Melanesia

Papua New Guinea PM pledges fealty to Australian government, mining investors

By Patrick O’Connor, 6 December 2012

As well as emphasising the centrality of PNG’s relations with Canberra and Washington, O’Neill used his Australian trip to curry favour with the mining giants.

Australian government prepares “transition” for Solomon Islands intervention

By Patrick O’Connor, 13 November 2012

Nearly 10 years after dispatching hundreds of troops, federal police and government officials, Canberra is winding down RAMSI’s military component.

Top-level Chinese delegation visits Fiji

By Frank Gaglioti, 4 October 2012

The small Pacific state is being drawn into the vortex of the US-China rivalry that is reaching into every corner of the region.

Australia normalises relations with Fijian regime

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 August 2012

The move is aimed at countering China’s growing diplomatic influence in Fiji and the South Pacific region.

Papua New Guinea: Rival ex-prime ministers unite in bid to form new government

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 July 2012

Michael Somare and Peter O’Neil spent the previous 12 months locked in a bitter power struggle that split the military, police force and state apparatus.

Voting period extended in Papua New Guinea election

By Mike Head, 10 July 2012

The disruptions have cast doubt on the hopes of the de facto prime minister, and his backers in Canberra and Washington, that the elections would end months of political instability.

Further political turmoil in Papua New Guinea

By Patrick O’Connor, 2 June 2012

The illegal Australian-backed government has engaged in further desperate manoeuvres and authoritarian measures to remain in office.

Papua New Guinean government arrests chief justice

By Patrick O’Connor, 25 May 2012

The attempted prosecution of the chief justice on sedition charges is in retaliation for the Supreme Court’s recent confirmation that the O’Neill government remains in power illegally.

Vanuatu government expels Australian police

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 May 2012

The move was in retaliation for the highly provocative arrest of one of Prime Minister Sato Kilman’s secretaries in Sydney airport.

Papua New Guinea government attempts to postpone election

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 April 2012

Thousands of people protested yesterday in the capital Port Moresby against the government’s bid to delay national elections scheduled for June.

Papua New Guinea government moves against judiciary

By Patrick O’Connor, 27 March 2012

The O’Neill government is attempting to consolidate power by suppressing its opponents within the judiciary.

Over 100 feared dead in Papua New Guinea ferry disaster

By Oliver Campbell, 4 February 2012

Lax safety standards and overcrowding appear to have contributed to the loss of life.

Flooding in Fiji kills seven, leaves thousands homeless

By Will Morrow, 1 February 2012

More than 3,500 people were forced to flee their homes last week to makeshift evacuation centres established in schools, military bases and government buildings.

Papua New Guinea: Dozens dead and missing in landslide

By Oliver Campbell, 28 January 2012

Local residents said blasting related to Exxon-Mobil’s nearby liquefied natural gas project may have contributed to the disaster.

Military mutiny in Papua New Guinea

By Patrick O’Connor, 27 January 2012

The unresolved constitutional crisis reflects the intensifying rivalry between the US and China that is fuelling instability throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Fijian military government announces end to emergency laws

By Will Morrow, 6 January 2012

The decision was cautiously welcomed by the US and Australia, signalling a possible rapprochement between the regional powers and the military junta.

PNG constitutional crisis: O’Neill consolidates as PM

By Zac Hambides, 21 December 2011

O’Neill now has the support of the state apparatus, including the military and police, and the governor general, in addition to his parliamentary majority.

PNG crisis eases as Australia hints at military intervention

By Zac Hambides, 17 December 2011

Canberra’s preoccupation with the events in PNG is driven by deep concerns about growing Chinese involvement in what it has regarded as “its backyard.”

Fijian junta imposes draconian anti-union laws

By Will Morrow, 17 December 2011

Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s military regime has deepened its assault on the working class, seeking to lure foreign investment.

Papua New Guinea locked in constitutional crisis

By Zac Hambides, 15 December 2011

The impasse in Port Moresby reflects the political volatility being created throughout the Asia-Pacific region by the Washington’s aggressive drive to counter Chinese influence.

Constitutional crisis erupts in Papua New Guinea

By Mike Head, 19 November 2011

Somare, Peter O’Neill, PNG, Gillard, mining, gas, nickel, China, Obama, United States

Papuan miners extend two-month strike

By Mike Head, 17 November 2011

Despite an Indonesian government-backed police ultimatum, the 8,000 striking miners are continuing to man the blockades that have brought production to a halt since September 15.

Papua New Guinea riots expose mounting social tensions

By Will Morrow, 16 November 2011

The violence is an expression of the extreme poverty that wracks the former Australian colony.

Solomon Islands: Australian police accused of bribing witnesses

By Will Morrow, 28 October 2011

There are obvious parallels between the failed prosecutions of Dausabea, Ne’e, and Bartlett and the continued efforts of the Australian government to convict former attorney general Julian Moti.

Australia to shut northern TB clinics

By John Mackay, 29 September 2011

The planned closures have been strongly condemned by Australian health professionals and the World Health Organisation who fear that it will lead to an increase in multi-drug resistant or MDR-TB, already prevalent in PNG.

WikiLeaks cables reveal US role in Australia’s “regime change” in Solomon Islands

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 September 2011

The 2006 cables shed light on US backing for Canberra’s aggressive interventions in the Solomons and across the South Pacific.

Sharp tensions in Indonesian Papua following failure of “peace conference”

By John Roberts, 10 September 2011

The lack of agreement between Jakarta and Papuan organisations was quickly underscored by a spate of violence and protest rallies in Jayapura and other towns.

WikiLeaks cables reveal Australian government divisions over Fijian junta

By Patrick O’Connor, 1 September 2011

In 2009, amid fears of rising Chinese influence, the parliamentary secretary for Pacific Island Affairs secretly urged the US to pressure Prime Minister Rudd to reach an accommodation with the Fijian regime.

Australian government to reopen PNG refugee detention centre

By Will Morrow, 20 August 2011

The detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea was part of the previous Coalition government’s infamous “Pacific Solution” in which refugees languished for years.

Australian High Court concludes hearing into Julian Moti appeal

By Patrick O’Connor, 5 August 2011

The seven High Court justices heard further allegations of serious violations of the rule of the law by the Australian government in the South Pacific.

Unlawful Australian government action alleged in Julian Moti case

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 August 2011

The Australian High Court is hearing an appeal by former Solomon Islands’ Attorney General Julian Moti alleging that the government’s attempt to prosecute him is politically motivated and unlawful.

Australian High Court prepares to hear Julian Moti appeal

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 July 2011

The High Court will next week hear the appeal of the former Solomon Islands attorney general, who has waged a five year battle against the Australian government’s attempt to prosecute him on what he alleges are “politically motivated” statutory rape allegations.

US delegation tours Pacific island states

By Frank Gaglioti, 18 July 2011

The initiative was aimed at reinforcing US dominance in the region and came as the Obama administration stepped up its provocative efforts to contain Chinese influence in East Asia.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cholera outbreak kills dozens in Papua New Guinea

By Zac Hambides, 27 November 2010

The main concern of the Australian government has been to close its borders with PNG, while providing minimal aid to the people of its former colonial possession.

Cholera outbreak kills dozens in Papua New Guinea

By Zac Hambides, 27 November 2010

The main concern of the Australian government has been to close its borders with PNG, while providing minimal aid to the people of its former colonial possession.

US moves to normalise relations with Fiji’s junta

By Frank Gaglioti, 21 October 2010

The Obama administration has moved to reestablish ties with the military regime in Fiji, cutting across the Australian government’s imposition of sanctions.

Solomon Islands: New coalition government formed

By Peter Byrne and Patrick O’Connor, 1 September 2010

The national election was only the second to be held under the watch of the Australian-dominated neo-colonial intervention force, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

Solomon Islander shot dead by Australian-led intervention forces

By Patrick O’Connor, 16 August 2010

Military personnel with the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands shot and killed an unarmed local man and wounded another in an incident on the outskirts of the capital, Honiara, last Thursday.

Australian government resumes vendetta against Julian Moti after appeals court reinstates charges

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 August 2010

The former Solomon Islands’ attorney general is once again threatened with trial on politically motivated statutory rape allegations, following a decision last month by the Queensland Supreme Court of Appeal to overturn an earlier court ruling that the charges be dismissed.

Fiji expels senior Australian diplomat

By Patrick O’Connor, 15 July 2010

Amid rising great power rivalries across the Pacific, the Australian government sabotaged a meeting of Melanesian Spearhead Group heads of government that was due to be held in Fiji next week.

Fijian military junta suppresses media

By Frank Gaglioti, 12 July 2010

The Media Industry Development Decree 2010 contains a series of antidemocratic prescriptions aimed at silencing any voices of opposition against the regime.

Australian court hears prosecution appeal against Julian Moti verdict

By Patrick O’Connor, 2 June 2010

Public prosecutors yesterday asked the Queensland Court of Appeal to overturn the legal victory recorded by former Solomon Islands Attorney General Julian Moti late last year when the Australian government’s attempt to prosecute him on politically motivated statutory rape charges was blocked by the Queensland Supreme Court.

Fiji hit by destructive cyclone

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 March 2010

Cyclone Tomas inflicted major damage in parts of Fiji this week. Fiji’s military dictator, Frank Bainimarama declared a state of emergency in the country’s northern and eastern divisions.

Papua New Guinea report highlights illegality of Moti arrest

By Patrick O’Connor, 13 March 2010

The report is further confirmation of the provocative character of the witch-hunt waged by the Australian government against the international and constitutional lawyer.

Australian government prosecutors appeal Julian Moti verdict

By Patrick O’Connor, 26 February 2010

Australian public prosecutors have issued a notice of appeal against a court ruling last December that threw out statutory rape charges against former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti.

Pressure mounts for Australian rapprochement with Fiji

By Patrick O’Connor, 3 February 2010

Pressure is mounting within the Australian foreign policy establishment for Canberra to normalise relations with the Fijian military junta.

Earthquakes, tsunami destroy villages in Solomon Islands

By Frank Gaglioti, 11 January 2010

Earthquakes and a tsunami hit the Solomon Islands’ Western Province last week, destroying entire villages.

Solomon Islands’ parliamentarian denounces WSWS during debate on Australian intervention force

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 January 2010

The growing nervousness of the Solomon Islands’ and Australian governments in the face of escalating domestic opposition to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands found peculiar expression in the country’s parliament last month, with prominent parliamentarian Peter Boyers denouncing the World Socialist Web Site.

Political lessons of the Julian Moti affair

By Patrick O’Connor and Linda Levin, 23 December 2009

The extraordinary five-year vendetta has cast light on Canberra’s neo-colonial operations in the South Pacific, as well as the complicity of the entire political and media establishment—ranged across the official political spectrum, from the openly right wing to the ex-radical “left”.

Australian government frame-up of Julian Moti collapses as court throws out charges

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 December 2009

In an important victory for democratic rights, former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti has succeeded in blocking the Australian government’s attempt to frame him on statutory rape charges.

Solomon Islands: parliamentary report rubberstamps Australian-led RAMSI intervention force

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 November 2009

A report released by the Solomon Islands’ parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee last Thursday brushes aside many serious issues regarding the legal status of the immunity of RAMSI personnel from Solomons’ law.

New Zealand university administration calls police on protestors

By the Victoria University of Wellington ISSE, 16 November 2009

In a blatant attack on democratic rights, two former university students were arrested when they attempted to deliver a petition to the administration of Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) in New Zealand on October 21.

Australia-Sri Lanka deal for joint crackdown on Tamil asylum seekers

By Richard Phillips, 13 November 2009

By reaching a deal with Colombo—that is, with the regime responsible for the oppression of Tamils—the Australian Labor government is legitimising its police state measures and nullifying the basic right of all people to seek asylum under international law.

Trial by media in Australian terrorism case

By Mike Head, 13 November 2009

Despite objections by defence lawyers, highly-prejudicial and untested prosecution evidence was released to the media in Australia’s latest large-scale terrorist trial.

Australian Pabloites prepare NPA-style dissolution

By Laura Tiernan, 12 November 2009

The Democratic Socialist Perspective will dissolve itself into the ailing Socialist Alliance electoral front in January 2010. Modelled closely on France’s New Anti-capitalist Party, the DSP is making a pitch for allies in official bourgeois politics, above all the Greens.

Australia’s “rock solid” banks: the financial crisis one year on

By Alex Messenger, 11 November 2009

The corporate press claims that the Australian financial system has survived the global financial crisis because of good regulation and sound banking practice. In truth, Australian banks only survived because of unprecedented government intervention.

Australia: Julian Moti defence closing submission outlines “oppressive and unfair” prosecution

By Patrick O’Connor, 10 November 2009

Defence counsel for former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti issued its closing submission to the Queensland Supreme Court on Friday.

Tamil asylum-seekers reject Australian government demands

By Richard Phillips, 9 November 2009

The Rudd government is intensifying its pressure on 78 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers aboard the Oceanic Viking to disembark and enter Indonesian immigration detention centers.

Fiji expels Australian and New Zealand diplomats

By Frank Gaglioti, 7 November 2009

Tensions between Fiji and the two regional powers, Australia and New Zealand, intensified further this week after Suva expelled two top diplomats for interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

Unanswered questions over Australian offshore oil spill

By Mike Head, 7 November 2009

Throughout the oil spill crisis, the Rudd government has been preoccupied with protecting the image and profits of the multi-billion dollar offshore drilling industry.

Australia: Qantas aircraft engineers vote for industrial action

By Terry Cook, 7 November 2009

About 190 professional engineers at Qantas voted by 98 percent to take industrial action after seven months of negotiations for a new work agreement failed to resolve issues over pay and working conditions.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

7 November 2009

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

Julian Moti case: Enormous sums paid by Australian police to alleged victim’s family

By Patrick O’Connor, 6 November 2009

Hearings over the past two days have been dominated by two key issues—Australian complicity with lawyer Julian Moti’s allegedly unlawful removal from the Solomons in December 2007, and the staggering amounts of money paid to members of the alleged victim’s family.

Australian Labor “left” bestows medal on General Petraeus

By Laura Tiernan, 6 November 2009

The photograph published in yesterday’s press of John Faulkner, the Defence Minister in the Australian Labor government, draping an honorary Order of Australia around the neck of General David Petraeus, speaks volumes.

End the persecution of Tamil asylum seekers by Sri Lankan and Australian governments

By Wije Dias, 6 November 2009

The plight of Tamils living in intolerable conditions in Sri Lanka has been brought into sharp relief by the tragic drowning of 12 Tamil asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia in a small vessel.

Australia: Latest refugee deaths—the Rudd government’s SIEV X

By Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 4 November 2009

The tragic drowning of 12 Sri Lankan Tamils northwest of the Cocos Islands on Sunday is another grim reminder that the election of the Rudd Labor government in November 2007 has changed nothing for refugees and asylum seekers.

Julian Moti defence counsel attacks Australian government’s “politically driven prosecution”

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 November 2009

In Queensland’s Supreme Court, defence counsel for former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti condemned Australian authorities for “bringing the administration of justice into disrepute”.

“Pressure politics” at Sydney protest over asylum seekers

By Mathew Benn, 3 November 2009

A rally called by the Refugee Action Committee to protest the Labor government’s callous treatment of refugees was dominated by futile appeals for “compassion” from Prime Minister Rudd.

Australian government’s industrial “cop” prosecutes union over Qantas strikes

By Mike Head, 3 November 2009

The Rudd government’s Fair Work Ombudsman and Qantas are seeking fines, multi-million dollar compensation

Australian government’s “Indonesian Solution” in disarray

By Richard Phillips, 2 November 2009

Two weeks after an Australian customs ship rescued 78 Tamil asylum seekers, the unresolved standoff over their future has focussed attention on the Labor government’s inhumane and illegal treatment of refugees.

Australian imperialism, the 1999 East Timor intervention and the pseudo-left

By Patrick O’Connor, 2 November 2009

September marked the tenth anniversary of the Australian-led military intervention into East Timor. It is also a decade since a layer of pseudo “left” groups organised “troops in” demonstrations—performing a vital service for the Howard government and the Australian ruling elite.

Australian man faces lengthy jail term for “offensive” letters

By Mike Head, 30 October 2009

A Muslim man faces up to 14 years in prison for sending allegedly offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Bridgestone closes plants in Australia and New Zealand

By Terry Cook, 29 October 2009

The Bridgestone closures, which end tyre production in Australasia, are part of a global restructuring of the auto industry, in the wake of the worldwide financial crisis.

Australian government intensifies crackdown on asylum seekers

By Richard Phillips, 28 October 2009

The Rudd government is planning an “Indonesian solution” paying Jakarta to incarcerate refugees intercepted while trying to reach Australia.

Sri Lanka: Plantation unions accept wage sell-out

By M. Vasanthan, 28 October 2009

All the plantation unions, including those that initially opposed it, have effectively fallen into line behind a deal that binds workers to poverty-level wages and productivity speed-up for the next two years.

Australia: Five men convicted of terrorist “conspiracy”

By Mike Head, 22 October 2009

Following one of the longest jury deliberations ever recorded—23 days—five Sydney Islamic men were convicted last week on terrorist “conspiracy” charges.

Australian government prosecutors suffer significant blow in Moti case

By Patrick O’Connor, 21 October 2009

Justice Mullins concluded that the police and prosecution’s failure to disclose all the relevant documents on time meant that defence’s cross examination of the prosecution’s witnesses could not proceed this week.

Moti defence counsel challenges Australian Federal Police witness

By Patrick O’Connor, 20 October 2009

Australian Federal Police agent Peter Bond was cross examined yesterday in the Queensland Supreme Court case brought by former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti.

Australia: Rudd intervenes to block Tamil asylum-seekers

By Richard Phillips, 17 October 2009

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s response to the Tamil refugees is completely predictable and reflects the views of the entire political establishment, from the crisis ridden Liberal-National coalition to the corporate media and the unions.

Australian Federal Police disclose 1,500 pages of documents in Julian Moti case

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 October 2009

On Thursday morning, Moti’s counsel Jim Kennan SC explained that in the previous 48 hours, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) had handed over more than 1,500 pages of documents.

New Zealand workers face deepening assault on jobs and conditions

By Chris Ross and John Braddock, 16 October 2009

Over the past two months, workers in New Zealand have faced an intensifying barrage of attacks on their jobs, wages, and working conditions.

Australia: Contradictory witness testimonies in Julian Moti hearing

By Patrick O’Connor, 15 October 2009

The Queensland Supreme Court resumed hearings yesterday on the application by former Solomon Islands’ attorney general Julian Moti, for a permanent stay of proceedings in the attempt by Australian prosecuting authorities to try him on charges relating to statutory rape allegations that were discharged by a Vanuatu magistrate in 1998.

Australia: Productivity Commission report rules out curbing executive pay

By Terry Cook, 13 October 2009

A recently released report by Australia’s Productivity Commission into CEO salaries has opposed any significant restraint on the multi-million dollar remuneration packages.

Australian government deports Sri Lankan asylum-seekers

By Richard Phillips, 12 October 2009

In line with the previous Liberal-National coalition administration, the Australian Labor government has begun deporting refugees it claims do not qualify as asylum-seekers.

SEP public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne

Seventy years since World War II: lessons and warnings

8 October 2009

The SEP/ISSE meetings will discuss the historical lessons of World War II. That terrible conflagration was not inevitable. It was above all the product of the treachery of Social Democracy and Stalinism, which betrayed the working class and enabled capitalism to survive the revolutionary convulsions of the preceding period.

The Australian Labor Party and the war in Afghanistan

By Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 7 October 2009

Since its election in November 2007, the Rudd Labor government has escalated Australian military involvement in the Afghan conflict. Just as Afghanistan is now referred to as Obama’s war, so it has become Rudd’s war.

Pacific tsunami relief efforts grossly inadequate

By Tom Peters, 7 October 2009

In absolute terms the number of people affected by the tsunami in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga is small, but, per capita, the level of destruction is enormous.

Australia: The assassination of Michael McGurk and the stench of NSW Labor

By Alex Messenger, 5 October 2009

Revelations arising from the murder of Sydney loan-shark Michael McGurk highlight links between NSW Labor and an underworld of property moguls and violent criminals.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

3 October 2009

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

Australia: The political issues facing Victorian paramedics

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 1 October 2009

A “no” vote must be the first step towards a coordinated industrial and political campaign mounted in opposition to the grossly inadequate salaries and dangerous working conditions endured by ambulance workers, and in defence of the public health system as a whole.

Australian government lawyers demand Guantánamo compensation case be stopped to protect US alliance

By Richard Phillips, 29 September 2009

The government has intensified its efforts to stop Mamdouh Habib, a 53-year-old Australian citizen and father of four, from suing over its role in his illegal detention and torture in Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay between 2001 and 2005.

Severe dust storm hits Australian coastal cities

By Alex Safari, 29 September 2009

A huge dust storm blanketed large areas of Australia’s southeastern coast last Wednesday, covering cities and towns in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, before moving out to sea towards New Zealand.

“Fair Work Australia”: A union-enforced straitjacket on workers

By Mike Head, 26 September 2009

The trade unions are enforcing Labor’s industrial legislation that goes far beyond the previous government’s “Work Choices” laws in prohibiting nearly all strikes.

The Australian media and the Julian Moti case

By Patrick O’Connor, 24 September 2009

The Australian media has imposed an effective blackout on proceedings brought before the Queensland Supreme Court by former Solomon Islands’ Attorney General Julian Moti.