Australia and South Pacific

Australian Daily Telegraph lawyers plead “truth defence” in Geoffrey Rush defamation case

By Richard Phillips, 16 August 2018

The Murdoch media empire is prepared to spend vast sums to defeat Rush’s defamation suit.

Right-wing senator calls for a “White Australia” immigration policy

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 August 2018

Fraser Anning’s diatribe is the logical outcome of the nationalist policies supported by the entire political establishment.

China set to become largest aid donor to Pacific

By John Braddock, 15 August 2018

The ruling elites in Australia and New Zealand, the local imperialist powers that act in concert with Washington, view China’s rise as a threat to their interests.

Australia: Victorian bus drivers to strike over pay and conditions

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 August 2018

The strike expresses mounting anger among transport workers across the country over the consequences of a privatisation agenda imposed by Labor and Liberal-National governments.

Australia: Socialist Alternative promotes right-wing Labor leader Bill Shorten

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 August 2018

Amid a deepening crisis of the political establishment, the pseudo-left organisations are seeking to channel growing discontent back behind Labor and the unions.

Australian prime minister delivers an anxious speech on relations with China

By Mike Head, 13 August 2018

There is evident alarm that the Trump administration’s protectionism could have flow-on effects for Australian exporters and throw into doubt Washington’s global reliability.

Inquest shows Australian governments directly responsible for refugee’s death

By Max Newman, 10 August 2018

Coroner rules Hamid Khazaei’s death was a “preventable” outcome of “the policy of offshore processing.”

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.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation rams through sellout pay deal

By John Braddock and Tom Peters, 8 August 2018

The union is trying to present the agreement, which fails to address the crisis in the public health system, as a victory.

Australia: Telstra seeks to slash wages after announcing massive job cuts

By Terry Cook, 8 August 2018

The communications company is pushing a new enterprise agreement containing wage rises well below rapidly rising inflation.

Australia: Youth protest racist “African gangs” campaign

By our reporters, 4 August 2018

African-Australian youth rally to denounce divisive hysteria whipped up by the political and media establishment.

Business leaders look to Labor Party after by-elections shake Australian government

By Mike Head, 3 August 2018

Confronted by growing social and political unrest, corporate executives are preparing to pursue their interests via a Labor government.

Australia: Nine-Fairfax Media merger threatens jobs

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 August 2018

The deal marks a new stage in a protracted restructuring of corporate media organisations, dictated by the financial elite.

Julian Assange’s lawyer: Australian government has a “duty” to protect him

By Mike Head, 2 August 2018

Jennifer Robinson said the WikiLeaks editor wants to exercise his right to return to Australia, provided he is protected from extradition to the US.

New Zealand nurses express frustration, anger in union broadcast

By our reporters, 2 August 2018

The union’s online event was a desperate attempt to sell the latest, widely opposed deal and shut down the rebellion among nurses.

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.

Australian governments illegally sailed refugee boats to distant reef

By Max Newman, 1 August 2018

Successive governments flouted the law to declare asylum seekers “offshore arrivals.”

Geoffrey Rush’s lawyers argue newspaper’s allegations “motivated to harm” the actor

By Richard Phillips, 1 August 2018

Rush’s amended submission documents ongoing detrimental reportage by Murdoch publications.

Australian by-elections underscore deepening alienation from political establishment

By Mike Head, 30 July 2018

Despite large swings against the government, the opposition Labor Party’s vote barely rose from its historic lows.

Australia: Report reveals “Harvest Trail” exploitation of overseas workers

By Hugh Peters, 30 July 2018

The exploitative practices are the outcome of the gutting of permanent jobs by employers and successive governments, assisted by the trade unions.

Australian by-elections threaten to deepen political instability

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 July 2018

The five simultaneous elections are part of a mounting crisis of the official parliamentary establishment.

US and Australian ministers agree to intensify military integration against China

By Mike Head, 26 July 2018

The joint AUSMIN statement reaffirmed a “steadfast and enduring” alliance dating back to World War I.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation presents fifth sell-out pay offer

By John Braddock, 26 July 2018

The latest offer to public hospital nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives is virtually identical to offers they rejected before the July 12 nationwide strike.

Australian government boosts pro-US institutes on eve of ministerial talks in California

By Mike Head, 25 July 2018

Having just enacted draconian “foreign interference” bills, the government has now handed millions of dollars to think-tanks devoted to pro-US propaganda.

Australian Defence Department seeks expanded powers over research

By Mike Head, 24 July 2018

Universities would be placed under wartime-style scrutiny, prohibited from undertaking research with countries regarded as US enemies, especially China.

IYSSE blocked from leafleting at Australia’s Macquarie University

By Hugh Peters, 24 July 2018

The attack on democratic rights points to administration fears that years of cuts have produced seething discontent among students and staff.

New Zealand bus drivers take action over work rosters

By our correspondents, 24 July 2018

Bus drivers are facing attacks on jobs, wages and conditions by private operators contracted by the Labour Party-led Wellington Council.

Imminent threat to Julian Assange underscores need for global defence movement

By Mike Head, 23 July 2018

Plans are afoot to subject the WikiLeaks editor to lengthy imprisonment by the British authorities, pending extradition to the US.

Australia: Tamil refugee deported, separated from his wife and baby daughter

By Max Newman, 23 July 2018

The treatment of Gnaneswaran and his family is akin to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy by which children have been ripped away from their parents.

Australia’s “foreign influence” register will attack basic democratic rights

By Mike Head, 20 July 2018

The FITS Act will require registration by all individuals and organisations deemed to collaborate with overseas entities in any political activity.

New Zealand Labour-aligned Daily Blog posts pro-war, anti-China tirade

By John Braddock, 20 July 2018

The on-line blog hails the government’s military upgrade in preparation to join US-led aggression against China.

Australia’s new espionage laws target whistleblowers and political opponents

By Mike Head, 19 July 2018

The “anti-interference” legislation goes far beyond spying by foreign agents.

Australian PM promotes racist campaign over “African gangs”

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 July 2018

Malcolm Turnbull’s remarks are part of a broader attempt to whip up nationalism and anti-immigrant xenophobia.

Australia: Another fire at Melbourne recycling plant

By Eric Ludlow, 18 July 2018

Toxic blazes continue to erupt at Australian recycling plants as companies stockpile tonnes of dangerous waste material.

Australian government prepares “foreign interference” prosecutions

By Mike Head, 17 July 2018

Australia’s political establishment, under mounting pressure from Washington to take a more aggressive stand against China, is already selecting targets to test the new laws.

New Zealand foreign minister: “Great Power competition is back”

By John Braddock, 17 July 2018

Peters’ speech underscored the strengthening alliance between the Labour-led government and the US in confronting China across the Asia-Pacific.

SEP (Australia) holds Sydney meeting against new “foreign interference” laws

By our reporters, 17 July 2018

The Sydney meeting was the first public event held by an Australian political party against the anti-democratic legislation since it was rushed through parliament late last month.

Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) holds online health workers’ meeting

By our reporters, 17 July 2018

The SEG’s forum, which included New Zealand and Australian workers, discussed the political lessons of the July 12 strike by 30,000 nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives.

British and Ecuadorian authorities in talks to evict Julian Assange from London embassy

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 July 2018

Media reports point to the ongoing conspiracy, involving the British, US and Ecuadorian governments, to terminate Assange’s political asylum in violation of international law.

Australian royal commission reveals predatory bank lending to small businesses

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 July 2018

Testimony made clear that the banks routinely provided dubious loans that they knew small business owners and franchisees would have little chance of servicing.

In the name of combating foreign interference

Australia’s new secrecy laws block exposure of government crimes

By Mike Head, 14 July 2018

The government is seeking to prevent access to critical information that the public has the right to know.

Australia: Inquest into Dreamworld tragedy reveals health and safety violations

By Richard Phillips, 13 July 2018

A few months before the fatal October 2016 accident, company officials ordered staff to stop spending money on repairs and maintenance.

Australian lawyers association warns foreign interference laws violate rights to free speech

By Richard Phillips, 13 July 2018

“This type of regulation of civil society is a prominent feature of repressive regimes. It is not a feature of open democracies.”

Australia: Victorian bus drivers strike over wages and conditions

By our reporters, 13 July 2018

The Transport Workers Union has previously solicited donations from the bus company that it fraudulently claims to be leading a struggle against.

Australia’s new “foreign interference” laws: A threat to anti-war dissent

By Mike Head, 12 July 2018

The unprecedented laws were demanded by Washington as a model for legislation to demonise and suppress opposition to war, particularly against China.

Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) to hold online forum: The way forward for nurses and health workers

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 11 July 2018

The online meeting will discuss a socialist strategy to fight for decent and well-funded public health services, in opposition to the Labour Party-led government and the nurses’ union.

Ultra-nationalist US demagogue Stephen Bannon hails Australia’s new foreign interference laws

By James Cogan, 11 July 2018

The legislation is particularly admired by America’s far right, the Trump administration and the US military-intelligence establishment.

Nauru government bans ABC journalists ahead of Pacific summit

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 July 2018

Backed by the Australian government, Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, has established a virtual dictatorship.

New Zealand defence policy targets China, Russia

By John Braddock, 11 July 2018

In line with the US Trump administration, the NZ Labour-led government is preparing for war abroad and class war at home.

New Zealand nurses reject union-backed sellout, prepare nationwide strike

By Tom Peters, 10 July 2018

Nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives in public hospitals are preparing for a nationwide strike on Thursday, after rejecting a sellout offer recommended by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.

Amnesty International denounces Australia’s “foreign interference” laws

By Richard Phillips, 10 July 2018

“The core message from Amnesty International on these laws is that we will not be changing the way we operate.”

Australian unions’ bogus campaign over sacking of Longford maintenance workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 July 2018

The unions now claim to be leading a “struggle” in defence of the workers, having enforced the destruction of their jobs 12 months ago.

Australia’s foreign interference laws threaten whistleblowers and media freedom

By James Cogan, 9 July 2018

In 2010, Assange and WikiLeaks had committed no crime for informing millions about US war crimes. Today, under the new legislation, such courageous actions could attract a penalty of decades in jail.

Paramedic’s suicide points to crisis in Australian ambulance services

By John Mackay and Cheryl Crisp, 9 July 2018

Tony Jenkins, 54, took his own life following a meeting with senior management in the New South Wales Ambulance Service.

Following passage of “foreign interference” laws

Australia pushes Pacific Pact to combat China

By Mike Head, 7 July 2018

The two regional imperialist powers are seeking to shore up their dominance in the southwest Pacific, in partnership with the US.

Delhi Metro rail threatened with India’s essential services laws; New Zealand teachers vote in favour of strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

7 July 2018

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

Australian business heads warned not to criticise “foreign interference” laws

By Mike Head, 6 July 2018

In a sign of the government’s rush to enforce the new laws, they were given royal assent on June 29, just a day after being passed.

New Zealand nurses denounce union promotion of sellout deal

By Tom Peters, 6 July 2018

There is widespread anger as the nursing trade union tries to prevent a strike and impose an agreement that maintains low pay and hospital understaffing.

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.

Persecution of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange continues

By James Cogan, 5 July 2018

The US, British and Australian governments are utilising the Ecuadorian government to try and break Assange by denying him any external communication or visitors.

East Timorese government sworn in, instability escalates

By Patrick O’Connor, 5 July 2018

The new government confronts an escalating political and economic crisis, exacerbated by rising geo-political tensions and the efforts of the US and its allies to counter China’s influence.

Australian teenager sentenced to 12 years in prison on trumped-up terror charges

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 July 2018

The case is the latest in a series of high-profile “terror” prosecutions which have not revealed any specific terror attack or plan.

Australia: Prosecutors drop blackmail charges against construction union officials

By Terry Cook, 4 July 2018

The CFMMEU had worked to prevent the eruption of a struggle by construction workers against the laying of the criminal charges.

Outrage over union’s cancellation of New Zealand nurses’ strike

By Tom Peters, 3 July 2018

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation has cancelled one of two scheduled strikes and is seeking to impose a sell-out deal, virtually identical to that rejected by nurses and other health workers last month.

SEP to hold Brisbane meeting on new “foreign interference” laws: A move towards dictatorship and war

3 July 2018

The new legislation has been imposed amidst xenophobic hysteria in the parliament and the media over “Chinese influence” and “interference.”

Union tries to contain staff anger at Australia’s University of Newcastle

By John Harris, 3 July 2018

The NTEU is isolating the struggles of its members, university by university, against deepening attacks on their conditions and pay.

Australia: Biloela residents continue protests against deportation of Tamil refugee family

By Max Newman, 2 July 2018

A campaign by the people of a small rural Queensland town has brought to light the horrors of Australia’s anti-refugee regime.

Australian farmers testify to royal commission on predatory activities of banks

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 July 2018

Farmers gave evidence that the terms of their bank loans were changed without notice and that they were forced into near-destitution through foreclosures.

Thousands of West Bengal textile workers locked out; New Zealand nurses union cancels planned strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

30 June 2018

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

Anti-China “foreign interference” bills rammed through Australian parliament

By Mike Head, 29 June 2018

Totalling some 150 pages, the two bills constitute a far-reaching assault on fundamental legal and democratic rights.

Australian government pushes cuts to student loan scheme

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 June 2018

The Liberal-National government is seeking to force increasingly poverty-stricken young people to repay student debts.

New laws tabled in Australia to deploy troops to suppress domestic unrest

By Mike Head, 28 June 2018

The “war on terrorism” is again being exploited to expand powers to call out the military at home.

US Democratic senators demand eviction of Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy

By James Cogan, 28 June 2018

Leading Democratic senators, including Diane Feinstein and Mark Warner, have declared they are “extremely concerned about Ecuador providing asylum for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

Another suicide in Australian immigration prison camp

By Max Newman, 27 June 2018

A tragic death shows how desperate and vulnerable people are being deliberately subjected to inhuman conditions to deter others from seeking asylum in Australia.

New Zealand’s “First Baby” fuels media frenzy

By John Braddock, 27 June 2018

The orchestrated fawning over the “First Child” is designed to divert attention from the sharpening class struggle within New Zealand and increasing global turmoil.

Bipartisan bid to push through Australian “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 26 June 2018

The bills could be used to outlaw opposition to Australian involvement in any US-led military intervention, particularly a confrontation with China.

Australia: Toys ‘R’ Us closure to destroy 700 jobs

By Terry Cook, 26 June 2018

The chain’s liquidation underscores the parasitic role of private equity firms in collapses throughout the retail sector.

Report finds majority of Australian youth favour socialism

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 June 2018

The poll showed that the growing attraction to socialism is closely related to a rise of anti-capitalist sentiments.

Growing concern in Canberra over PNG links with China

By John Braddock, 25 June 2018

Claims of Chinese influence in Papua New Guinea are being ramped up ahead of November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Port Moresby.

Australia: Telstra announces another 9,500 job cuts

By Oscar Grenfell, 23 June 2018

The telecommunications company is seeking to impose one of the largest mass sackings in Australian corporate history.

State of emergency declared following unrest in Papua New Guinea

By John Braddock, 23 June 2018

Deepening austerity following last year’s discredited election is fuelling unrest and an explosive situation across the impoverished country.

Indian transport workers strike in Uttarakhand, 20,000 health workers continue indefinite walkout in Haryana state

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

23 June 2018

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

Australian Senate votes for huge tax cuts for wealthy

By Mike Head, 22 June 2018

The tax plans are designed to boost corporate profits and investors’ incomes under conditions of global turmoil and trade war.

New Zealand nurses reject third sellout deal, prepare to strike

By Tom Peters, 22 June 2018

The nurses’ union is desperately seeking to avoid two 24-hour strikes scheduled for next month.

“Julian fights for peace and defends democratic rights”

Watch: Workers at SEP rally in Sydney demand freedom for Julian Assange

By our reporters, 22 June 2018

Workers and young people who attended the SEP’s Sydney rally denounced the persecution of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange and demanded his immediate release.

Ecuadorian foreign minister warns that Julian Assange’s political asylum is “not forever”

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 June 2018

Valencia’s comments are another indication of a conspiracy to force the WikiLeaks editor out of the Ecuadorian embassy and into British and US custody.

Assange is being punished for exposing state secrecy and the reality of war

By Linda Tenenbaum, 21 June 2018

SEP national committee member Linda Tenenbaum told the Sydney rally that the event was to initiate an international movement in defence of Assange and basic democratic rights.

Educators internationally must stand up for Julian Assange

By Sue Phillips, 21 June 2018

Committee For Public Education national convenor Sue Phillips told the Sydney rally that the defence of Assange is intimately connected to the fight for the democratic and social rights of students, educators and the working class.

Staff at Australia’s Macquarie University vote for unified fight against government cuts

By our correspondent, 20 June 2018

The vote indicates the emergence of highly significant opposition to the decades-long betrayals of the trade unions.

Australian vigils held in defence of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 20 June 2018

Speaking in Melbourne, SEP national secretary James Cogan indicted the Australian political and media establishment for their attacks on Assange and called for a turn to the working class.

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.

The Turnbull government must act to repatriate Australian citizen Julian Assange to Australia

By James Cogan, 19 June 2018

This speech was delivered by James Cogan, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Australia, to a rally organised by the SEP in defence of Julian Assange last Sunday in Sydney.

Bringing Julian Assange Home

By John Pilger, 19 June 2018

Addressing last Sunday's SEP rally in Sydney, well-known filmmaker and documentarian, John Pilger exposed the role of Labor and Coalition governments, along with prominent journalists and editors in the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange.

More voices from the Sydney rally to free Julian Assange

By our reporters, 19 June 2018

“Freedom of thought and expression is what this kind of rally brings. They’re trying to make an example out of Assange to silence all of us.”

Union-management partnership at Australia’s Macquarie University will create “two-tier” workforce

By our correspondent, 18 June 2018

The NTEU is collaborating with management to introduce the “jobs families” plan that will force huge workloads onto 25 percent of teaching staff.

“We’re not asking Malcolm Turnbull to defend Assange, we are telling him!”

Watch: Rally to Free Julian Assange held in Sydney

18 June 2018

Hundreds of people participated in Sunday's demonstration in Sydney Town Hall Square to demand Julian Assange's safe return to Australia. The rally, organised by the Socialist Equality Party, featured speeches from SEP Australia national secretary James Cogan and independent journalist and filmmaker John Pilger.

Workers and young people speak out after Sydney rally to defend Julian Assange

By our reporters, 18 June 2018

“We need heroes like Assange to continue this work and tell us the truth.”

Australian government demands fast-track passage of anti-democratic “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 14 June 2018

The anti-China offensive sees a bipartisan front to ram through powers to crack down on political dissent.

A welcome development:

Actor Geoffrey Rush to return to stage with Melbourne Theatre Company

By Richard Phillips, 14 June 2018

Rush, the target of unsubstantiated allegations by Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, will play Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

Artists Tony Garnett, Davide Dormino and Costantino Ciervo demand freedom for Julian Assange

13 June 2018

Film and TV producer Tony Garnett said defending Julian Assange “is part of the fight for freedom, for the rights of the individual against state oppression.”