Democratic rights under attack in Australia

The Australian Labor Party and the persecution of Julian Assange

By James Cogan, 13 December 2018

Far from protecting the “safety” of an Australian overseas, Labor has lined up completely with Washington and placed itself at the forefront of the attack on the WikiLeaks publisher.

Witch hunt in Australia against Chinese-born parliamentarian

By Peter Symonds, 12 December 2018

The smears and innuendo against Pierre Yang are part of a campaign aimed at silencing any criticism or opposition to the escalating US war drive against China.

Australian university moves to sack academic critical of Israeli and US wars

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 December 2018

The University of Sydney’s suspension of Tim Anderson is aimed at intimidating students and academics opposed to escalating militarism and war.

The Guardian attack on Assange exposed as politically-motivated fabrication

By James Cogan, 6 December 2018

The lack of any case against WikiLeaks explains the scurrilous allegations by the Guardian newspaper last week.

Australian government to impose encryption-cracking bill with Labor’s support

By Mike Head, 6 December 2018

The anti-democratic legislation hands extraordinary powers to the spy and police forces, setting a global precedent for accessing computers and encrypted private data.

Australian government censors university research funding

By Mike Head, 5 December 2018

As well as vetoing peer-reviewed research grants, the government has imposed a more stringent “national interest” test.

Australian Labor Party helps disintegrating government impose repressive laws

By Mike Head, 1 December 2018

Labor is working hand-in-glove with the Liberal-National Coalition to push through a series of draconian laws.

Australian parliamentary inquiry discusses intensifying internet censorship

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 November 2018

The hearing pointed to the political establishment seeking to suppress mounting opposition to war, austerity and authoritarianism.

Australian government accelerates anti-democratic “foreign influence” register

By Mike Head, 26 November 2018

The legislation is aimed at criminalising opposition to Australia’s central role in the US-led preparations for war with China.

Australia: Riot police tear-gas youth at Don Dale juvenile prison

By Martin Scott, 23 November 2018

The Northern Territory facility, repeatedly deemed unfit for children, has been the scene of years of state-sanctioned abuse and violence.

Bipartisan push to ramp up police powers after Australia’s latest “terror” attack

By Mike Head, 21 November 2018

Amid another anti-Muslim scare campaign, the Labor Party defended its “fine record of bipartisanship on national security.”

Australian establishment collaborates in US vendetta against Julian Assange

By James Cogan, 20 November 2018

The sealed US charges underscore the danger facing Assange and the perfidy of those who support his persecution.

Defend Julian Assange against US charges!

By James Cogan, 17 November 2018

The relentless persecution of Assange is intended to intimidate and silence all critical and independent journalists and media organisations, as well as would-be whistleblowers.

Geoffrey Rush’s lawyer slams “gutter journalism” in Sydney defamation trial

By Linda Tenenbaum and Richard Phillips, 15 November 2018

Bruce McClintock SC likened the methods of the Daily Telegraph to those of newspapers published by Lords Rothermere and Beaverbrook, as described by British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in 1931.

Australian prime minister dismisses renewed calls to defend Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 8 November 2018

Morrison’s remarks are the first direct statement by the government of its support for the drive by the US government to get its hands on the WikiLeaks publisher.

Judge rejects push by Daily Telegraph to amend its defence in Geoffrey Rush defamation suit

By Linda Tenenbaum, 6 November 2018

Justice Wigney sharply warned that the presence of a previously unheard of witness would “egregiously prejudice Mr Rush.”

Ecuador’s government cuts off all access to Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 2 November 2018

The ban is another warning of the Moreno government’s preparations to terminate the WikiLeaks publisher’s asylum.

Australia declares China a threat to military-related university research and infrastructure

By Mike Head, 1 November 2018

A report by the government-funded Australian Strategic Policy Institute alleges that Chinese military-linked researchers are working “undercover” in US and allied universities.

Spy and police chiefs demand passage of Australian encryption access law

By Mike Head, 29 October 2018

The heads of the “security” apparatus spoke on behalf of the US-led “Five Eyes” intelligence network, which conducts mass monitoring of the world’s population.

Geoffrey Rush defamation trial against Murdoch media begins in Sydney

By Linda Tenenbaum, 27 October 2018

Over the past nearly 50 years, Rush has won numerous awards, including the “Triple Crown;” helped establish the Australian Academy of Cinema, Theatre and Acting Arts; and in 2014 received an Order of Australia for Service to the Arts.

Ecuador to partially restore Julian Assange’s access to communications and visitors

By James Cogan, 15 October 2018

Ecuador’s decision does not end the danger Assange faces or his effective imprisonment inside the small embassy building in London.

Australian encryption bill becomes a global test case for surveillance

By Mike Head, 10 October 2018

Internet service providers would be compelled to facilitate the cracking of encryption codes.

Australia: “Terror case” against university employee falls apart

By Erika Zimmer, 2 October 2018

Nizamdeen, a 25 year-old business analyst, was released on bail after the prosecution admitted it could not link him to their main piece of “evidence.”

Julian Assange appoints new WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief

By Patrick O’Connor, 1 October 2018

Kristinn Hrafnsson’s appointment is testament to WikiLeaks’ invaluable contribution to genuine journalism.

Senior management implodes after exposure of government interference at Australia’s state-funded media

By Richard Phillips, 1 October 2018

Australian Broadcasting Corporation chairman Justin Milne demanded senior journalists be sacked in order to curry favour with the federal government.

Australia: Commemoration rally held for youth killed in racist attack

By our reporters, 27 September 2018

Liep Gony’s mother is clearly alarmed at the renewed government-media campaign scapegoating of youth of African origin.

Western Australia: Indigenous boys drown trying to escape police

By Richard Phillips, 19 September 2018

The two teenagers were so terrified of being taken into police custody that they tried to escape by swimming across a dangerous river.

Australian government and Labor Party back prosecution of whistleblower who revealed Timor bugging

By Mike Head, 15 September 2018

There is a bipartisan attempt to cover up and protect the operations of the Australian intelligence agencies.

Workers and youth oppose Australian government ban on Chelsea Manning

By our reporters, 13 September 2018

“The government wants to shut all dialogue down and uses the ogre of terrorism as a shield to do that.”

Australian parliament resumes for first time after leadership coup

By James Cogan, 11 September 2018

The Morrison government has flagged its loyalty to the US alliance and a common anti-China agenda.

Hundreds of Australian Aborigines killed in state custody

By Richard Phillips, 10 September 2018

Figures published last week by the Guardian reveal that over 400 Aborigines have died whilst in the custody of Australian police and prison officers since 1991.

US whistleblower Chelsea Manning defies ban to speak in Australia

By Linda Tenenbaum, 5 September 2018

“Once you’re immersed in a war zone, you realise that it isn’t statistics anymore. These were human lives and flaws and all of the vulnerabilities that people have.”

“Five Eyes” summit in Australia ramps up internet censorship

By Mike Head, 5 September 2018

Ministers from the US-led global surveillance network revealed stepped-up measures against Chinese and Russian “foreign interference” and greater control over social media.

Australian government rushes to deport Vietnamese refugees

By Max Newman, 3 September 2018

After a manhunt in a Queensland rainforest, 17 Vietnamese men were rounded up for deportation “at the first available opportunity.”

Widespread opposition to Australian government ban on Chelsea Manning

By Oscar Grenfell and James Cogan, 31 August 2018

The attempt to prevent Manning visiting Australia followed a high-level meeting of the Five Eyes spying network, which called for a campaign against those who “sow discord.”

Oppose the ban on Chelsea Manning speaking in Australia!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 30 August 2018

The SEP demands that Manning be granted her visa and restates its demand for the unconditional freedom of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.

Australia: Footage reveals brutal prison murder of young Aboriginal man

By John Harris, 23 August 2018

The killing is the latest in a series of violent attacks perpetrated by prison officers.

Australian police killed mentally ill young woman seconds after arriving at scene

By Martin Scott, 18 August 2018

The Coroner’s Court was told that 42 percent of those shot by police in Australia between 1989 and 2011 were suffering from a mental illness.

Australian Daily Telegraph lawyers plead “truth defence” in Geoffrey Rush defamation case

By Richard Phillips, 16 August 2018

The Murdoch media empire is prepared to spend vast sums to defeat Rush’s defamation suit.

Right-wing senator calls for a “White Australia” immigration policy

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 August 2018

Fraser Anning’s diatribe is the logical outcome of the nationalist policies supported by the entire political establishment.

Australia: Youth protest racist “African gangs” campaign

By our reporters, 4 August 2018

African-Australian youth rally to denounce divisive hysteria whipped up by the political and media establishment.

SEP (Australia) holds public meetings opposing “foreign interference” laws

By our reporters, 4 August 2018

The meetings were the only events to warn of the anti-democratic implications of the legislation, and place it in the context of the preparations for war with China.

Julian Assange’s lawyer: Australian government has a “duty” to protect him

By Mike Head, 2 August 2018

Jennifer Robinson said the WikiLeaks editor wants to exercise his right to return to Australia, provided he is protected from extradition to the US.

Australian governments illegally sailed refugee boats to distant reef

By Max Newman, 1 August 2018

Successive governments flouted the law to declare asylum seekers “offshore arrivals.”

Geoffrey Rush’s lawyers argue newspaper’s allegations “motivated to harm” the actor

By Richard Phillips, 1 August 2018

Rush’s amended submission documents ongoing detrimental reportage by Murdoch publications.

Australian government pursues prosecution of East Timor espionage whistleblower and lawyer

By Patrick O’Connor, 31 July 2018

The prosecution of Collaery and Witness K is bound up with the wider drive toward a US-led military confrontation of China, which the Australian ruling elite is committed to supporting.

Australian Defence Department seeks expanded powers over research

By Mike Head, 24 July 2018

Universities would be placed under wartime-style scrutiny, prohibited from undertaking research with countries regarded as US enemies, especially China.

IYSSE blocked from leafleting at Australia’s Macquarie University

By Hugh Peters, 24 July 2018

The attack on democratic rights points to administration fears that years of cuts have produced seething discontent among students and staff.

Christine Assange, mother of WikiLeaks editor: “I’ve not been able to speak to my son for four months”

By Richard Phillips, 24 July 2018

“I say defend Julian, not just because I’m his mother, but as a citizen and someone who believes in democracy and freedom.”

Australia: Tamil refugee deported, separated from his wife and baby daughter

By Max Newman, 23 July 2018

The treatment of Gnaneswaran and his family is akin to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy by which children have been ripped away from their parents.

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 Brisbane meeting 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.”