Australia and South Pacific

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.

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.

The Victorian teachers’ agreement and “performance pay”

What the Australian Education Union is suppressing

By David Cohen, 1 May 2017

The AEU’s claim that its deal with the Labor government is a blow against the “performance pay” regime and standardised testing is a fraud.

Australia: Growing opposition to sell-out agreement among Victorian teachers and support staff

By our reporters, 29 April 2017

Teachers from at least five schools have convened meetings to reject the agreement between the Australian Education Union and the Victorian state Labor government.

Australian Anzac Day celebrations promote militarism and war

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 April 2017

The celebrations of past conflicts were explicitly tied to Australia’s current involvement in predatory wars and military preparations.

Fiji Times publisher, editors charged with sedition

By John Braddock, 27 April 2017

The politically-motivated charges, alongside other anti-democratic measures, are bound up with deep-seated conflicts within the Fijian ruling elite.

Australian Socialist Alternative conference: In the service of imperialism

By our reporters, 26 April 2017

The gathering issued a full-throated defence of American imperialism and explicitly denounced any fight to build an anti-war movement of the working class.

Australian senator warns of war with China

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 April 2017

Nick Xenophon’s remarks last week made clear that Australia is on the frontlines of the US confrontation with China.

Thousands join March for Science demonstrations in Australia

By our reporters, 24 April 2017

In contrast to the concerns of protestors, rally organisers sought to sow illusions about pressuring governments to withdraw their attacks on science.

More warnings about the Australian housing market

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 April 2017

Credit ratings agencies have said the property market, built on a mountain of debt, is among the most susceptible in the world to an economic shock.

SEP (Australia) and IYSSE public meetings

Stop the drive to world war! For peace, equality and socialism!

22 April 2017

The meetings will outline the socialist and internationalist perspective required to prevent the descent of the global capitalist system into a catastrophic third world war.

Australia: After ABC program, Labor calls for investigation into One Nation

By Cheryl Crisp, 21 April 2017

The “Four Corners” program could signal a turn by the media and political establishment against Hanson and her right-wing party.

The political issues in the fight to reject the Victorian teachers’ EBA

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 21 April 2017

The most detrimental, long-term aspect of the workplace agreement is that it includes sweeping commitments by the teachers' union to enforce a “performance-ranking” system.

Turnbull government announces anti-immigrant “Australia first” policies

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 April 2017

The abolition of 457 visas for foreign workers and the tightening of citizenship requirements are aimed at diverting mounting social discontent in a xenophobic direction.

Papua New Guinea soldiers attack refugees in Australian-run prison camp

By Max Newman, 18 April 2017

At least three asylum seekers were injured by armed soldiers who assaulted the refugee detention centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

How the AEU is attempting to push through a sell-out of Victorian teachers

By Susan Allan, 17 April 2017

If the agreement is such a “significant gain” then why is there no framework or democratic process where teachers can discuss, debate, and seek clarification on its contents?

Australian worker challenges union-company wage-cutting deal

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 April 2017

The agreement struck between the SDA and Coles saved the supermarket giant tens of millions of dollars.

Australian academics witch-hunted for challenging US lies on Syria attack

By Mike Head, 14 April 2017

The media campaign, designed to silence public discussion about the latest US aggression, is a flagrant attack on the basic democratic right of free speech.

The Coming War on China: A pacifist appeal

By Richard Phillips, 14 April 2017

Pilger’s documentary exposes something of Washington’s escalating war plans against China but suggests that protests can prevent a nuclear conflagration.

Australian prime minister visits India to boost strategic ties

By Mike Head, 13 April 2017

The outcomes were in line with the ongoing push by Washington for US allies throughout the region to strengthen their military relations with each other.

Australia: Victorian teachers denounce union-backed agreement

By our reporters, 13 April 2017

The AEU has sought to suppress discussion of its latest sell-out, while falsely claiming it is a “victory” for teachers.

Australian pseudo-left promotes fraudulent posturing of new union head

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 April 2017

The pseudo-left have hailed the attempts by new ACTU head Sally McManus to rebuild the influence of the unions, in order to head-off mounting discontent.

Australia’s role in US plans for war on North Korea

By James Cogan, 12 April 2017

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has publicly endorsed Washington’s bellicose rhetoric against the Pyongyang regime.

Australian PM accused of interfering in Papua New Guinea election

By John Braddock, 12 April 2017

Turnbull’s trip was undoubtedly motivated by concern over Australia’s commercial and strategic interests.

Australian government revokes Palestinian activist’s visa

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 April 2017

The anti-democratic move is part of a broader campaign to suppress opposition to the escalating US-led war in the Middle East.

Australian workers and youth speak out against US strike on Syria

By our reporters, 10 April 2017

The anti-war sentiments of ordinary people stand in sharp contrast to the militarist positions of Labor, the Liberal-Nationals and the corporate media.

Australian establishment backs US strike on Syria

By James Cogan, 10 April 2017

The line-up behind Washington by the government and opposition Labor Party has been replicated across the media.

Mounting concerns over Australian housing bubble

By Oscar Grenfell, 8 April 2017

Underlying the fears of a crash is the divergence between soaring house prices and stagnant or declining incomes.

Papua New Guinea government intensifies military operations at ExxonMobil plant

By John Braddock, 7 April 2017

The police and military operation against villagers living near the ExxonMobil plant is aimed at suppressing increasingly explosive social unrest.

Australian flood crisis continues as questions mount over government preparations

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 April 2017

Governments at all levels have resisted calls for the construction of levees around the most flood-prone cities, on the grounds that they are too expensive.

Australian teachers’ agreement: The reality behind union “victory” claims

By Susan Allan, 6 April 2017

On every key issue the teachers’ union and the Victorian Labor government have worked together to entrench and deepen the assault on the public education system.

Australia: Labor and unions facilitate Hazelwood power station closure

By Frank Gaglioti, 5 April 2017

The shutdown will exacerbate the social crisis in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, which has already been hit by decades of job cuts in the energy sector.

Australian opposition parties block extradition treaty with China

By James Cogan, 3 April 2017

With shameless cynicism, China is labelled both a totalitarian state and a threat to the US-dominated global rules-based order.

East coast of Australia hit by catastrophic floods

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 April 2017

At least five people have perished in the disaster, with fears that the death toll will rise over the coming days.

Thousands of Australian asylum seekers face deportation

By Max Newman, 31 March 2017

Refugees living in limbo inside Australia have been given less than 60 days to complete visa applications.

Australian workers and youth speak out against Maruti Suzuki frame-up

By our reporters, 31 March 2017

Many of those who spoke to SEP campaigners signed the petition demanding the release of the victimised Indian car workers.

Australian Education Union agrees to sell-out deal with Victorian state Labor government

By Susan Allan, 30 March 2017

Teacher union claims of a “great win for our members” are a fraud.

China makes overtures amid strategic uncertainty in Australia

By James Cogan, 29 March 2017

Behind the scenes, frank exchanges undoubtedly occurred on Canberra’s stance towards growing tensions between China, its largest trading partner, and the US, its strategic ally.

Widespread damage after Cyclone Debbie batters north-east Australia

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 March 2017

The impact of the category four cyclone appears to have been exacerbated by houses not equipped to cope with a storm of that magnitude.

Australian government withdraws “omnibus” bill but cuts childcare

By Mike Head, 28 March 2017

Last week’s childcare package manoeuvre represents an intensification of the crisis of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government.

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.

Australia: Worker killed at Sydney harbour building site

By Virginia Browne, 27 March 2017

Twenty-nine workers, including 7 in the construction industry were killed in industrial accidents during the period between January 1-March 1 this year.

Beryl Hood: 29 November 1938–21 March 2017

By Mike Head, 25 March 2017

A Trotskyist for four decades, Comrade Beryl was a fine and steadfast representative of the most advanced layers of the working class, attracted, above all, to internationalism.

ANZAC Heroes: Promoting war to children

By Sam Price and Tom Peters, 24 March 2017

A New Zealand government-funded children’s book glorifies Australian and New Zealand involvement in World War I and II.

Report documents extent of US-Australia economic ties

By Nick Beams, 23 March 2017

A recent paper argues that any shift by Australia away from its foreign policy alignment with the US could have potentially dire economic consequences.

New Australian union head feigns concern for workers’ rights

By Will Morrow, 22 March 2017

McManus’s elevation is part of the unions’ preparations to try and divert rising working-class anger behind the return of a Labor government in 2019.

Australia: Education Department head calls for police in schools amid anti-Muslim witch-hunt

By our reporters, 21 March 2017

The media and government authorities are continuing to use unsubstantiated allegations of “Islamic extremism” in schools to whip-up an atmosphere of right-wing hysteria.

Australia’s energy crisis exposes market failure

By Mike Head, 21 March 2017

The privatised electricity market—dominated by profiteering power generation, distribution and retailing companies—is creating an economic and social disaster.

Australian Labor’s “self-managing schools,” seven years on

By Erika Zimmer, 21 March 2017

The devolution agenda is deepening the education gap between advantaged and disadvantaged, working class students, paving the way for US-style for-profit “charter schools.”

Former Australian ambassador calls for foreign policy turn toward China

By James Cogan, 20 March 2017

FitzGerald’s proposals reveal the impotence of the Australian ruling elite in the face of the decline in America’s global dominance.

Australian Labor Party and unions assist closure of Hazelwood power plant

By Paul Bartizan and Oscar Grenfell, 20 March 2017

The state Labor government’s union-backed worker transfer scheme will not defend a single job.

Foreign minister warns US to guarantee Australian interests

By James Cogan, 17 March 2017

Washington now looms as the greatest risk to Australian trade interests and the so-called rules-based order.

Australian media directs anti-Muslim witch-hunt at primary school children

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 March 2017

The hysterical campaign, alleging that 10-year-olds are dangerous Islamic “radicals,” is based entirely on the dubious claims of an anonymous woman whose comments are shot through with racism.

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.

Australian government imposes phonics test on six-year-olds

By David Cohen, 15 March 2017

The new measures are aimed at extending the impact of the former Labor government’s NAPLAN testing regime and further undermining public education.

Australian media witch-hunts school principal removed for opposing anti-radicalisation program

By our reporters, 14 March 2017

There is growing opposition among teachers, students and parents to the anti-democratic dismissal of the school principal, and the police spying programs that he allegedly opposed.

Trump hails Australia’s draconian immigration regime

By Max Newman, 13 March 2017

The “Australian model” combines cruelty toward refugees, with a “points-based” program that discriminates in favour of employers and the wealthy.

Huge anti-government swing in Western Australian election

By Mike Head, 13 March 2017

The result indicates an intensification of the political volatility that has ousted one government after another around the country over the past decade.

Australian union’s bogus campaign against penalty rate cut

By our reporters, 11 March 2017

The construction unions held rallies as part of an effort to channel workers’ anger behind the election of another pro-business Labor government.

Australian school principal removed for allegedly resisting “anti-radicalisation” program

By Mike Head, 9 March 2017

Under the government plan, teachers are required to become informants on their students.

Australia: Young workers speak out against penalty rate cuts

By our reporters, 9 March 2017

Many young people are already deprived of weekend penalty wages, as a result of company-union wage-cutting deals.

Australian maritime union signs 13-year no-strike pledge with energy multinational

By Oscar Grenfell, 8 March 2017

The union has promised to suppress industrial action at the Ichthys pipeline project in northern Australia.

Australian pseudo-left forum promotes nationalism

By Will Morrow, 7 March 2017

Speakers from Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance shared the platform with two academics, both of whom are avowed nationalists.

Australia: Three homeless people killed in arson attack

By Chris Sadlier, 7 March 2017

The tragedy is the outcome of growing unemployment and poverty, lack of affordable housing and inadequate welfare and mental health care facilities.

Australian government beset by turmoil

By Mike Head, 6 March 2017

The future of the Turnbull government is being increasingly called into question, reflecting a protracted crisis of the political establishment.

Australian government flags “foreign policy reset” in response to Trump

By James Cogan, 4 March 2017

The Trump administration’s “America First” agenda has produced consternation within the political and strategic establishment.

Discontent and political volatility dominate Western Australian election

By Mike Head, 4 March 2017

Because of Labor’s pro-business record, the WA election has become a testing ground for Pauline Hanson’s anti-immigrant One Nation party.

Australian growth up but wages fall

By Nick Beams, 3 March 2017

Australia’s gross domestic product rose by 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter but there are doubts such growth can be sustained.

Australian unions and Labor Party launch bogus campaign over penalty rate cuts

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 March 2017

The Labor politicians and trade union bureaucrats are the ones most responsible for this historic cut in penalty rates.

Rifts tearing Australian government apart

By Mike Head, 1 March 2017

The political brawling points to the immense popular disaffection with both the main establishment parties, the ruling Liberal-National Coalition and Labor.

Australian union pushes through pay cut at paper mill

By Chris Sadlier, 28 February 2017

The CFMEU did everything it could to bully the workforce into accepting a 5 percent pay cut and the establishment of a two-tier wage system.

Australia: SEP meetings discuss Trump, war and the political tasks facing workers and youth

By our correspondents, 28 February 2017

The meetings attracted university students, workers, professionals and retirees seeking in-depth discussion about the Trump presidency and the dangerous shift in world politics.