, 18 December 2012

The data underscores the fraud of the government’s claims that its three-year-old “national health reform” program seeks to improve patient care.

Australia: New disability scheme to cut long-term costs

By Alex Messenger, 6 June 2012

Under the guise of helping the disabled, the NDIS involves a massive rationalisation of existing services designed to drive many off pensions and into work.

Australia: Elderly to pay much more for care

By Alex Messenger, 28 April 2012

Far from the “increased funding” promoted by the media, the changes will reduce the government’s contribution to the funding of home care from 84 percent to 76 percent.

Australian nurses’ union imposes real wage cut

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 March 2012

The overriding priority of the union has been to prevent the nurses’ dispute from becoming a political struggle against the state and federal governments.

Australian nurses’ union betrays protracted industrial struggle

By Will Marshall, 9 March 2012

The Victorian state government has made no concessions whatsoever, but the union bureaucracy insists that closed-door negotiations will conclude an agreement by March 16.

Australia: Union isolates striking Victorian nurses

By Richard Phillips, 1 March 2012

As nurses continued rolling stoppages, the ANF pledged to call off all action if the Victorian government agreed to “voluntary arbitration,” as proposed by federal workplace minister Bill Shorten.

Fair Work Australia imposes no-strike bans on Victorian nurses

By Richard Phillips, 25 February 2012

As soon as nurses began industrial action to defend wages, jobs and patient-nurse ratios, the Gillard government’s workplace tribunal declared their action illegal.

Australian mental health workers maintain bans over wages and conditions

By Susan Allan, 19 January 2012

Mental health services are in profound crisis, following decades of chronic underfunding by successive governments at state and federal levels.

Australia: Victorian hospital workers speak on government cuts

By our reporters, 4 January 2012

The World Socialist Web Site recently spoke with Victorian nurses and other public hospital workers about the government’s assault on their pay and working conditions.

Australian state government announces 3,600 public sector job cuts

By Will Marshall, 28 December 2011

The Victorian Liberal government, acting in concert with the federal Labor government, is carrying out a major attack on public sector jobs.

Australian nurses’ union announces “mass resignation” stunt

By Will Morrow, 19 December 2011

The resignation threat is a cynical bid by the union bureaucracy to wear down the nurses’ determined struggle in defence of jobs, conditions and wages.

The Australian pseudo-lefts and the betrayal of Victorian nurses

By Will Morrow and Patrick O'Connor, 14 December 2011

A revealing incident outside a recent mass meeting of nurses in Melbourne served to highlight the class gulf that separates the Socialist Equality Party from Socialist Alternative and its fellow pseudo-left organisations in Australia.

Australia: Ambulance services under pressure to cut costs

By Mark Church, 13 December 2011

As federal and state governments implement austerity measures, emergency ambulance call centre operators are being pressed to find ways to limit ambulance use.

Australia: Letter on the Victorian nurses’ struggle

8 December 2011

A mental health nurse wrote to the World Socialist Web Site about the issues involved in the fight by public hospital nurses in the state of Victoria to defend wages and conditions.

Australian nurses’ union holds first “community rally”

By Will Morrow, 5 December 2011

Sunday’s event underscored the fact that the union bureaucracy is consciously working to demobilise and demoralise the nurses.

Australia: Nurses’ union announces sham “community campaign”

By Will Morrow, 3 December 2011

Having shut down industrial action by Victorian nurses, the union is promoting a campaign of isolated hospital rallies in order to demoralise nurses while it prepares a sell-out agreement.

An exchange on the union’s role in the Australian nurses’ dispute

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 November 2011

The WSWS replies to a letter that reflects the current thinking of many nurses who are determined to defend staffing and pay, but do not yet understand the union’s role in facilitating the Victorian government’s agenda.

The Australian trade unions and the betrayal of the Victorian nurses’ struggle

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 28 November 2011

The shutdown of the nurses’ struggle underscores the critical role of the unions in enforcing the regressive, pro-business measures being advanced by the federal Labor government in collaboration with its state counterparts.

Australia: Union shuts down nurses’ industrial action

By Will Morrow and Patrick O’Connor, 26 November 2011

The ANF decision is an abject capitulation to the federal Labor government’s industrial relations regime and the state government’s agenda of slashing wages and conditions.

Australian nurses rally in defence of wages and conditions

By Will Morrow, 25 November 2011

The nurses are maintaining industrial action within Victoria’s public hospitals in defiance of a ban imposed by the federal Labor government’s Fair Work Australia industrial relations tribunal.

Australia: Elderly patients die in Sydney nursing home fire

By Mark Church, 23 November 2011

The tragedy highlight the appalling conditions in the commercial aged care industry, which are primarily the responsibility of the federal Labor government, which controls the funding of the nursing home system.

Australia: The political issues facing Victorian nurses

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 23 November 2011

Tens of thousands of public hospital nurses confront an assault on their jobs, wages, and conditions that is being coordinated between the state Liberal government of Ted Baillieu and the federal Labor government of Julia Gillard.

Australia: Nurses continue industrial action in defiance of industrial laws

By Will Morrow, 22 November 2011

In defying the tribunal’s orders, the nurses confront the threat of having their wages docked, fines totalling thousands of dollars each and jail terms of up to 12 months.

Australian nurses’ industrial action banned by Labor’s laws

By Will Morrow, 18 November 2011

What is facing nurses in Victoria is part of the austerity agenda being imposed in country after country on workers who are being compelled to bear the brunt of the deepening crisis of capitalism.

State government inquiry whitewashes Australian chemical leak

By Terry Cook, 18 October 2011

The inquiry was part of a damage control exercise to placate Newcastle residents and head off any genuine probing of the incident’s underlying causes.

Australian “health reform” plan to slash spending

By Mike Head, 18 August 2011

The centrepiece of the agreement is the imposition of “national efficient prices” for all public hospital services.

Australian hospital waiting times worsen under “health reform”

By Mike Head, 14 June 2011

The results underscore the central purpose of the Labor government’s blueprint—to drive down long-term healthcare costs and push more patients into the hands of private providers.

New “super bug” threatens Australian hospitals

By John Mackay, 19 May 2011

Despite warnings by health professionals, no national surveillance system has been introduced for the potentially fatal Clostridium difficile bacteria.

Medical workers and students speak against pending spending cuts

By Will Morrow, 13 April 2011

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to a number of medical researchers and students about the Labor government’s proposed cuts to medical research.

Thousands rally against Australian Labor government’s spending cuts to medical research

By Will Morrow, 13 April 2011

Workers and students yesterday demonstrated against cuts to medical research funding, expected to be included in Labor’s austerity budget in May.

Medical researcher: “Our chance of solving health problems will be significantly smaller”

By Will Morrow, 11 April 2011

The WSWS spoke to a researcher in respiratory illness on the implications of the Gillard government’s planned reductions in health research spending.

Australian government plans substantial cuts to health care

By Will Morrow, 11 April 2011

In the lead-up to the May budget, the Labor government has signalled cuts to pathology, radiology, subsidised drugs and medical research grants.

Australia: Gillard health plan to slash spending

By Mike Head, 15 February 2011

Far from a “better deal for patients,” Labor’s market-based scheme will only worsen health outcomes in the notoriously under-resourced, over-stretched and dilapidated public hospital system

Australia: New South Wales nurses union shuts down action over staffing

By Zac Hambides, 14 January 2011

The nurses union agenda is to use a mandatory ratio as a selling point to lull nurses into accepting a behind-the-scenes deal being worked out with the NSW state government.

Nurses strike across Australia’s largest state

By James Cogan, 24 November 2010

While the NSW Nurses Association called the industrial action over a demand for mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios, the overwhelming support for the strike is a measure of the anger felt by nurses towards the increasingly dysfunctional character of the entire public hospital system.

Australia: Labor’s “world class health system” leaves thousands of Victorians waiting for treatment

By Tania Baptist, 23 November 2010

Hundreds of thousands of people across the state were unable to access essential medical treatment within clinically desirable timeframes last year. Despite cynical last-minute election promises, the public hospital system will inevitably deteriorate further.

Australia: Nurses stop work over staffing at Blacktown hospital

By Zac Hambides, 1 November 2010

About 30 nurses from a Sydney hospital attended a lunchtime union rally last Wednesday over the staffing crisis affecting the hospital’s mental health unit.

Western Australia: Children’s deaths expose health crisis

By Joe Lopez, 20 October 2010

The tragic deaths of three children following unsuccessful attempts by their parents to access medical treatment in regional Western Australia have highlighted the crisis of the public health system in country areas.

Report documents health impact of social inequality in Australia

By Chris Johnson and Mike Head, 12 October 2010

A report has provided conclusive evidence that systemic social inequality is producing wide gaps in the health, well-being and life expectancy of people of working age.

Australia: Incompetent surgeon jailed for manslaughter

By Richard Phillips, 14 July 2010

The cost-cutting policies that helped create the Patel tragedy in Queensland are now being implemented nationally under the federal Labor government’s so-called “health revolution”.

Australia: Top mental health adviser resigns

By Peter Symonds, 25 June 2010

The Labor government is under fire from a growing number of professionals for failing to address the worsening crisis in the public mental health system.

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.