Australia and South Pacific

Australian tertiary education union imposes cuts to wages and conditions at Murdoch University

By Mike Head, 9 April 2018

Almost half the university’s staff abstained or refused to vote in the postal ballot to accept the NTEU-negotiated agreement.

Australian dock workers strike against threatened 60 percent wage cut

By our reporters, 6 April 2018

The Maritime Union of Australia is isolating the workers, while it seeks to strike a sellout deal with Qube Ports.

Australia proposes visas for white South Africans

By Max Newman and Mike Head, 6 April 2018

Home Affairs Minister Dutton insists white farmers deserve “special attention” for humanitarian visas.

Australian workers and youth condemn police assault on disabled pensioner

By our reporters, 5 April 2018

Graphic video footage of a distressed man being attacked by six police officers has provoked deep concern in the working class.

Ex-Australian prime minister embraces Pauline Hanson

By Mike Head, 3 April 2018

Abbott’s decision to launch Hanson’s book marks a sharp shift to the right within the political establishment to promote nationalism and xenophobia.

Australia: Victorian police assault disability pensioner

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 April 2018

Captured on CCTV footage, the incident graphically exposes the impunity with which police officers brutalise working class people, especially the poor and the vulnerable.

New Zealand: Labour government hit by sexual assault allegations

By John Braddock, 31 March 2018

The media has deliberately inflated an apparently minor incident into a major national issue as a warning to Labour to press ahead with an agenda of austerity and war preparations.

Australian government forced to delay company tax cut bill

By Mike Head, 30 March 2018

The setback could reignite the factional rifts that have wracked both the Liberal and National parties, especially since the Coalition government’s near-defeat in 2016.

Australian train workers denounce NSW rail sellout

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 March 2018

Workers question the legitimacy of the postal ballot and condemn the sordid manoeuvres of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union.

Opposition to Australian “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 27 March 2018

Under the banner of combating a Chinese “conspiracy” to dominate Australia, the bills contain far-reaching attacks on fundamental democratic rights.

Unions impose sellout deal on Australian rail workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 March 2018

The New South Wales rail unions could only secure a razor-thin margin through a months-long campaign to stifle and suppress opposition.

“Financial toxicity” affects poorer cancer patients in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 23 March 2018

High medical payments and reduced income while patients are being treated or recovering from cancer are causing distress and avoidable deaths.

Geoffrey Rush lawsuit strikes blow against anti-democratic #MeToo campaign

By Richard Phillips and James Cogan, 22 March 2018

A judge ruled that the Murdoch media could not substantiate the allegations of sexual misconduct it made against acclaimed Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.

Interviews with voters at the Batman by-election

By our reporters, 20 March 2018

“There should be money for everybody, for health, for the elderly.”

Australian by-election in Melbourne heightens Greens’ crisis

By Patrick O’Connor, 20 March 2018

The Greens’ defeat in Batman marks a significant blow to their hopes of enlarging their influence within the parliamentary apparatus.

Union prepares another sellout deal at Australia’s Macquarie University

By our correspondent, 20 March 2018

The secrecy imposed by the NTEU is a warning that Macquarie will be a test case for the union’s capacity to impose intensifying cuts and pro-business measures.

Australian women join legal actions over pelvic implants

By Michelle Stevens, 20 March 2018

The allegations against the pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, if proven correct, will reveal a profit-driven disregard for the health and wellbeing of the women.

Australia-ASEAN summit held amid US-China tensions

By James Cogan, 19 March 2018

Australian Prime Minister Turnbull sought to draw more ASEAN members toward the anti-China orientation of the more openly US-aligned states.

Liberals take office in South Australia with a minority vote

By Mike Head, 19 March 2018

The result is part of a wider pattern in recent Australian elections that points to the breakdown of the two-party political set-up, through which the capitalist class has ruled since World War II.

Australian government to push through anti-democratic “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 17 March 2018

Submissions to a parliamentary committee provided chilling examples of how the legislation will eviscerate freedom of political expression and organisation.

Former Tongan PM charged in passport inquiry

By John Braddock, 17 March 2018

Tonga’s autocratic political system is under increasing pressure from the regional powers, Australia and New Zealand, over growing Chinese influence.

Australia: SEP meeting discusses government-media campaign over “African gangs”

By our reporters, 17 March 2018

The SEP has led a fight within the working class against the provocative hysteria against young people of African origin.

Forty thousand Indian railway workers march on parliament

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

17 March 2018

The workers were protesting against the introduction of a mandatory employee-contribution pension scheme.

New Zealand: Reject the union sellout of Wellington rail workers!

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 16 March 2018

The RMTU, private companies Transdev and Hyundai Rotem, and the Greater Wellington Regional Council want to impose a pro-business deal that freezes wages and paves the way for job cuts.

South Australian election campaign points to deepening political alienation

By Mike Head, 16 March 2018

No commentator has been able to predict the result, because of the ongoing collapse of support for the two major parties—Labor and Liberal.

Australia: By-election education “debate” reveals bogus Greens-Labor contest

By Frank Gaglioti and David Cohen, 16 March 2018

The event underscored the fraud of the efforts of Labor and the Greens in the Batman election campaign to present themselves as duelling “progressive” parties.

Australia: Unions preside over anti-democratic ballot to sell out NSW rail workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 March 2018

The rail unions have done everything they can to suppress any industrial and political struggle by workers.

Australia: Bileola residents protest at pre-dawn removal of Tamil refugee family

By Max Newman, 15 March 2018

People in a Queensland rural town are outraged at the pre-dawn Australian Border Force raid to seize and imprison a local family.

Pseudo-left groups form new “Victorian Socialists” electoral front in Australia

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 15 March 2018

The latest opportunist manoeuvre by the pseudo-left is a calculated response to immense disaffection within the working class towards the Labor Party.

Falling wages point to economic and social reality in Australia

By Mike Head, 14 March 2018

Instead of “jobs and growth,” the statistics point to increasing casualisation, real wage cuts and deepening social inequality.

Join the International Youth and Students for Social Equality! Take up the fight for socialism!

By the IYSSE (Australia), 14 March 2018

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) distributed the following statement at university orientation week events across Australia and in New Zealand.

Australian pseudo-lefts feature at pro-imperialist #SaveGhouta rallies

By Zac Hambides, 13 March 2018

The real purpose of the rallies was to urge the US and other Western imperialist powers to directly militarily intervene into Syria.

Gas profits and China fears drive Australia-Timor boundary treaty

By Mike Head, 13 March 2018

There were concerns in both Canberra and Washington that Australia’s refusal to abide by international law was opening the door for China to acquire greater influence.

Sweet Country: Bitter truths about Aboriginal dispossession in Australia

By George Morley, 13 March 2018

Warwick Thornton’s second feature is a visually striking and powerful historical drama, which confronts audiences with some ugly truths about Australia’s colonial past.

Rising anger over aid delays in Papua New Guinea’s catastrophic quake disaster

By John Roberts, 12 March 2018

The humanitarian crisis resulting from the earthquake exposes the inadequate response of the PNG and Australian governments.

Vote “no” in the postal ballot!

Australia: Rail authorities, unions push sellout deal in NSW train dispute

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 March 2018

The agreement provides for continuous pro-business restructuring, job cuts and the elimination of working conditions.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

10 March 2018

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

Australia: “Silent invasion” book advocates war against China

By Mike Head, 8 March 2018

A new book seeks to whip up anti-Chinese chauvinism, brand any dissent as treasonous, and insist on unconditional commitment to US war plans.

Australia: Anger erupts over privatised bus services in Newcastle

By Max Newman, 8 March 2018

Amid an ongoing state government attack on public transport workers’ jobs and conditions, a packed public meeting voices outrage over poor service and major delays.

Australian teachers salute courageous stand of striking teachers in West Virginia

By our reporters, 7 March 2018

Teachers in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia’s two most populous states, have expressed powerful support for the struggle being waged by their counterparts in West Virginia.

Deep social crisis ignored in South Australian election campaign

By Mike Head, 6 March 2018

After clinging to office for 16 years, the state Labor government could be swept out, or forced to form a minority administration with “SA Best.”

Australia: Liberals cling to office in Tasmanian election

By Mike Head, 5 March 2018

Far from an “historic” victory, the vote reflects deepening popular disaffection with the parliamentary establishment as a whole.

Australian rail union pushes through sellout agreement at Pacific National

By Patrick Davies, 5 March 2018

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has imposed another deal that slashes conditions and provides for the ever-greater use of casual labour by the freight operator.

Emergency declared after earthquake devastates Papua New Guinea

By Mike Head, 3 March 2018

More than 50 people are feared dead and anger is mounting over the lack of government assistance.

Obituary: Jim Anderton, a pivotal defender of New Zealand capitalism

By John Braddock, 3 March 2018

As leader of NewLabour and the Alliance, Anderton played a critical role defending the capitalist order by blocking any rebellion against the Labour government.

Australian rail union prepares sellout in NSW train dispute

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 March 2018

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union confirmed yesterday that workers will be balloted on an enterprise agreement that will intensify the assault on jobs and conditions.

As Liberal-National government implodes

Australia’s corporate media promote Labor’s “new Keating”

By Mike Head, 28 February 2018

Two prominent interviews with Labor’s shadow treasurer Chris Bowen have touted his vows to revive the Hawke-Keating “reform” agenda.

Australian and New Zealand transport workers must unite their struggles

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 28 February 2018

The trade unions in both New Zealand and Australia are seeking to isolate workers in each country from each other in order to facilitate further attacks on jobs, wages and conditions.

Australian government instability intensifies after deputy prime minister’s removal

By Mike Head, 27 February 2018

None of the sordid details now emerging about the high-level plotting to knife Barnaby Joyce can be understood outside the broader political context.

The advent of “pop-up” schools in Australia: Yet another assault on public education

By Erika Zimmer and Linda Tenenbaum, 27 February 2018

“Pop-up” schools are temporary replacements for the huge shortage of public schools capable of providing their students with the classrooms and other facilities they require.

Australian prime minister expands war commitments during Washington trip

By Mike Head, 26 February 2018

Turnbull was clearly under pressure to step-up Canberra’s participation in US military operations.

Australia: Locked-out Glencore coal mine workers face new provocations

By Terry Cook, 26 February 2018

As the union isolates the Oaky North workers, the Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating a protest picket near the Queensland mine.

Socialist Equality Party public meeting in Melbourne

The class issues behind the racist “African gang” campaign

26 February 2018

The government has promoted a lurid media campaign, seeking to elevate a few instances of petty crime into a virtual national security threat.

Trump uses Australian PM’s visit to threaten North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 24 February 2018

Trump warned that if sanctions on North Korea did not work he would move to “phase two,” which could be “a very rough thing.”

Australian deputy prime minister ousted via untested sexual harassment allegation

By Mike Head, 24 February 2018

The removal of Barnaby Joyce throws into further doubt the future of the already fragile Turnbull Coalition government.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

24 February 2018

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

Australia: Widespread discontent overshadows Tasmanian state election

By Mike Head, 23 February 2018

Under Liberal and Labor-Greens governments, the situation confronting the working class has continued to worsen.

Australian government to deport Tamil refugee despite torture warnings

By Max Newman, 22 February 2018

Thangalingam is a victim of anti-refugee and geo-strategic policies pursued by successive Australian governments.

Australia’s “Barnaby Joyce crisis”: What is not being discussed

By Mike Head, 21 February 2018

The turmoil surrounding the deputy prime minister is a symptom of more fundamental frictions engulfing the government and the parliamentary establishment.

Tonga faces deepening crisis after Cyclone Gita

By Tom Peters, 21 February 2018

Thousands of people remain homeless and the small Pacific island nation could take years to recover.

Australia: Union enforces another massive pay cut at Griffin Coal

By Terry Cook, 20 February 2018

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union isolated a protracted strike of maintenance workers before striking a sell-out enterprise agreement.

Australia: The 2014 union sell-out of NSW rail workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 February 2018

The last enterprise agreement imposed by the rail union created the conditions for mass sackings and continuous pro-business restructuring.

Australian transport workers forum discusses the necessity for a new political perspective

SEP holds online meeting on the New South Wales rail dispute

By our reporter, 19 February 2018

The meeting created the conditions for public transport and other workers in Australia and New Zealand to grapple with the political issues raised by the fight to defend jobs, wages and conditions.

General strike in French Polynesia against undermining of pensions

By Tom Peters, 17 February 2018

Thousands of people took part in the strike and rallied in Tahiti against the government’s attack on pensions.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

17 February 2018

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

Public brawl erupts between Australian prime minister and his deputy

By Mike Head, 16 February 2018

An affair involving Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has become a vehicle for seeking to oust him and possibly the government itself.

Ex-general delivers first speech in parliament: Australia must “consider the next war”

By James Cogan, 16 February 2018

Molan and the wing of the political and military establishment for which he speaks want military spending dramatically ramped up.

Australia: NSW government privatises Sydney’s inner-west bus services

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 February 2018

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union directly facilitated the sell-off by suppressing widespread opposition among bus drivers over the past 12 months.

Scientists warn of health costs of Australian heatwaves

By Frank Gaglioti, 15 February 2018

The extreme heat conditions have intensified and become more frequent due to the effects of global warming, resulting in a rising death toll.

Trump nominates anti-China hawk as US ambassador to Australia

By James Cogan, 14 February 2018

The nomination of Admiral Harry Harris, head of Pacific Command, is a gauge of how vital the US views its alliance with Australia at this historical juncture.

Cyclone Gita leaves thousands homeless in Tonga

By Tom Peters, 14 February 2018

Australia and New Zealand have announced grossly inadequate aid after the storm destroyed crops and damaged about 40 percent of houses on Tonga’s main island.

Australian Labor Party president warns of collapsing membership

By Mike Head, 13 February 2018

Mark Butler’s remarks point to a growing fear of the deepening hostility in the working class toward the Labor Party and the trade unions.

Australian pseudo-left promotes Labor Party, Greens at “African gangs” rally

By our reporters, 13 February 2018

The speakers pushed an amalgam of identity politics and Australian nationalism, and encouraged illusions in the parliamentary establishment and police.

Australian government used ASIO to stop refugees obtaining visas

By Max Newman, 12 February 2018

A recently-published secret cabinet submission proves that the Coalition government formally asked the spy agency to stall security clearances for officially-recognised refugees.

Australia: Union confirms sell-out agreement in NSW rail dispute includes job cuts

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 February 2018

The real purpose of the marginal pay rise is to provide the union and the government with a pretext for imposing cuts to jobs and conditions.

Anti-China dossier highlights target of Australian “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 10 February 2018

A parliamentary submission depicts Chinese Australians as participants in a subversive Chinese Communist Party network.

Australia: Union pushes sell-out deal in NSW rail dispute

By Oscar Grenfell, 8 February 2018

The New South Wales government has made clear that its offer of marginal wage increases is tied to sweeping cuts to working conditions.

Australia: Why the RTBU is muzzling railworkers

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 February 2018

Having used the ruling of the Fair Work Commission to suppress a strike, for which rail workers voted, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union is trying to silence them and censor any expressions of opposition.

Australian electricity unions suspend industrial action

By Terry Cook, 6 February 2018

Without any mass meetings, the trade unions called off industrial action by thousands of Ausgrid workers.

Australian government defies criticism of sweeping “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 3 February 2018

The attorney-general suggested that the critics are playing into the hands of enemies seeking to damage Australia’s “national interests.”

Australian mining union isolates locked out Oaky North workers

By Terry Cook, 3 February 2018

The six-month lockout of coal miners is the longest in Australian history.

Australian cabinet files affair used to ramp-up “security” and US intelligence ties

By Mike Head, 2 February 2018

The ABC’s supposedly “alarming” discovery of the documents is being exploited to support sweeping new “foreign interference” bills.

Australian government unveils sweeping anti-democratic “foreign interference” bills

Part 3: Far-reaching measures against political dissent

By Mike Head, 2 February 2018

Old “treasonous” offences are being “modernised” for a new period of war and political convulsions.

Australia: Government-union “negotiations” stall in NSW rail dispute

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 February 2018

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union said it will enforce a court ban on any industrial action, while seeking a sell-out deal with the state government.

CIA director brands China “as big a threat to the US” as Russia

By Peter Symonds, 1 February 2018

Pompeo’s warning signals the ramping up of a campaign on alleged Chinese interference in the US as Washington increases its trade war measures and military build-up against Beijing.

Australian government unveils sweeping anti-democratic “foreign interference” bills

Part 2: Criminalising overseas links and donations

By Mike Head, 1 February 2018

These measures have serious implications for freedom of political expression and organisation.

Australian Labor leader sounds alarm about popular hostility to political establishment

By Mike Head, 1 February 2018

Shorten told the National Press Club that the first “mission” of the political elite was “restoring faith in parliament.”

Australian government unveils draconian “foreign interference” bills

Part 1: Preparing for war against China

By Mike Head, 31 January 2018

The legislation, targeting alleged “improper influence” by China and other “foreign states,” will have far-reaching consequences for free speech and political dissent.

Over 100 feared dead in Kiribati ferry disaster

By John Braddock, 31 January 2018

The high death toll and unseaworthiness of the ferry are prompting growing anger in the small, impoverished Pacific nation.

Renewed push for Australia to build nuclear weapons

By Peter Symonds, 30 January 2018

The active discussion is another sign of sharpening geo-political tensions and the accelerating arms race by major powers around the world.

Another rapid rise in Australia’s prison population

By John Harris, 30 January 2018

The 40 percent increase over the past five years points to the escalating impact of “law and order” campaigns, anti-democratic bail laws and punitive sentencing requirements.

Accelerating concentration of wealth in Australia

By Mike Head, 29 January 2018

Of the 19 new billionaires created in Australia over the past 10 years, eight were added in the past year alone.

Australia: Lack of safety system contributed to injuries in rail crash

By Eric Ludlow, 29 January 2018

The Automatic Train Protection system would have reduced the seriousness of last week’s crash of a suburban train in Sydney, says expert.

New evidence of mistreatment in Western Australian juvenile prison

By Eric Ludlow, 27 January 2018

Amnesty International documents ongoing abuses amounting to torture in a youth detention centre.

Southeast Australian heatwaves signal a horror fire season

By Frank Gaglioti, 27 January 2018

Concerns are being raised that extreme heatwaves are becoming the new norm as a result of global warming and climate change.

Australia’s Manus Island refugees blockaded after sewage leaks

By Max Newman, 26 January 2018

Local residents were concerned because sewage was flowing from the unfinished detention camps into their houses.

SEP forum rallies opposition against racist “African gangs” campaign in Australia

By our reporters, 26 January 2018

The lively meeting in Melbourne was attended by workers and young people of African origin.

Australia: Workers reject union-government attempts to cancel NSW rail strike

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 January 2018

Rail workers responded with hostility to the union’s attempt to call off Monday’s stoppage, on the basis of an “offer” providing no details of the government’s demands for cuts to jobs and conditions.

Australian rail accident causes 16 injuries

By Eric Ludlow, 23 January 2018

The train crash in Sydney highlights the deterioration of the city’s rail network, which is creating the conditions for new disasters.

Craig McLachlan accused as Australian media steps up #MeToo witch-hunt

By Richard Phillips, 22 January 2018

McLachlan has decided to sue for defamation over allegations that he sexually harassed three women during the production of The Rocky Horror Show in 2014.