Oceania

Unanswered questions as Australian flood inquiry ends first stage

By Richard Phillips, 11 June 2011

Testimony from flood victims has exposed the lack of official warnings and inadequate emergency responses, but the systemic causes of this year’s flood disaster in Queensland have yet to be addressed.

Sharp GDP downturn reveals fragility of Australian economy

By Mike Head, 9 June 2011

The fall in Australian gross domestic product was the largest quarterly reversal since the recession of 1991.

Socialist Equality Party conferences in Australia:

The Failure of Capitalism and the Fight for Socialism Today

Sydney: August 20-21 • Melbourne: August 27-28

8 June 2011

The SEP is holding weekend conferences in Sydney and Melbourne in August to discuss the global economic and political crisis and its impact in Australia, and the building of a new, independent political movement of the working class based on an internationalist and socialist perspective.

Australian prime minister in love fest with mining moguls

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 June 2011

Julia Gillard’s speech to the parliamentary dinner for the Minerals Council of Australia recalled her obsequious and grovelling address to the US Congress earlier in the year.

Australia: NSW government seeks direct power to cut public sector wages

By Terry Cook, 3 June 2011

Premier Barry O’Farrell’s government is moving quickly to cut real wages, slash public spending and privatise more state-owned assets to satisfy the demands of the financial markets.

Union betrays nine-week Australian PPG paint workers’ strike

By Margaret Rees, 1 June 2011

The union delivered all the central demands of the US-based company, including the introduction of a two-tier wage system.

Australian government expands spy agency’s powers

By Mike Head, 1 June 2011

ASIO will have the power to monitor anyone overseas, who is considered a threat to “national economic well-being,” “security” or “foreign relations.”

Three men jailed over Tongan ferry disaster

By Tom Peters, 30 May 2011

The trial was a blatant act of scapegoating to cover up the failure to address the government’s role in the sinking.

Australian waterfront union capitulates, calling off industrial action

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 May 2011

The MUA’s capitulation underscores its determination to entrench itself as the enforcer of restructuring measures and productivity speed-ups on the docks.

WikiLeaks cables reveal Chinese vice president’s secret visit to Fiji, in defiance of Australia

By Robert Morgan, 27 May 2011

Beijing told Canberra the 2009 flight to Fiji was a mere “transit” stopover, en route to Latin America, but Vice President Xi Jinping then spent two days meeting with senior junta members.

Split erupts within Fijian military regime

By Frank Gaglioti and Patrick O’Connor, 25 May 2011

Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Mara has coupled his demand for “regime change” with an appeal to Australia and New Zealand to intervene.

Australia: Union enforces job cuts at Fairfax Media

By Terry Cook, 24 May 2011

Thanks to the collaboration of the union, Fairfax Media will now proceed with impunity to outsource sub-editing at its mast-head publications, the Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

Bitter leadership rivalries re-emerge within Australian opposition

By Patrick O’Connor, 23 May 2011

Internecine feuding has erupted amid heightened scrutiny by sections of business and the media of opposition leader Abbott’s credentials as alternative prime minister.

Australian government denies basic rights to refugees

By Will Morrow, 21 May 2011

In a flagrant breach of international law, authorities have locked up newly-arrived asylum seekers, refused to process their refugee applications and are preparing to deport them to other countries.

Mining boom shatters myth of “Australian exceptionalism”

By James Cogan, 20 May 2011

The very growth of commodity exports and the rise of the Australian dollar have created the economic pressures for an offensive against the living standards of workers.

New “super bug” threatens Australian hospitals

By John Mackay, 19 May 2011

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

Australian government shifts to corporate-controlled job “training”

By Mike Head, 19 May 2011

Labor’s budget scrapped existing school- and institute-based programs to make way for training courses run by employers and designed to meet their short-term profit needs.

Australia: Union prepares sell-out of PPG paint workers

By Margaret Rees and Patrick O’Connor, 18 May 2011

The company and the union have agreed to a new two-tier wage regime under which new hires will be paid 43 percent less than the existing workforce.

PPG workers speak to the World Socialist Web Site

By our reporters, 18 May 2011

“If we accept the two-tier wage system we’re going to start a chain reaction for other companies.”

Australian government budget cuts welfare

By Alex Messenger, 17 May 2011

Labor’s measures have one goal: to force welfare recipients to compete for poorly-paid jobs and create a cheap labour pool to drive down wages.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge protest: an insight into the level of social frustration

By James Cogan, 16 May 2011

The dominant reaction was curiosity, sympathy and even solidarity with the lone protester.

New Zealand SAS troops implicated in Afghan war crimes

By John Braddock, 16 May 2011

An investigation provided damning evidence that the elite force is complicit in human rights abuses, with successive governments, including Labour, covering them up.

Australian budget debate highlights deepening political crisis

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 May 2011

In the face of widespread hostility among ordinary people, neither of the major parties has proved capable of meeting the demands of finance capital for savage austerity measures, like those being implemented in Europe and the US.

Australia: Chaotic official response during Queensland flood emergency

By Richard Phillips, 13 May 2011

Flood inquiry testimony from flood victims and emergency rescue workers shows that thousands were left to fend for themselves.

Australia: Fairfax Media demands far-reaching job cuts

By Terry Cook, 11 May 2011

With the assistance of the trade unions, one of Australia’s largest media groups is pushing ahead with plans to axe 350 sub-editing and printing jobs in a desperate bid for financial survival.

Australian Labor government’s budget targets welfare recipients

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 May 2011

The central premise of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s first budget—that the mining boom will generate prosperity and enable millions of ordinary people to “share the benefits” —is an utter fraud.

Soaring dollar adds to Australian Labor government crisis

By James Cogan, 7 May 2011

On the eve of its first budget, the Gillard Labor government faces a soaring Australian dollar, corporate dissatisfaction with its policy agenda and early signs that bitter class conflict is about to erupt.

Worker killed in New Zealand tornado

By John Braddock, 5 May 2011

Tuesday’s twister ripped roofs off houses, shopping malls and commercial buildings in Auckland’s northern suburbs.

Australia: Business demands more cutbacks after Victorian state budget

By Patrick O’Connor, 5 May 2011

The reaction to the Victorian budget, coming a week before the federal Labor government unveils its own budget spending cuts, underscores the clamour within Australian ruling circles for austerity measures targeting the working class.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

30 April 2011

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Australia: Queensland flood inquiry exposes inadequate emergency services

By Richard Phillips, 29 April 2011

The inquiry is a mechanism to allow survivors to vent their frustration, while ensuring that the government and corporate interests responsible for the social catastrophe remain largely untouched.

Australian PM tours North East Asia as mouthpiece for Washington

By Peter Symonds, 28 April 2011

While publicly emphasising economic issues, Gillard’s unmistakeable message was that her government was an unswerving American ally.

Guantánamo dossiers confirm Australian government criminality

By James Cogan, 28 April 2011

The WikiLeaks dossiers add weight to the demand for the prosecution of senior members of the Howard government for their collaboration with the illegal imprisonment and torture of Australian citizens.

Australian Labor government crisis deepens over carbon tax

By Patrick O’Connor, 27 April 2011

The government’s key constituency—finance capital and big business—has expressed growing reservations over the tax, while powerful sectional corporate interests, such as the mining giants, are campaigning for billions more in “compensation”.

Australian government announces new laws to punish refugees

By Will Morrow, 27 April 2011

The amendments will introduce new temporary protection visas and pave the way for the deportation of refugees who join protests inside Australia’s detention centres.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

23 April 2011

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

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

16 April 2011

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

In blow to Australian government:

High Court agrees to hear Julian Moti appeal

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 April 2011

The former Solomon Islands’ attorney general won an important victory yesterday in his ongoing battle against the Australian government’s efforts to open a politically motivated criminal trial, based on trumped up statutory rape allegations.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

9 April 2011

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

South Pacific countries defy Australian government and back Fijian military regime

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 April 2011

Canberra’s strategy of shoring up its control over the South Pacific by forcing the military to return Fiji to civilian rule now lies in tatters.

Amid in-fighting over state electoral defeat:

Australian Labor Party installs new leader in NSW

By James Cogan, 2 April 2011

The days since the election have witnessed an outpouring of public recriminations in the ALP.

Australian government imposes new punitive measures on the unemployed

By Will Morrow, 1 April 2011

Labor’s Job Seeker Compliance Bill is designed to give employers greater access to supplies of low-cost labour.

Gillard sets out the road to pain

By Nick Beams, 1 April 2011

The official title of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s inaugural Gough Whitlam Oration delivered at the University of Western Sydney last night was Walking the Reform Road. A more appropriate one might have been The Path to Pain.

New Australian state government declares budget “black hole”

By James Cogan, 29 March 2011

The only surprising aspect of O’Farrell’s announcement was how rapidly and blatantly it was made.

“I don’t think anyone really represents the people”

NSW voters speak out against Labor—Part two

By our reporters, 29 March 2011

Those interviewed bluntly rejected Australian government and media claims that the attack on Libya was motivated by democratic or humanitarian concerns.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

26 March 2011

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

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

19 March 2011

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

SEP candidate Carolyn Kennett exposes Labor and Greens at Auburn forum

By our correspondent, 16 March 2011

The Auburn candidates’ forum demonstrated that the SEP is the only party representing and articulating the independent interests of the working class.

An exchange with the Greens

By Richard Phillips, 15 March 2011

SEP candidate responds to a letter from the Greens candidate for Bankstown.

NSW state election: SEP campaigners in Marrickville find growing distrust of Greens

By an SEP reporting team, 14 March 2011

In their discussions with residents, SEP candidate James Cogan and supporters have found a growing realisation that behind the seemingly progressive rhetoric of the Greens is a deeply anti-working class agenda.

Australia: Private equity group closes bookstores and axes hundreds of jobs

By Max Newman and Terry Cook, 14 March 2011

REDgroup, a private equity-owned company that became the largest book retailer in Australia and New Zealand, has gone into administration, threatening 3,500 jobs.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

12 March 2011

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

Australian economy at risk as Asian bubble reaches bursting point

By Alex Messenger, 11 March 2011

Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin has warned that the Australian economy faces a sharp crisis.

New Zealand: Growing anger over inadequate earthquake relief

By Tom Peters, 10 March 2011

Thousands of Christchurch residents have received little or no government assistance since the city was hit by last month’s earthquake.

Christchurch residents denounce lack of basic services

By our correspondents, 10 March 2011

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to residents in Christchurch’s hard-hit eastern suburbs about the government’s response to the city’s devastating earthquake.

Australian leader addresses US Congress: Obsequiousness in the service of anti-China aggression

By Patrick O’Connor, 10 March 2011

Gillard delivered an unambiguous message—the Australian Labor government will unconditionally stand with Washington as it aggressively confronts China in the Asia-Pacific.

Australia: Gillard government’s laws used to shut down strike by desalination workers

By Margaret Rees, 10 March 2011

Construction workers walked off a major water desalination plant near Melbourne and were immediately threatened with massive fines under the Labor government’s anti-strike laws.

Labor exempts controversial Sydney harbour project from environmental laws

By Richard Phillips and SEP candidate for Bankstown, 9 March 2011

By approving the Barangaroo plan, the 16-year-old Labor government has remained, to its dying day, a servant of the property developers.

After meeting with Obama, Australian PM declares “enthusiasm” for Washington’s anti-China cordon

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 March 2011

Gillard has recklessly committed Australia to any US war against China, without any public discussion on the issue.

Australia: Insurers delay or deny claims of Queensland flood victims

“The power these companies have is really frightening”

By Terry Cook, 8 March 2011

Thousands of Queensland flood survivors continue to live in dire circumstances.

Australian government calls for air strikes on Gaddafi forces

By James Cogan, 7 March 2011

Speaking in Israel yesterday, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd again demanded that the UN Security Council impose a “no-fly zone” over Libya.

Australian media promotes right-wing “people’s revolt” against Labor government’s carbon tax

By Patrick O’Connor, 5 March 2011

The increasingly frenzied campaign being waged by the opposition Liberal-National parties against the Labor government’s proposed carbon tax is being used by sections of the media to engineer a further shift to the right in official Australian politics.

SEP candidate exposes hypocrisy of Labor and the Greens at election forum

By our correspondents, 4 March 2011

The lively candidates’ forum was a revealing display of the collapse of Labor’s support in the working class.

Support the Socialist Equality Party in the NSW state election!

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia)

3 March 2011

The SEP advances a socialist and internationalist program to fight for the interests of the working class.

SEP election meetings in New South Wales

Egypt and the return of revolutionary struggles

3 March 2011

The Socialist Equality Party is holding election campaign meetings on the significance and implications of the return of open class struggle to the centre stage of history.

Call for “national unity” following New Zealand earthquake

By John Braddock, 2 March 2011

Prime Minister Key is seeking to divert attention away from where culpability lies for the extent of loss of life, injury and devastation.

Australian Labor Party in its death throes

By Richard Phillips, 2 March 2011

The Labor leadership is desperately attempting to revive its decaying organisation after a new report revealed that the party faces collapse.

Australia: Labor keeps 900 refugees in detention pending spy agency reports

By Alex Messenger, 1 March 2011

For months, the Gillard Labor government suppressed these statistics, fearing renewed public opposition to its anti-refugee measures.

Australian Labor government stakes pro-business credentials on new carbon tax

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 February 2011

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced she will introduce a carbon tax before July 2012, staking her political credibility on pushing it through the hung parliament.

Twenty-third Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan

By John Roberts, 28 February 2011

The Labor government greeted the death of two Australian soldiers in Afghanistan this month with further statements of unwavering commitment to the deeply unpopular war.

Death toll rises to 145 in New Zealand earthquake

By Tom Peters, 26 February 2011

While the number killed in the Christchurch disaster continues to climb many vulnerable people have received little or no assistance.

Australian union leader stokes anti-Chinese chauvinism as he launches protectionist campaign

By Terry Cook, 25 February 2011

Anti-Chinese chauvinism dominates Australian Workers Union national conference.

Video: Queensland floods—Goodna residents speak out

By Richard Phillips, 25 February 2011

Residents explain flood damage to their homes on January 13 and their frustrations over the refusal of insurance companies to pay out claims.

Greens back Australian government’s cost-cutting floods package

By Mike Head, 25 February 2011

By reaching an agreement with the government to vote for the package, the Greens underscored their determination to bolster the minority government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and assist it to deliver further sweeping cuts in the May budget.

Tasmania’s Labor-Green coalition government threatens to axe 10 percent of public sector jobs

By Oliver Campbell, 24 February 2011

In percentage terms, the cuts announced by Premier Lara Giddings are on the same scale as the sweeping austerity measures being carried out by governments across Europe.

Christchurch earthquake likely to be New Zealand’s worst natural disaster

By John Braddock, 24 February 2011

The devastation that laid waste to Christchurch has increased over the past 24 hours

Australia: Qantas pilots vote for industrial action to defend jobs

By Terry Cook, 23 February 2011

In a bid to fight the company’s aggressive cost-cutting, Qantas pilots have authorised their union to organise industrial action to insert a job security clause in a new enterprise agreement.

Another earthquake devastates New Zealand’s second largest city

By John Braddock, 23 February 2011

Yesterday’s earthquake in Christchurch was the second disaster to hit the city within five months.

Australia: Mining giants post record profits, on top of tax victory

By Mike Head, 22 February 2011

BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata—three of the largest global mining companies—have reported a combined annual profit of almost $43 billion.

Broadmeadows by-election highlights growing hostility towards Australian Labor Party

By our correspondents, 22 February 2011

Over the past decade, the Labor Party has seen its vote decline by more than 20 percentage points in Melbourne’s working class northern suburbs.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denounces Australian Labor government

By Richard Phillips, 19 February 2011

Assange said the Gillard government was deeply involved in Washington’s campaign against him and would “give the United States everything it wants”.

Vote 1 for Peter Byrne, Socialist Equality Party candidate for Broadmeadows

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 18 February 2011

The Socialist Equality Party calls on all workers, youth and students to vote for our candidate Peter Byrne in the Broadmeadows by-election in Victoria on Saturday.

Australian government hypocrisy over refugee funerals

By Zac Hambides, 17 February 2011

The Gillard government organised burial services in Sydney for eight of the victims of the December 15 disaster, in which up to 50 asylum seekers died after their boat crashed on remote Christmas Island.

Socialist Equality Party speaks to workers in Broadmeadows by-election

By our correspondents, 17 February 2011

The SEP has won important support from workers, the unemployed, and young people in the Broadmeadows by-election campaign being held in Victoria.

Victorian government releases another whitewash of Tullamarine toxic dump hazard

By Peter Byrne and SEP candidate for Broadmeadows, 16 February 2011

The Environment Protection Agency has released another report which finds that no health hazard exists near a former toxic dump in the northern Melbourne suburb of Tullamarine.

Solomon Islands government accuses Canberra of destabilisation drive

By Patrick O’Connor, 12 February 2011

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Danny Philip has accused the Australian Labor government of plotting to bring down his government.

Video: Queensland floods: “They totally destroyed anything I could salvage”

On the spot report from Queensland

By Terry Cook and Oliver Campbell, 8 February 2011

Grantham motor mechanic Ray Van Dijk explains how the “flood recovery” operation destroyed valuable property of several local residents.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

5 February 2011

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

Video: Queensland floods: “It's all about the corporate dollar”

Part 2 of an interview with Marty Warburton in Grantham

By Richard Phillips, 5 February 2011

Grantham service station owner condemns the inadequate government response to the flood disaster.

Australia: Grantham—a community devastated

On-the-spot report from Queensland

By Richard Phillips, 4 February 2011

While the clean-up has removed some of the debris, evidence of the flood disaster was everywhere—wrecked homes, twisted cars, refrigerators, bathtubs, and mud-caked mobile phones.

Video: Queensland floods: “The government left us for dead”

Part 1 of an interview with Marty Warburton in Grantham

By Richard Phillips, 4 February 2011

Grantham petrol station owner Marty Warburton explains the terrifying flash-flooding that engulfed the small Queensland community in January.

Australian cyclone contributes to renewed flooding in Victoria

By Margaret Rees, 4 February 2011

Inundation is continuing to threaten towns, communities and farms in northern Victoria, as evidence emerges of government failures.

Australia: Report leaves unanswered questions on refugee deaths

By Zac Hambides, 4 February 2011

The findings of an Australian Customs inquiry have been used by the Gillard government to absolve itself of any responsibility for the deaths of up to 50 refugees on December 15.

SEP Australia public meeting: The Egyptian Revolution and its political implications

4 February 2011

The SEP is holding a public meeting in Sydney on February 11 to discuss the historic significance of the revolutionary upheaval taking place in Egypt.

Opposition emerges to Australian government’s flood tax package

By Mike Head, 2 February 2011

Amid developing opposition to the Gillard government’s flood levy, editorials have urged Labor to exploit the flood crisis to make even deeper cuts to government spending.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

29 January 2011

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

Serious floods threaten thousands in Australia’s third largest city

By Mike Head, 12 January 2011

Continuing heavy rain from a La Niña weather pattern has led to warnings that the inundation will exceed the destructive floods that submerged Brisbane during a similar weather pattern in 1974.

Australia: Commodity prices soar as Queensland becomes “inland sea”

By Alex Messenger, 12 January 2011

The economic cost of the Queensland flood disaster is impacting on coal, wheat, sugar, and cotton prices internationally.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

8 January 2011

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

Julian Moti prepares High Court challenge to Australian government’s politically motivated charges

By Patrick O’Connor, 8 January 2011

Former Solomon Islands’ Attorney General Julian Moti is preparing a High Court challenge to the Australian government’s politically motivated attempt to prosecute him on statutory rape charges.