Australia and South Pacific

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.

Australia: Anger grows over fire at Melbourne recycling plant

By Will Morrrow, 22 July 2017

Firefighting services have been called to the plant nine times in the last five years—four times this year, three times in 2015 and once in both 2012 and 2013.

Disqualification threats hang over Australian MPs

By Mike Head, 22 July 2017

A witch hunt has been launched to identify every member of parliament who was born overseas or might have dual citizenship.

Australian governments continue to cover-up unsafe buildings

By Richard Phillips, 20 July 2017

Five weeks after the Grenfell Tower fire, only a handful of flammable-clad buildings have been identified and nothing has been done to prevent a potential disaster.

Australian government to establish a “security” super-ministry

By Mike Head, 20 July 2017

Prime Minister Turnbull’s announcement represents another major step toward creating a police-state apparatus.

Australian government seeks new military call-out powers

By Mike Head, 19 July 2017

The changes will mean that heavily-armed troops can be mobilised to suppress social and political unrest.

Two Greens senators in Australia resign over dual citizenship

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 July 2017

The sudden departure of the two deputy leaders of the Greens underscores the deepening crisis of the party and the entire parliamentary set-up.

Deepening political crisis around Papua New Guinea elections

By John Braddock, 18 July 2017

The electoral watchdog’s resignation is further evidence that Prime Minister O’Neill’s government is trying to cling to power through fraud.

Local residents speak out over toxic recycling plant

By our reporters, 17 July 2017

Coolaroo and Dallas residents in Melbourne’s northern suburbs spoke to World Socialist Web Site reporters, denouncing government and environmental protection authorities over their response to the SKM Recycling plant fire last Thursday.

Australian government shuts off power to refugees imprisoned on Manus Island

By Max Newman, 17 July 2017

Parts of the camp have been demolished and the Internet facility was taken away, leaving mobile phones as the only connection for detainees to the outside world.

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.

Australian unions isolate miners facing attacks on pay and conditions

By Terry Cook, 15 July 2017

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union has restricted the Glencore workers to token stoppages.

Australian cricket pay dispute escalates

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 July 2017

Cricketing administrators are seeking to boost their control over billions of dollars of broadcasting and online streaming revenue.

Australian prime minister’s London speech highlights political turmoil

By Mike Head, 14 July 2017

Malcolm Turnbull’s July 10 address was an obvious bid to rebuke his predecessor Tony Abbott, underscoring the rifts tearing apart the Liberal Party.

Leaked reports expose Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

By Mike Head, 13 July 2017

The atrocities, only partly revealed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, underscore the inherently criminal character of the US-led Afghanistan war.

Australian building experts discuss the Grenfell Tower fire

By our reporters, 12 July 2017

“Fire safety is more important than the façade of a building,” building inspector says.

Australia: Unanswered questions over police killing of Melbourne teenager

By Will Morrow, 12 July 2017

Australia’s intelligence agency ASIO appears to have been in communication with Numan Haider before police shot him.

Australian government summarily deports more Sri Lankan refugees

By Max Newman, 11 July 2017

Six asylum seekers were captured by the Australian Navy and forcibly deported to face possible torture and imprisonment.

More Australian workers killed in preventable workplace incidents

By Terry Cook, 11 July 2017

The number of industry-related fatalities this year is on track to match or exceed the grim toll in 2016 when 178 workers were killed.

Australia: Lacrosse apartment residents speak out over Grenfell Tower disaster

By Paul Bartizan, 10 July 2017

Almost three years after Melbourne’s Lacrosse apartment block caught fire, the building’s flammable cladding remains in place.

High Court challenge imperils Australian government

By Mike Head, 10 July 2017

A disqualification of Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie, a National Party MP, could reduce the government to minority status.

“Chaos” surrounds Papua New Guinea election outcome

By John Braddock, 10 July 2017

The turmoil is an expression of the explosive social tensions produced by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s government during the past two years.

Rifts widen in the Australian Greens

By James Cogan, 8 July 2017

Underlying the divisions is the fact that the Greens have evolved over the past two decades into the party of “green” business.

Australian Labor and union leaders seek to head off workers’ discontent

By Mike Head, 7 July 2017

Speeches at last week’s ACTU 90th anniversary dinner signal desperate efforts to promote the return of another pro-business Labor government.

Australian government lines up behind US threats to North Korea and China

By Mike Head, 6 July 2017

Canberra’s statement closely echoed Washington’s assertions that North Korea now constitutes a threat to the entire world.

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.

Public meetings in Australia and New Zealand

The Grenfell Tower disaster: A crime against the working class

5 July 2017

Homes, schools, hospitals and other public buildings must be made safe. The criminals in high places must be brought to justice.

US Studies Centre touts significance of US-Australian investment ties

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 July 2017

The Sydney University think-tank launched a new project amid intense pressure by Washington on Canberra not to turn away from the US alliance.

Australian workers and youth speak out on Grenfell Tower tragedy

By our reporters, 3 July 2017

Those who spoke to the WSWS drew parallels between the London fire and the undermining of building regulations in Australia.

Infighting re-erupts in Australian government

By Mike Head, 30 June 2017

The factional warfare is a symptom of a deeper political crisis, which has seen governments, both Liberal-National and Labor, fall in rapid succession since 2007.

Factional conflict wracks Australian Greens

By James Cogan, 29 June 2017

While the majority faction seeks to demonstrate its parliamentary “relevance,” another faction fears that the entire political establishment—including the Greens—could be by-passed by an eruption of popular discontent.

Australian state government and unions collaborate in teacher’s dismissal under “TIP”

By Erika Zimmer and Linda Tenenbaum, 29 June 2017

The New South Wales Teachers Federation and the state government are using the Teacher Improvement Program (TIP) procedure to victimise highly-experienced teachers and replace them with lower-paid younger teachers on short-term contracts.

Major crisis in Australian public school infrastructure

By Karen Holland, 28 June 2017

The Grattan Institute projects that 400 to 750 new public schools will need to be built over the next decade, to cater for approximately 650,000 additional students.

Australian university staff face cuts to pay, jobs and basic rights

By Mike Head, 28 June 2017

Government funding cuts are accelerating the pro-business restructuring of higher education that began three decades ago.

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.

Australian construction union’s bogus campaign against industrial laws

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 June 2017

The CFMEU’s chief aim is to maintain its own privileged seat at the negotiating table and divert mounting anger among construction workers into electoral support for the Labor Party.

Ex-CIA chief calls for “firm” Australian action against China

By Mike Head, 26 June 2017

David Petraeus’ appearance at the Liberal Party dinner was the latest intervention into Australian politics by visiting senior figures within the US military-intelligence complex.

Australian government’s $70 million court settlement covers up crimes against refugees

By Max Newman, 26 June 2017

A lawsuit by Manus Island detainees was halted to prevent a detailed exposure of the abuses inflicted by successive governments.

Australian parliament’s late-night “Gonski” sitting highlights political instability

By Mike Head, 23 June 2017

After weeks of backroom deal-making, the Senate finally rubberstamped the regressive school-funding bill.

Social crisis looms over Papua New Guinea election

By John Braddock, 23 June 2017

The poll takes place amid widespread hostility to the political establishment.

Australian intelligence agency demands sweeping powers to suppress Chinese “interference”

By James Cogan, 22 June 2017

ASIO asserts that political opposition to Australian and US policy toward China could be the result of “foreign influence.”

Australia: Telstra announces 1,400 job cuts

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 June 2017

The sackings are the latest in a series of pro-market restructures that have destroyed up to 6,000 jobs since 2013.

Australian miners strike against Glencore cost-cutting

By Terry Cook, 20 June 2017

Some 1,400 coal miners took industrial action against the transnational mining and resources conglomerate’s attempts to slash working conditions.

New Zealand: Public Service Association complicit in Auckland library job cuts

By Sam Price, 20 June 2017

The union has worked hand-in-hand with the Labour Party-controlled Auckland Council to eliminate around 194 jobs.

Indonesian president supports military role in new “anti-terror” law

By John Roberts, 17 June 2017

The legislation will significantly reverse limitations placed on the military’s internal security role following the fall of the Suharto dictatorship.

Australian government demands “patriotic” citizenship tests

By Mike Head, 15 June 2017

The government has seized upon the latest alleged terrorist attacks to justify measures to deny citizenship on a range of discriminatory grounds.

Australian media widens campaign against Chinese “influence”

By James Cogan, 14 June 2017

A witch-hunt against alleged Chinese interference in the country is assuming ever-more anti-democratic and sinister dimensions.

Australian state Labor government agrees to subsidise giant coal mine

By Declan O’Malley and Mike Head, 13 June 2017

After weeks of posturing, the Queensland cabinet provided a lucrative royalties handout to Adani.

Police “terror” raids in Australia mask unanswered questions about hostage incident

By Mike Head, 10 June 2017

As with nearly every terrorist-linked attack internationally, including in Manchester and London, the perpetrator was well known to the police and intelligence agencies.

Australia: Aurizon announces Queensland rail closures

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 June 2017

Up to 300 jobs are set to be eliminated, following hundreds of sackings over the past two years.

“Watergate pales compared to what we’re confronting now”

Former US director of national intelligence campaigns against Trump in Australia

By James Cogan, 9 June 2017

No journalist asked James Clapper the obvious question: why should any credibility be given to any claim he makes?

Reject unacceptable workloads and standardised testing! Take a stand for public education!

Vote No to the AEU-Labor government sell-out deal in Victoria!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 9 June 2017

The chronic underfunding, under-resourcing and under-staffing of public schools is driving many parents to send their children to private schools.

Australian economy barely avoids contraction

By Mike Head, 8 June 2017

Without spending by deeply-indebted households, the country would officially be in recession.

Australian government exploits hostage-taking to escalate “war on terror”

By Mike Head, 7 June 2017

The evidence points to a deeply troubled young man with a long history of drug addiction, being preyed upon by both Islamic fundamentalists and the police-intelligence agencies.

Australian establishment falls into line with anti-China allegations

By James Cogan, 7 June 2017

Fears about growing anti-war sentiment motivate efforts to develop suspicion and hostility towards China.

Preventable deaths quadruple in Australian nursing homes over ten years

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 June 2017

The leader of the study said the data revealed a “systems problem” across the aged-care sector.

Australian authorities label Melbourne hostage incident a “terrorist” attack

By Will Morrow, 6 June 2017

Before any of the facts were known, newspapers featured front-page stories depicting the incident as an Islamic State assault.

Australian media renews campaign against Chinese “power and influence”

By James Cogan, 6 June 2017

As tensions rise between China on the one hand, and the US and its allies on the other, the Australian establishment is launching, once again, an anti-Chinese campaign.

“Catastrophic failure” of regulators led to black lung among Australian miners

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 June 2017

Queensland authorities failed to look for, or properly identify, coal miners’ pneumoconiosis for more than 30 years.

Socialist Equality Party forum discusses agenda behind Australian Education Union sell-out deal

By our reporter, 5 June 2017

A clear relationship exists between the anti-democratic, bureaucratic tactics employed by the AEU to obtain a majority “yes” vote and the regressive, pro-market content of its 2017 agreement.

Shangri La Dialogue: US Defence Secretary, Australian PM threaten North Korea, China

By Peter Symonds, 3 June 2017

The premier Asian strategic conference is taking place as the US threatens war against North Korea and continues its relentless military build-up.

Australian city council locks out electricians for imposing work bans

By Ellen Blake, 3 June 2017

The Brisbane City Council’s aggressive action underscores the determination of governments and employers across the country to dismantle workers’ conditions.

Reports expose Australian government coverup of armed attack on Manus Island detainees

By Max Newman, 2 June 2017

The Good Friday assault highlighted the dangers facing the more than 800 male asylum seekers held on the remote island.

Melbourne airport incident raises questions about Australian “terrorism” scare campaigns

By Mike Head, 2 June 2017

The police transformed an episode involving a mentally-ill young man into another major terrorist operation.

More warnings of a housing-led crash in Australia

By Mike Head, 1 June 2017

Any sharp downturn in the debt-fuelled property market would have far-reaching economic and political consequences.

Australian timber mill slated to close

By Will Morrow, 1 June 2017

The closure, in the state of Victoria, is part of a restructuring by Carter Holt Harvey and other producers across the timber industry.

Senator John McCain visits Australia to reinforce US alliance

By James Cogan, 31 May 2017

McCain issued appeals and warnings to the Australian ruling class not to deviate from its strategic alignment with the US.

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.

One thousand staff stood-down after private college collapses in Australia

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 May 2017

The closure of Careers Australia, which had been accused of dubious enrolment practices, was apparently triggered by the withdrawal of substantial government funds.

Australian government demonises “fake refugees”

By Max Newman, 24 May 2017

Thousands of asylum seekers face forced removal to their countries of origin if they do not complete complex visa applications by October 1.

S&P downgrades small banks amid warnings of Australian housing slowdown

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 May 2017

The international credit ratings agency said its decision, which affects 23 financial institutions, was based on the likelihood of a sharp “correction” of the property market bubble.

Massacre of 17 prison escapees highlights deep social crisis in Papua New Guinea

By John Harris, 23 May 2017

State repression in PNG is aimed, not only at protecting the corrupt local ruling elite, but also Australian and US corporate interests.

Australian building workers hit by construction company collapse

By Declan O’Malley, 23 May 2017

The Brisbane shut-down is another indicator of the danger of a wider collapse in the residential construction boom, threatening tens of thousands of jobs.

Australia: Teachers explain why the AEU-government deal should be rejected

By our reporters, 22 May 2017

“The union has become the policeman to enforce agreements that sell our conditions down the drain.”

Sweden’s investigation into Julian Assange was a political frame-up from the outset

By David Walsh, 20 May 2017

The entire affair was aimed at discrediting and paralyzing WikiLeaks and creating conditions under which Assange could be extradited or abducted to the US, to be executed or condemned to a lifetime in prison.

Student protests in Australia promote Labor and the Greens

By our reporters, 20 May 2017

The poorly attended demonstrations reflected alienation from the NUS and its support for the major parliamentary parties.

Australian budget fallout deepens political crisis

By Mike Head, 20 May 2017

The conclusion is being drawn in corporate boardrooms that Turnbull has failed, generating fractures throughout the parliamentary order.

Australia: Contract teacher voices opposition to the AEU-government agreement

By our reporters, 20 May 2017

“I feel as though we’re teaching to a test, and not spending enough time on building our relationship with our students, and building on their strengths.”

SEP and Victorian Teachers and ES Staff Forum

The political issues in the fight against the AEU-Labor government EBA

20 May 2017

The forum on May 28 will present a detailed critique of the Australian Education Union’s sell-out deal with the Andrews Labor government, and clarify why teachers and ES staff should reject it.

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.

Sydney bus drivers strike against privatisation

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 May 2017

The transport union has appealed to the government for “consultation,” underscoring its willingness to collaborate with privatisation.

Australian teachers support campaign against AEU-government deal

By our reporters, 18 May 2017

Teachers who attended recent delegates meetings on the new enterprise agreement voiced support for a “No” vote.

Australia:

Teachers criticise anti-democratic character of AEU delegates’ meetings

By our reporters, 17 May 2017

“I think people voted without understanding the nitty-gritty of the agreement.”

Australian university student protests

A socialist perspective to fight the government assault on education and the drive to war

By the IYSSE (Australia), 17 May 2017

The National Union of Students called protests today to confine the growing anger of students to impotent protest appeals to the Labor Party, the Greens and the populist “cross-bench” parties in the Senate.

Vote “NO” to the EBA!

Australian Education Union pushes through industrial agreement at delegates’ meetings

By our reporters, 16 May 2017

SEP members and supporters who work in public education are campaigning for a “No” vote among rank-and-file teachers and ES staff.

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 Labor’s budget reply and the fear of political unrest

By James Cogan, 13 May 2017

Shorten’s reply to the budget was a populist attempt to revive illusions that Labor is the “lesser evil.”

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.

After Australian journalists’ strike

The political issues facing Fairfax workers

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 11 May 2017

The end of the week-long strike and the commitment of the media union to resume back-room negotiations for the destruction of jobs, poses major political issues before Fairfax workers.

Australian budget set to heighten social and political antagonisms

By James Cogan, 10 May 2017

On every front, the budget seeks to deepen the decades-long assault on the living standards and social rights of the working class.

Australian media union shuts down week-long Fairfax journalists’ strike

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 May 2017

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, having done everything to contain and weaken the strike, made clear that it will do nothing to oppose the axing of 125 jobs at Fairfax.

Australian rail union responds to Pacific National lockout by resuming talks

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 May 2017

The union will use the negotiating period to try and dissipate anger among freight drivers to the proposed cuts to their wages and conditions.

Trump and Australian PM Turnbull stage mutual embrace in New York

By Mike Head, 6 May 2017

A ceremonial dinner to highlight the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea against Japan became a platform for vows to “fight together” in Asia and the Middle East.

Australia: Fairfax journalists strike, but union appeals to corporate investors

By our correspondents, 6 May 2017

The sackings, which follow almost a decade of cost-cutting, will eviscerate Fairfax Media newspapers and lead to further job destruction.

Australian Fairfax journalists strike for a week over job destruction

By Mike Head, 4 May 2017

By launching the longest strike by editorial staff in recent history, the Fairfax workers are taking a stand against the ongoing demolition of jobs by the financial elite.

Australia: Victorian teachers speak out against agreement after union delegate meeting

By our reporters, 4 May 2017

Teachers raised concerns about the impact of growing workloads and the promotion of standardised testing in public schools.

Australia: Anzac Day and the official silence about anti-war opposition in WWI

By Richard Phillips, 4 May 2017

Contrary to government claims, Australia in 1917 was sharply divided along class lines and its involvement in World War I deeply unpopular.

Socialist Alternative joins pro-war witch-hunt of Australian academic

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 May 2017

The pseudo-left organisation endorsed the media attacks on Tim Anderson for rejecting the claims about chemical weapons used to justify Washington’s bombing of Syria.

Teachers oppose Australian Education Union sell-out deal at Victorian delegates meeting

By our reporters, 3 May 2017

The Melbourne meeting revealed mounting hostility among teachers to the union’s bureaucratic methods and to the agreement itself.

Australian budget to slash welfare and education

By Mike Head, 2 May 2017

Cuts target the working class, as the government plans billions more for the military and handouts to big business.