Democratic rights under attack in Australia

Whistleblowers Australia denounces new “foreign interference” laws

By Richard Phillips, 21 July 2018

“Society is literally screaming out for more openness and accountability in all sectors.”

Australia’s “foreign influence” register will attack basic democratic rights

By Mike Head, 20 July 2018

The FITS Act will require registration by all individuals and organisations deemed to collaborate with overseas entities in any political activity.

Australia’s new espionage laws target whistleblowers and political opponents

By Mike Head, 19 July 2018

The “anti-interference” legislation goes far beyond spying by foreign agents.

Australian PM promotes racist campaign over “African gangs”

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 July 2018

Malcolm Turnbull’s remarks are part of a broader attempt to whip up nationalism and anti-immigrant xenophobia.

Australian government prepares “foreign interference” prosecutions

By Mike Head, 17 July 2018

Australia’s political establishment, under mounting pressure from Washington to take a more aggressive stand against China, is already selecting targets to test the new laws.

SEP (Australia) holds Sydney meeting against new “foreign interference” laws

By our reporters, 17 July 2018

The Sydney meeting was the first public event held by an Australian political party against the anti-democratic legislation since it was rushed through parliament late last month.

British and Ecuadorian authorities in talks to evict Julian Assange from London embassy

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 July 2018

Media reports point to the ongoing conspiracy, involving the British, US and Ecuadorian governments, to terminate Assange’s political asylum in violation of international law.

In the name of combating foreign interference

Australia’s new secrecy laws block exposure of government crimes

By Mike Head, 14 July 2018

The government is seeking to prevent access to critical information that the public has the right to know.

Australian lawyers association warns foreign interference laws violate rights to free speech

By Richard Phillips, 13 July 2018

“This type of regulation of civil society is a prominent feature of repressive regimes. It is not a feature of open democracies.”

Australia’s new “foreign interference” laws: A threat to anti-war dissent

By Mike Head, 12 July 2018

The unprecedented laws were demanded by Washington as a model for legislation to demonise and suppress opposition to war, particularly against China.

Ultra-nationalist US demagogue Stephen Bannon hails Australia’s new foreign interference laws

By James Cogan, 11 July 2018

The legislation is particularly admired by America’s far right, the Trump administration and the US military-intelligence establishment.

Amnesty International denounces Australia’s “foreign interference” laws

By Richard Phillips, 10 July 2018

“The core message from Amnesty International on these laws is that we will not be changing the way we operate.”

Australia’s foreign interference laws threaten whistleblowers and media freedom

By James Cogan, 9 July 2018

In 2010, Assange and WikiLeaks had committed no crime for informing millions about US war crimes. Today, under the new legislation, such courageous actions could attract a penalty of decades in jail.

Following passage of “foreign interference” laws

Australia pushes Pacific Pact to combat China

By Mike Head, 7 July 2018

The two regional imperialist powers are seeking to shore up their dominance in the southwest Pacific, in partnership with the US.

Australian business heads warned not to criticise “foreign interference” laws

By Mike Head, 6 July 2018

In a sign of the government’s rush to enforce the new laws, they were given royal assent on June 29, just a day after being passed.

Persecution of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange continues

By James Cogan, 5 July 2018

The US, British and Australian governments are utilising the Ecuadorian government to try and break Assange by denying him any external communication or visitors.

Australian teenager sentenced to 12 years in prison on trumped-up terror charges

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 July 2018

The case is the latest in a series of high-profile “terror” prosecutions which have not revealed any specific terror attack or plan.

SEP to hold meetings in Melbourne and Newcastle on new “foreign interference” laws: A move towards dictatorship and war

3 July 2018

The new legislation has been imposed amidst xenophobic hysteria in the parliament and the media over “Chinese influence” and “interference.”

Australia: Biloela residents continue protests against deportation of Tamil refugee family

By Max Newman, 2 July 2018

A campaign by the people of a small rural Queensland town has brought to light the horrors of Australia’s anti-refugee regime.

Ex-spy and lawyer face jail for exposing Australian bugging operation in East Timor

By Mike Head, 30 June 2018

The ruling establishment regards the exposure of the illegal surveillance as a threat to the US-led “Five Eyes” global spy network.

Anti-China “foreign interference” bills rammed through Australian parliament

By Mike Head, 29 June 2018

Totalling some 150 pages, the two bills constitute a far-reaching assault on fundamental legal and democratic rights.

US Democratic senators demand eviction of Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy

By James Cogan, 28 June 2018

Leading Democratic senators, including Diane Feinstein and Mark Warner, have declared they are “extremely concerned about Ecuador providing asylum for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

Another suicide in Australian immigration prison camp

By Max Newman, 27 June 2018

A tragic death shows how desperate and vulnerable people are being deliberately subjected to inhuman conditions to deter others from seeking asylum in Australia.

Bipartisan bid to push through Australian “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 26 June 2018

The bills could be used to outlaw opposition to Australian involvement in any US-led military intervention, particularly a confrontation with China.

Australian vigils held in defence of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 20 June 2018

Speaking in Melbourne, SEP national secretary James Cogan indicted the Australian political and media establishment for their attacks on Assange and called for a turn to the working class.

Australian government denies palliative care to dying refugee

By Max Newman, 19 June 2018

Successive Australian governments have pioneered many of the brutal measures now being taken in Europe and the US.

The Turnbull government must act to repatriate Australian citizen Julian Assange to Australia

By James Cogan, 19 June 2018

This speech was delivered by James Cogan, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Australia, to a rally organised by the SEP in defence of Julian Assange last Sunday in Sydney.

Bringing Julian Assange Home

By John Pilger, 19 June 2018

Addressing last Sunday's SEP rally in Sydney, well-known filmmaker and documentarian, John Pilger exposed the role of Labor and Coalition governments, along with prominent journalists and editors in the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange.

More voices from the Sydney rally to free Julian Assange

By our reporters, 19 June 2018

“Freedom of thought and expression is what this kind of rally brings. They’re trying to make an example out of Assange to silence all of us.”

Austria closes mosques and deports imams

By Markus Salzmann, 14 June 2018

The measure is a fundamental attack on the freedom of religion and expression and serves to stir up anti-Islamic and xenophobic sentiments.

Australian government demands fast-track passage of anti-democratic “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 14 June 2018

The anti-China offensive sees a bipartisan front to ram through powers to crack down on political dissent.

A welcome development:

Actor Geoffrey Rush to return to stage with Melbourne Theatre Company

By Richard Phillips, 14 June 2018

Rush, the target of unsubstantiated allegations by Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, will play Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

New report reveals Assange under 24/7 surveillance in Ecuadoran embassy

By Eric London, 13 June 2018

The Spanish El Diario writes: “The government of Ecuador spied on every movement of Julian Assange in its embassy in London.”

Artists Tony Garnett, Davide Dormino and Costantino Ciervo demand freedom for Julian Assange

13 June 2018

Film and TV producer Tony Garnett said defending Julian Assange “is part of the fight for freedom, for the rights of the individual against state oppression.”

Committee For Public Education urges participation in June 17 Assange rally

13 June 2018

The governments attempting to silence Assange are attacking the right of students and educators to a fully-resourced public education.

Demands grow that Australian government act to free Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 12 June 2018

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson insisted that the Turnbull government can and must intervene on behalf of the WikiLeaks editor.

Australian government has obligation to protect Julian Assange

By Richard Hoffman, 11 June 2018

The Turnbull government must exercise its discretion to request from Britain the safe passage of Julian Assange to Australia.

Australian officials visit Julian Assange as campaign to free him expands

By James Cogan, 9 June 2018

The meeting occurred within the context of a growing international campaign to defend the WikiLeaks’ editor.

Julian Assange named as threat

Australian “foreign interference” bills seek to protect “US secrets”

By Mike Head, 9 June 2018

Andrew Hastie’s comments underscore the intense pressure being applied to the Turnbull government by the US military-intelligence establishment.

Professor Stuart Rees, former director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, calls for Assange’s liberty

9 June 2018

“Julian Assange has worked tirelessly to support free speech and to expose abuses of power by governments.”

US demands swift passage of Australian “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 8 June 2018

US officials “sought assurances” of parliamentary support for the laws directed against China and free speech.

US activist Kevin Zeese calls for demonstrations against the persecution of Julian Assange

6 June 2018

“Freedom of speech and freedom of the press is being defined by the treatment of Julian Assange.”

Free Julian Assange! Support the June 19 vigil in London

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 6 June 2018

Workers and young people must demand that the Conservative government of Theresa May end its persecution of Assange, drop the bail-related issues against him and allow him to leave the embassy and, if he chooses, the UK, without fear of arrest.

Journalist Antony Loewenstein: “Heavy pressure” needed to win freedom and justice for Assange

6 June 2018

The following statement was sent by journalist and filmmaker Antony Loewenstein, a consistent defender of WikiLeaks.

Ecuadorian foreign minister asserts treatment of Assange is “not censorship”

By James Cogan, 5 June 2018

Assange is not only being censored, but faces imminent danger of being forced into the hands of his persecutors.

John Pilger and Courage Foundation announce “urgent campaign” to free Assange

5 June 2018

The Courage Foundation, which raises funds for the legal defence of persecuted whistleblowers and journalists, has endorsed protests and vigils in defence of Julian Assange later this month.

Terry Hicks, father of former Guantánamo Bay prisoner David Hicks, supports Julian Assange

5 June 2018

“We pulled apart all the government and media lies and character assassination against David and we never gave up. This is what we have to do for Assange.”

Lawyer Julian Burnside endorses June 17 Sydney demonstration for Assange’s freedom

4 June 2018

“The Turnbull government must help Julian Assange now. He must be helped to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy without being arrested.”

Australian government vows to pass “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 2 June 2018

Thousands of people could be forced to list themselves on a register because they communicate with “foreign” individuals or groups.

Australian “terrorist weapon” was a modified fly swatter

By Mike Head, 1 June 2018

The belated police admission raises further questions about the supposed bomb plot and the “war on terror.”

The working class must mobilize to free Julian Assange!

By Andre Damon, 30 May 2018

The demand for the freedom of Julian Assange must be connected to the developing international movement of workers against inequality, oppression and exploitation.

Demand freedom for Julian Assange! Join the demonstration in Sydney on June 17!

By James Cogan, 29 May 2018

Assange’s situation stems directly from the Australian government’s refusal to protect one of its citizens.

John Pilger endorses June 17 Sydney demonstration in defence of Julian Assange

29 May 2018

“Julian is a courageous editor persecuted for exercising a right enshrined in the United States Constitution.”

Australia’s spy chief demands passage of “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 28 May 2018

ASIO's Director-General Duncan Lewis is a key figure in the security apparatus, which operates as a “deep state” within ruling circles.

Australian government delays by-elections for nine weeks

By Mike Head, 26 May 2018

Four of the five by-elections result from the latest “dual citizenship” disqualifications—a witch-hunt that is ousting from parliament anyone deemed to lack sole loyalty to the nation.

Australian workers and youth defend Julian Assange

By our reporters, 21 May 2018

The support for Assange stands in stark contrast to the venomous hostility to the WikiLeaks editor from governments and the corporate media.

Australian government rules out referendum as dual citizenship crisis escalates

By Mike Head and James Cogan, 19 May 2018

The Coalition government has moved to make it even more difficult to prove “unqualified allegiance” to Australia

Australian unions promote Labor Party at “Change the Rules” rally in Melbourne

By our reporters, 11 May 2018

Between 60,000 and 100,000 workers marched in central Melbourne.

Australian High Court citizenship ruling disqualifies five more MPs

By Mike Head, 10 May 2018

The ruling takes to a new level a purge of parliament to clear out anyone lacking “unqualified allegiance” to Australia.

Australia: Melbourne university staff strike to defend academic freedom

By Patrick O’Connor, 7 May 2018

Through the “reforms” of successive Labor and Liberal-National governments, universities have been transformed into privatised and corporatised entities.

Leaked documents expose plans for internal surveillance by Australia’s electronic spy agency

By Mike Head, 2 May 2018

The leaks point to the preoccupation of the ruling class with monitoring and suppressing mounting domestic disaffection and unrest.

After Washington briefings, Australian Labor Party reiterates support for “foreign interference” bills

By Mike Head, 27 April 2018

Just as another anti-China scare campaign was launched, Labor’s shadow foreign affairs minister emphasised its backing for the measures directed against China and anti-war dissent.

Australian workers and youth denounce persecution of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 23 April 2018

The sentiments of ordinary people stand in stark contrast to the actions of the official parliamentary parties, which are all complicit in the attacks on WikiLeaks and Assange.

Geoffrey Rush defamation case: Australian judge dismisses newspaper’s latest defence

By Richard Phillips, 23 April 2018

Friday’s ruling is another legal setback for the Murdoch-owned Daily Telegraph and the #MeToo campaign’s contempt for democratic principles.

Australian meetings to call for Julian Assange’s freedom

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 20 April 2018

The Australian political and media establishment bears major responsibility for the outrages perpetrated against Julian Assange.

Australian asylum seekers stripped of minimal welfare payments

By Max Newman, 11 April 2018

As of this month, over 12,000 refugees are at risk of being left destitute and forced to return to the countries they fled.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: 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 Labor Party parliamentarian resigns over dual citizenship furore

By Patrick O’Connor, 5 February 2018

David Feeney’s case underscores the reactionary character of the ongoing witch hunt.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Australian government continues deportations of New Zealanders

By Tom Peters, 17 January 2018

New Zealanders who have spent most of their lives in Australia are being detained and expelled for minor offences or on “character” grounds.

Australian media promotes fascists amid growing racist hysteria over “African gangs”

By Patrick Kelly, 16 January 2018

Channel 7 news aired an “exclusive” report on a meeting of fascistic organisations, promoting their vigilantism as “a kind of neighbourhood watch.”

Australian workers, youth speak out against witch-hunt over “African gangs”

By our reporters, 13 January 2018

World Socialist Web Site reporters conducted interviews about the xenophobic “anti-gang” campaign being fuelled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government, in tandem with the Murdoch media.

Australian government spent $4 billion last year repelling or detaining refugees

By Max Newman, 12 January 2018

Budget estimates reveal the massive cost of Australia’s anti-asylum measures.

Australian government promotes racist diversion over so-called “African gangs”

By Patrick Kelly, 5 January 2018

Turnbull has sent a clear message that his government’s agenda for 2018 will consist of draconian new “law and order” measures, along with nationalist and racist hysteria.

Australian police handed more military weaponry

By John Roberts, 30 December 2017

The provision of assault rifles to the New South Wales riot squad is part of an international process of police militarisation to deal with growing social tensions.

Australian dramatic arts workers defend Geoffrey Rush, denounce #MeToo witch-hunt

By our reporters, 29 December 2017

“There’s nothing progressive about the #MeToo campaign. Its methods attack long established legal rights.”

First “foreign fighter” arrest in Australia

By Mike Head, 23 December 2017

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton seized upon Betka’s arrest to justify the creation of the government’s “security” super-ministry.

Australian university overturns student union election result

By Will Morrow, 22 December 2017

The University of Wollongong administration’s intervention is part of a broader crackdown on students’ democratic rights across the country.

Australian government returns refugees to Sri Lanka

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 December 2017

Successive Labor and Liberal-National governments have forcibly deported asylum-seekers to Colombo, where they face imprisonment and torture.

Beijing warns against Australia’s anti-China campaign

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 December 2017

The Chinese regime is fearful that the Australian government’s draconian “foreign interference” legislation could be used as a precedent by the US and its allies.

Australian Labor senator resigns amid anti-China witch-hunt

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 December 2017

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

Anti-China witch-hunt in Australia escalates

By Peter Symonds, 11 December 2017

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

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

By our reporters, 11 December 2017

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

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

By Richard Phillips and Linda Tenenbaum, 9 December 2017

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

Stephen Sewell denounces media witch-hunt against Geoffrey Rush

By Richard Phillips, 9 December 2017

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