Democratic rights under attack in Australia

Australian Labor senator resigns amid anti-China witch-hunt

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 December 2017

Dastyari was denounced as a “double agent” for his dealings with Chinese businessmen in a McCarthyite campaign spearheaded by the establishment media and intelligence agencies.

Anti-China witch-hunt in Australia escalates

By Peter Symonds, 11 December 2017

The campaign is being driven by the Australian intelligence agencies—backed to the hilt by Washington—amid the growing danger of a US war against North Korea and China.

Australian workers, actors, filmmakers oppose the “trial by media” of Geoffrey Rush

By our reporters, 11 December 2017

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this kind of thing only happens to celebrities.”

Australian actor Geoffrey Rush fights back, suing Daily Telegraph for defamation

By Richard Phillips and Linda Tenenbaum, 9 December 2017

Many in the industry are deeply opposed to this new McCarthyism and they are starting to speak out.

Stephen Sewell denounces media witch-hunt against Geoffrey Rush

By Richard Phillips, 9 December 2017

The Australian screen writer, playwright and novelist draws out the dangerous political implications of the trial by media persecution of Geoffrey Rush.

China condemns Australian “anti-China hysteria and paranoia”

By Peter Symonds, 7 December 2017

The Chinese embassy statement followed the announcement of new legislation expanding treason and espionage laws and outlawing “foreign interference” in Australian politics.

Underpayment of international students and backpackers commonplace in Australia

By George Morley, 7 December 2017

Thousands of young people temporarily working in Australia are paid less than the official minimum wage and a small but significant minority work under slave-like conditions.

Australian government foreshadows draconian anti-foreign interference laws

By Peter Symonds, 6 December 2017

The new laws are aimed at criminalising anti-war opposition as Australia integrates into the US military build-up in Asia and its drive to war against North Korea and China.

Anti-China witch-hunt against Australian senator reveals extensive US-backed surveillance

By Mike Head, 5 December 2017

Extensive intelligence leaks are feeding a far-reaching media and political campaign, under pressure from Washington, to suppress alleged Chinese influence in Australia.

Acclaimed Australian actor Geoffrey Rush becomes the latest witch-hunt victim

By James Cogan, 2 December 2017

The Murdoch media is circulating unsubstantiated allegations, made by an unidentified individual, in an attempt to destroy Rush’s career.

Intelligence agency involved in latest Australian “terror” scare

By Richard Phillips, 2 December 2017

ASIO’s involvement raises questions about the long record of the police and intelligence agencies seeking to recruit and manipulate vulnerable young men.

Australian Greens use dual citizenship witch-hunt to cement right-wing credentials

By Oscar Grenfell, 23 November 2017

The Greens have been the chief proponents of a nationalist campaign in recent months demanding that parliamentarians hold “undivided allegiance” to the Australian state.

The global processes behind the parliamentary crisis in Australia

By James Cogan, 17 November 2017

The witch-hunt against “dual citizens” in parliament is part of a calculated attempt to create a war-time political atmosphere.

MP disqualification crisis engulfs Australian government

By Mike Head, 10 November 2017

A full-scale McCarthyite witch-hunt is underway, with every MP being required to prove their citizenship “purity.”

Australia: Thousands protest persecution of refugees on Manus Island

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 November 2017

Rally organisers sought to divert widespread anger over the dire plight of 600 refugees behind impotent appeals to the Coalition government, and support for Labor’s re-election.

Australian government starves refugees on Manus Island

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 November 2017

Contractors hired by the Liberal-National government emptied water tanks before leaving the facility Tuesday, while the Papua New Guinea navy is blocking emergency food deliveries.

More MPs face disqualification after Australian Senate president quits

By Mike Head, 2 November 2017

Parry’s resignation demonstrates that what has become, in effect, a nationalist purge of parliament, is far from over.

Refugees on Manus Island face catastrophe at hands of Australian detention regime

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 November 2017

Asylum seekers have been left without food, water and electricity, and face the prospect of an armed assault by Papua New Guinea police and military personnel.

Australian government orders police raids on union offices

By Mike Head, 26 October 2017

Australia increasingly resembles a police state, with well-publicized raids carried out in pursuit of unstated political aims.

Australian spy agency promotes anti-China witch-hunt

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 October 2017

ASIO’s allegation that “foreign powers” are seeking to influence “public opinion” will be used to crackdown on opposition to US plans for war with China.

The Australian marriage equality survey: An exercise in political division and diversion

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 19 October 2017

The aim of both the Coalition government and the Labor Party opposition is to institutionalise the treatment of same sex couples as second-class citizens.

Australian governments unveil sweeping new police powers

By Mike Head, 6 October 2017

The latest measures clearly extend far beyond combatting purported terrorist threats, and severely erode the civil liberties of the entire population.

Few refugees leave Australian detention camps under US “swap” deal

By Max Newman, 29 September 2017

About 50 heavily-vetted detainees out of more than 2,000 are being transferred to unknown US locations.

Australian government plans anti-democratic laws on pretext of Chinese “sub-espionage”

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 September 2017

The proposed legislation is aimed at criminalising opposition to the US-Australian plans for war against China.

Australian media targets universities in new anti-China campaign

By Oscar Grenfell, 23 September 2017

The corporate press is reviving hysterical accusations of “Chinese influence” in Australia, this time targeting university research projects and international students.

Australian government’s “media reform” boosts conglomerates

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 September 2017

The new legislation removes any, even nominal, impediment to the further concentration of media ownership within a handful of powerful corporations.

Australia: Turnbull government expands “cashless welfare card”

By Richard Phillips, 12 September 2017

The punitive social welfare system is part of an escalating bi-partisan assault on the most vulnerable sections of society.

Australian High Court sanctions deportations of Sri Lankan refugees

By Mike Head, 11 September 2017

The ruling is an indictment of the last Greens-backed Australian Labor government.

Australian High Court permits bogus postal vote on marriage equality

By Mike Head, 8 September 2017

The judges averted an immediate political crisis and gave the go-ahead for an unprecedented plebiscite on an elementary legal and democratic right.

Australian government strips asylum seekers of all housing and welfare payments

By Max Newman, 4 September 2017

The government’s actions have provoked widespread outrage, with thousands of people offering sanctuary to the refugees.

Turnbull government defends reported killing of Australian children in Syria

By Mike Head, 25 August 2017

If proven, it would be the first known case of the government facilitating the targeted assassination of Australian citizens since the “war on terrorism” was launched.

Australian High Court sanctions illegal detention of refugees in Papua New Guinea

By Max Newman and Mike Head, 24 August 2017

The judges rejected a challenge to incarceration on Manus Island despite the PNG Supreme Court last year ruling it was an unconstitutional deprivation of liberty.

Right-wing Australian senator stages anti-Muslim “stunt” in federal parliament

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 August 2017

Labor and Liberal-National MPs, who incessantly promote xenophobic nationalism, feigned moral outrage over Pauline Hanson entering parliament wearing a burka.

Another Australian cabinet minister faces disqualification

By Mike Head, 18 August 2017

A furore over dual citizenship of members of parliament is now throwing into doubt the survival of the Liberal-National Coalition government.

Australian deputy prime minister facing disqualification as dual citizen

By Mike Head, 15 August 2017

The loss of the deputy prime minister’s vote would leave the Liberal-National government without a majority in the House of Representatives.

An anti-democratic witch-hunt in Australia over dual citizenship

By Mike Head, 10 August 2017

Question marks are being placed over the basic democratic rights of millions of people who were born overseas or had a parent born overseas.

Charges against Australian “terror” suspects only raise new questions

By Mike Head, 5 August 2017

The laying of charges came as the government was increasingly under pressure to justify the police anti-terror raids and the subsequent turmoil created in Australian airports.

Contradictions mount in latest Australian terrorism scare

By Mike Head, 3 August 2017

The release of one of the detained men without charge raises further questions about lurid claims of a supposed “aeroplane plot.”

Government, media stoke fear following latest terrorist allegations in Australia

By Mike Head, 1 August 2017

If the men being held for interrogation are ultimately charged with conspiracy or other terrorist-related offences, it will be virtually impossible for them to receive a fair trial.

Terrorist plot allegedly prevented in Australia

By James Cogan, 31 July 2017

It is necessary for people to keep a grip on their critical faculties and their adherence to the fundamental democratic principle: innocent until proven guilty.

Australian government implements far-reaching restructure of intelligence agencies

By Mike Head, 31 July 2017

The state apparatus is being prepared to repress political disaffection over deepening social inequality, austerity and the drive to war.

Australian police kill mentally-ill man at Sydney’s main train station

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 July 2017

Police shot a suicidal individual four times in the head and chest, even though he was holding only a pair of scissors.

Murdoch media widens citizenship witch-hunt in Australian parliament

By Mike Head, 28 July 2017

The “MP fiasco” is intensifying the political instability produced by the growing collapse of popular support for the major parties.

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 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.

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.

Australian government ministers make last-minute apology in terrorism contempt case

By Mike Head, 1 July 2017

If the ministers had not retracted their comments, they could have been prosecuted for contempt of court, endangering the Turnbull government’s survival.

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.”

Australian prime minister ridicules Trump as a buffoon and Russian stooge

By James Cogan, 16 June 2017

Malcolm Turnbull wanted his resentment of, and contempt for, the American president made public.

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 state Labor government steps up punitive measures against youth

By Margaret Rees and Will Morrow, 12 June 2017

The Victorian government is attacking the rights of young people as part of a broader “law and order” campaign.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

US bombings in Syria and Afghanistan

A new stage in the repudiation of international law

By Mike Head, 29 April 2017

The ever-greater assertion of US militarism has brought humanity to the point where the rules of war are being nakedly flouted.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Australian state Labor government strengthens draconian anti-association laws

By Erin Cooke, 21 February 2017

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is revamping notorious laws that provide sweeping powers to the police and courts under the guise of combatting “bikie gangs.”

Australian stripped of citizenship, setting dangerous precedent

By Mike Head, 18 February 2017

By targeting Khaled Sharrouf, the government is continuing a pattern of using individuals demonised by the media to set legal precedents that threaten basic democratic rights.

Australian state Labor government threatens violence against detained youth

By Eric Ludlow and Patrick Kelly, 31 January 2017

Adult prison guards will be deployed to two youth detention centres as part of a crackdown on alleged child rioters.

Australian state Labor government announces unprecedented police buildup

By Kurt Brown and Patrick Kelly, 4 January 2017

An additional 3,100 police officers will be recruited, expanding the size of the force by 20 percent.

Australia’s “border protection” regime claims another victim

By Max Newman, 3 January 2017

Faysal Ishak Ahmed, a 27-year-old asylum seeker from Sudan, died after suffering a seizure and collapsing in an Australian-controlled detention centre.

Soaring prison populations highlight social crisis in Australia

By Robert Campion, 31 December 2016

There has been virtually no media coverage of the spiralling trend, because it raises serious questions about the rising level of social inequality.

Arms maker Lockheed Martin opens University of Melbourne research centre

By Eric Ludlow and Will Morrow, 30 December 2016

In recent years, Melbourne has been transformed into a regional hub for US and Australian military research and development.

Australia: Video reveals agonising death of Aboriginal woman in custody

By Zac Hambides, 29 December 2016

Although racism undoubtedly plays a role in the cruel treatment of indigenous people by the police, Dhu’s death points to the high rate of deaths for all prisoners.

Australian government exploits “Christmas terror plot”

By Will Morrow, 24 December 2016

Although the circumstances of the police raids remain unclear, the political establishment and media are using the events to foment an atmosphere of crisis.

Australian politician jailed in bid to restore “confidence” in political establishment

By Mike Head, 19 December 2016

While the media commentary surrounding Eddie Obeid’s jailing has focused narrowly on “corruption,” the public disaffection and political instability go far deeper.

Australia: Testimony details abuse in youth detention centres

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 December 2016

Royal commission evidence, including testimony by Dylan Voller, who was repeatedly assaulted, shows that youth detention abuses were the result of government policy.

Australia: Desperate refugee sets fire to himself in a bank

By Peter Byrne, 22 November 2016

Nur Islam, a young Rohingya man who fled Burma, was on a temporary bridging visa, which blocked basic social and political rights, including to work.

Australia: NSW government re-introduces public school inspectors to enforce unpopular measures

By Frank Gaglioti, 17 November 2016

Inspectors will police standardised testing on behalf of the New South Wales government, with powers to close schools and dismiss “underperforming” teachers.

Australian government mounts attack on Human Rights Commission

By Peter Symonds, 14 November 2016

The campaign is a cynical attempt to divert attention from the crisis within the government by launching a “freedom of speech” crusade against the Racial Discrimination Act.

Doctors demonstrate against Australian government’s refugee policies

By Zac Hambides, 10 November 2016

Protest organisers made futile appeals to the Turnbull government and Labor, the very agencies responsible for the escalating persecution of the asylum seekers.

Australia: Unions back cuts in working conditions at state broadcaster

By our reporters, 9 November 2016

Union support for the new Australian Broadcasting Corporation enterprise agreement opens the way for even deeper attacks on jobs and conditions.

Australia: Police break up Sydney College of the Arts occupation

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 November 2016

The growing use of police against campus protests is bound up with the transformation of universities into for-profit entities reliant on corporate funds and with close ties to the state.

Queensland university case shows divisive agenda behind Australian “racial discrimination” law

By Mike Head, 28 October 2016

As universities have suffered punishing cuts, there has been a growth of facilities reserved for particular groups of students, defined in terms of race, gender or sexual preference.

UN committee condemns Australia’s Nauru refugee camp

By Max Newman, 19 October 2016

The Committee on the Rights of the Child described the treatment of children in the Australian-controlled detention centre as “inhumane and degrading.”

Amnesty report: Australian government running torture detention on Nauru

By Nick Beams, 18 October 2016

Efforts by Australian politicians to sell their detention model have helped create the conditions where governments around the world are regularly in breach of international law.

Australian government seeks to gag top legal official

By Mike Head, 15 October 2016

By silencing the solicitor-general, the government is seeking to free itself of any constitutional or legal constraint.

Australia: Arrest of two boys used to ramp up terrorism scare campaign

By Mike Head, 14 October 2016

Broadcasting vague and unsubstantiated police accusations has been taken to new depths with prejudicial allegations against two 16-year-olds.

New Australian “anti-terror” laws overturn basic legal rights

By Mike Head, 23 September 2016

The political establishment is moving, as a matter of high priority, to bolster the repressive police-intelligence apparatus.

Australian political establishment embraces Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

By Mike Head, 16 September 2016

Hanson’s first Senate speech, which was given wall-to-wall media coverage, focused on vilifying Muslims, China and welfare recipients.

Australian government exploits attack by mentally-ill man to whip up terrorism scare

By Mike Head, 12 September 2016

Prime Minister Turnbull equated the stabbing incident to the 9/11 mass terrorist attacks in the US, which were used to proclaim an endless “war on terror.”

Turnbull government expands Australian military powers at home and abroad

By our correspondent, 12 September 2016

The twin measures underscore the close connection between escalating militarism and domestic police-military repression.

Latest Australian “terrorism” arrests set dangerous precedents

By Mike Head, 16 August 2016

Amid rising social and class tensions, the “anti-terrorism” powers are being prepared for use against the working class.

Australia: Top police claim no operational role in Sydney siege

By Richard Phillips, 9 August 2016

This self-serving assertion is part of ongoing efforts at the coroner’s inquest to prevent any exposure of the official lies about the “ISIS terror attack.”

Systemic abuses in Australia’s juvenile prisons: The class issues

By Mike Head, 4 August 2016

Concerted efforts are being made to divert the outrage over the Northern Territory abuses behind claims that the violence can be attributed solely to racism.

Australian government appoints indigenous bureaucrat to juvenile detention inquiry

By Mike Head, 2 August 2016

The revamp is a bid to head off the widespread hostility to the royal commission by putting an Aboriginal face on the inquiry, whose assigned task is to whitewash the abuses.

Protests denounce violent abuses in Australian juvenile jails

By our reporters, 1 August 2016

Rally organisers, from Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, channeled the deeply-felt anger and disgust into divisive black nationalism.

Australian youth and workers speak out against torture of juvenile prisoners

By our correspondents, 1 August 2016

Rally participants interviewed by the WSWS voiced disgust at the abuse revelations and hostility to the proposed royal commission, saying it was another official coverup.

Bipartisan backing in Australia for indefinite detention of “terrorist” prisoners

By Mike Head, 28 July 2016

Turnbull’s unstable government has quickly seized on recent terrorist attacks in Europe, the Middle East and the US as a pretext for further police-state measures.

Children systematically abused in Australian juvenile prison

By Terry Cook, 27 July 2016

There is widespread outrage over the revelations, which include footage similar to the images of hooding and torture that emerged from the US-run Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq

Australian corporate chief suggests a “dictator” to resolve political crisis

By Patrick Kelly, 5 July 2016

Gerry Harvey’s remarks express widespread hostility within ruling circles towards democratic forms of rule.