Australia and South Pacific

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.

SEP meeting attendees speak on Trump and the threat of war

By our reporters, 28 February 2017

Workers and young people who attended the meetings spoke about the dangers of a nuclear conflict, the developing political radicalization in the US and internationally, and the need for a socialist movement of the working class.

Netanyahu receives effusive official welcome in Australia

By Mike Head, 27 February 2017

The Australian government and financial elite feted Netanyahu, whose government is accelerating illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Australian youth pushed into unpaid “work experience”

By Robert Campion, 27 February 2017

Almost 60 percent of young people have been compelled to do unpaid labour, amid mounting unemployment and job insecurity.

Ongoing investment plunge in Australia

By Mike Head, 25 February 2017

The slump has serious implications for jobs, economic growth and the government’s large budget deficit.

Australian industrial tribunal slashes workers’ wages

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 February 2017

Low-paid workers face pay cuts of thousands of dollars a year following the Fair Work Commission’s ruling.

US officials accuse China of building missile bases in South China Sea

By Mike Head, 23 February 2017

Media reports have declared the latest claims to be “an early test of US President Donald Trump.”

Australian tabloid vilifies Muslim immigrants and welfare recipients

By Max Newman, 23 February 2017

Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph is witch-hunting Muslim immigrants, claiming that they are “piling on the dole queue.”

Australian governments’ decade-long cultural wrecking operation

By Richard Phillips and Linda Tenenbaum, 22 February 2017

Today, the ruling elites regard genuinely critical and creative voices with suspicion or outright hostility.

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.”

The election of Donald Trump, the danger of war and the political tasks facing young people

By International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Australia), 20 February 2017

As the Australian university year begins, students confront a drastically changed world, where an extreme right-wing administration has come into office in the United States.

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 housing among the world’s most unaffordable

By John Harris, 17 February 2017

Soaring housing prices are causing widespread financial stress and social hardship, especially for young people.

Australian government faces deep budget crisis

By Mike Head, 16 February 2017

Over the past decade, it has become increasingly difficult for any government to push through parliament the brutal measures demanded by the corporate elite.

Australian government in disarray over vote-swapping deal with One Nation

By Mike Head, 15 February 2017

The political crisis not only raises the prospect of a split in the federal government but points to the widespread popular disaffection wracking the entire parliamentary establishment.

Australian disability workers strike against privatisation

By our reporters, 15 February 2017

Union officials sought to divert the widespread anger into impotent appeals to the state Coalition government, while promoting the opposition Labor Party.

Australian government uses investment collapse to push Trump-style corporate tax cuts

By Mike Head, 14 February 2017

Under intense pressure from the financial markets, the Turnbull government is seeking to slash social spending to enable cuts to business taxes.

Australian Paper workers voting on union wage-cutting deal

By our reporters, 13 February 2017

The CFMEU is seeking to suppress opposition to the agreement, which cuts wages by 5 percent and creates a new tier of lower-paid workers.

Australian government reintroduces sweeping welfare cuts

By Mike Head, 11 February 2017

By resuscitating previously blocked budget cuts, Turnbull’s government is intensifying the assault on welfare entitlements.

Australia to bankroll 2018 APEC summit in Papua New Guinea

By John Braddock, 10 February 2017

Security and defence analysts claim that if the summit is jeopardised, China will take advantage at the expense of Canberra and Washington.

Australian government welfare staff may strike over pay dispute and “debt recovery”

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 February 2017

The public sector union is seeking to channel workers behind impotent appeals to the government.

Chinese foreign minister warns against war with the US

By Peter Symonds, 9 February 2017

Trump’s top adviser Steve Bannon declared last March there was “no doubt” that the US would go to war with China over the South China Sea in “five to ten years.”

Right-wing senator’s defection intensifies rifts in Australian government

By Mike Head, 9 February 2017

While Bernardi’s split is not, by itself, an immediate threat to the ruling Coalition’s one-seat majority in the lower house, it points to broader processes tearing apart the government.

Pro-Trump Australian senator splits from Coalition government

By James Cogan, 7 February 2017

In Bernardi’s resignation statement, he highlighted the deepening crisis of the two-party political establishment.

Australian protesters speak on war dangers and Trump immigration ban

By our reporters, 6 February 2017

Protesters were animated by opposition to the persecution of refugees, the eruption of militarism and war and the growth of far-right movements around the world.

Australian coalition government faces defections

By Mike Head, 6 February 2017

The ruling Liberal-National Coalition is riven with divisions on foreign and domestic policy that have only been intensified by the advent of the Trump administration.

Trump browbeats Australian “ally”

By Mike Head, 4 February 2017

Just two weeks in office, Trump’s aggressive “America First” economic nationalism and militarism are sending political shockwaves around the world.

Australian prime minister’s speech points to growing political crisis

By Mike Head, 4 February 2017

Donald Trump’s election as US president has sent shockwaves through the parliamentary elite and accelerated the global turn to trade war and war.

Trump dresses down Australian prime minister

By Mike Head, 3 February 2017

Trump’s bullying treatment of Turnbull has thrown the Australian government and the media into turmoil.

Australian Greens put forward nationalist trap for anti-Trump sentiment

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 February 2017

The Greens are cynically invoking Trump’s immigration ban to advocate a more “independent” foreign policy for the Australian ruling elite.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation seeks power in Australian states

By Mike Head, 2 February 2017

Hanson is cynically exploiting the widespread political disaffection with the establishment parties which are responsible for making deep inroads into the living standards of working people.

Recriminations in Australian Greens threaten split

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 February 2017

Sections of the Greens are calling for an anti-establishment posture, in order to prevent the party being bypassed by a developing movement of workers and young people.

Australian prime minister defends Trump’s anti-immigrant bans

By Mike Head, 31 January 2017

In the face of global outrage over Trump’s measures, Turnbull undertook to strengthen relations with the new US administration.

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 college closure highlights sham practices in private education sector

By Robert Campion, 30 January 2017

Profit-making colleges with dubious records have received millions of dollars in public funding under a scheme introduced by the former Labor government.

Industrial court endorses sacking of Australian miners after union betrayal

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 January 2017

The ruling was one of a series of interventions by the Fair Work Commission into industrial disputes that underscore its role as an apparatus of the corporate elite.

Trump threats on South China Sea heighten risk of nuclear war

By Peter Symonds, 25 January 2017

The only means of barring China from access to its islets in the South China Sea is a naval and air blockade, an act of war.

Australian government defies public outcry on welfare debt assault

By Margaret Rees, 25 January 2017

Despite leaks of damning information by public sector workers, the Turnbull government is ratchetting up its attack on welfare recipients.

Australian state government’s “law and order” response to Melbourne car killings

By Patrick Kelly, 24 January 2017

While unable to connect the Bourke Street incident to the bogus “war on terror,” the Victorian Labor government has used it to prepare far more stringent bail laws.

Australia: Parmalat lockout in bid to slash conditions

By Will Morrow, 24 January 2017

The lockout of 65 Parmalat workers is part of a corporate onslaught on the wages and conditions of manufacturing workers nationally.

Anti-Trump demonstrations across Australia

By our reporters, 23 January 2017

While the organisers promoted Hillary Clinton and gender politics, many of the attendees voiced concerns about the rise of militarism, the erosion of democratic rights and the growth of the far-right.

Australian state premier’s sudden resignation highlights political instability

By Mike Head, 21 January 2017

While Mike Baird claimed to be resigning for family reasons, he sent a barbed political message to Prime Minister Turnbull.

Australian government reshuffled again under mounting corporate pressure

By Mike Head, 20 January 2017

Prime Minister Turnbull’s fourth cabinet reshuffle in 16 months underscores the Liberal-National government’s instability.

Carers cut off services under Australian disability scheme

By Max Newman, 20 January 2017

Carers of people with a disability are being denied support programs under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Australian report highlights collapse of union membership

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 January 2017

The Roy Morgan data shows that membership is lowest among young people and the most impoverished sections of the working class.

Australia: Melbourne homeless speak out against police harassment

By our reporters, 18 January 2017

Large contingents of police have used “move on” powers to shift groups of homeless people from busy areas of the city popular with tourists, including Flinders Street station.

Japan and Australia strengthen ties ahead of Trump’s inauguration

By Peter Symonds, 17 January 2017

In pursuing aggressive “America First” trade measures, Trump threatens the economic interests not only of China but also of close allies such as Australia and Japan.

Union seeks to impose wage cuts on Australian Paper workers

By Chris Sadlier, 17 January 2017

The union and management are invoking the threat of an imminent plant closure to bludgeon workers into accepting the deal.

Teenager killed on Australian building site

By Virginia Browne, 17 January 2017

The tragedy is one of a growing number of fatalities in the construction industry as builders, with union complicity, maximise profits by cutting basic health and safety.

Former Australian prime minister denounces Trump over China

By James Cogan, 16 January 2017

Paul Keating stated that a Trump administration threatened to “involve Australia in war with China.”

Australia: Latrobe Valley power workers, residents denounce wage and job cuts

By our reporters, 16 January 2017

The latest measures are part of a decades-long assault on energy workers in the Latrobe Valley and nationally with the collaboration of the unions.

Report reveals, for the first time, extent of wealth inequality in Australia

By Mike Head, 16 January 2017

Contrary to the myth of Australia as an egalitarian society, it is among the most unequal industrialised countries in the world.

Millions of disabled Australians to be denied national insurance support

By Max Newman, 14 January 2017

The National Disability Insurance Scheme will deny adequate assistance to many in need, even those with severe mental illnesses.

“Left” Greens faction formed in Australia amid growing discontent

By James Cogan, 14 January 2017

The motivation for the faction’s formation is concern over the fall of support for the Greens.

Industrial court endorses massive pay cuts at Australian power station

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 January 2017

The industrial tribunal’s ruling clears the way for pay cuts of 30–65 percent, a precedent that will be used against other workers.

Pensions cut for 330,000 Australian retirees

By Will Morrow, 13 January 2017

The cuts are the thin edge of the wedge of a far-reaching assault on the democratic right to a secure retirement.

Record climate warming recorded in Australia for 2016

By Patrick Kelly, 12 January 2017

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology detailed several record-breaking temperature anomalies caused by global climate change.

Trump and China fears overshadow fragile Australian economy

By Mike Head, 11 January 2017

Conflict between the US, led by the protectionist Trump, and China, Australian capitalism’s largest export market, could have catastrophic consequences for an already contracting economy.

“Kindy boot camp” enrolments proliferating in Australia

By Perla Astudillo, 10 January 2017

Increasing numbers of parents are feeling pressured to organise tutoring for their young children in “kindy boot camps” where they undergo structured learning and constant testing.

Australian government intensifies welfare “debt” crackdown

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 January 2017

The government is dispatching thousands of “debt notices” demanding that current and former welfare recipients repay hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars.

Shots fired in clash between Papua New Guinea police and military

By John Braddock, 9 January 2017

Ongoing conflicts between police and soldiers highlight the explosive social antagonisms in PNG, which are being fuelled by a deepening economic crisis.

New Zealand prisoners subjected to abusive treatment

By Sam Price, 7 January 2017

As New Zealand’s prison population increases, the Ombudsman’s office has revealed widespread abusive and humiliating treatment of inmates.

Indonesian military suspends “cooperation” with Australia

By James Cogan, 6 January 2017

The incident sheds light on the deep concerns in the Indonesian military over the prospect of the country becoming embroiled in a confrontation between China and the US.

Job losses continue in Australia amid stalling economic growth

By Terry Cook, 6 January 2017

Mounting levels of unemployment and underemployment underscore the fraud of the government’s claim that its policies would deliver “jobs and growth.”

Disability services privatised and targeted for more cuts in Australia’s public schools

By Susan Allan, 5 January 2017

An already under-funded scheme for providing disability services to public school children in the state of Victoria is to be targeted for further cuts.

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.

US think tank urges Trump to confront China in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 3 January 2017

Well aware of the dangers of full-scale war, the report nevertheless insists that the US and its allies must challenge China sooner rather than later.

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.

Australia: Political instability deepens as Liberal Party faces potential split

By Linda Tenenbaum, 29 December 2016

Returning from a three-month stint in the US, where he fraternised with Trump supporters, right-wing Liberal backbencher Cory Bernardi is testing the waters for a new far-right party.

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.