Australia and South Pacific

Australian government planning to reopen strategic Papua New Guinea naval base

By Mike Head, 21 September 2018

The return of the Australian and US navies to Manus Island would be a significant preparation for a US-led war against China.

New Zealand government extends troop deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan

By Tom Peters, 21 September 2018

The announcement that troops will remain in Iraq and Afghanistan further demolishes claims that the NZ Labour Party-NZ First-Greens coalition government is a “progressive” alternative.

Australia’s financial newspaper warns of another global crash

By Mike Head, 19 September 2018

The prospect of a financial meltdown is propelling a drive to refashion the political establishment to suppress the anticipated eruption of working-class unrest.

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 calls royal commission into aged care but numerous reports have already exposed major crisis

By Clare Bruderlin, 17 September 2018

Neglect, mistreatment and shocking conditions are an everyday reality for many now living in residential aged care.

Australian unions amass wealth as membership plummets

By Mike Head, 14 September 2018

The transformation of the unions into corporate operations cannot be explained by corruption and it is not unique to Australia.

Australia: Union calls one-day stoppage at University of Newcastle

By John Harris, 14 September 2018

The National Tertiary Education Union’s demands centre on maintaining the “consultative” and “committee” structures through which it has helped management impose restructuring and job cuts.

Chelsea Manning speaks in New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 13 September 2018

After being denied entry to Australia, Manning spoke to audiences in New Zealand about her decision to leak US military documents, her time in prison and her political activism over the past year.

British nationalist Nigel Farage addresses co-thinkers in Australia

By James Cogan, 13 September 2018

Farage was sponsored by corporate interests and welcomed by prominent powerbrokers within the governing Liberal Party.

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.”

Australia: Reject NTEU sellout at Macquarie University! For a unified national struggle against cuts!

By the Committee For Public Education, 13 September 2018

The rush for a vote on the union-negotiated agreement is a warning of its thrust and content.

Pacific Islands Forum intensifies anti-China push

By John Braddock, 12 September 2018

The forum’s enhanced “regional security” agreement signals deepening tensions in the Pacific between Washington and its allies, Australia and New Zealand, and Beijing.

Australia: The pseudo-left Victorian Socialists and its pro-capitalist election manifesto

By Patrick O’Connor, 12 September 2018

What is underway ahead of the November state election is a somewhat desperate effort by the pseudo-left to revive illusions in Labor, the Greens and the trade unions.

Poor and unhealthy: Australia’s artists in social free-fall

By Kaye Tucker, 12 September 2018

Professional performing artists and support crews have a 74-year average life expectancy, ten years less than the general Australian population.

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.

Home loan stress threatening millions of households in Australia

By Mike Head, 7 September 2018

Nearly one in four households are already “mortgage prisoners”—trapped in debt while house values are falling.

Australia: Factory fire sends toxic smoke over western Melbourne

By Eric Ludlow, 7 September 2018

Authorities tried to reassure concerned residents, but hundreds of dead fish, eels and birds have been found in nearby waterways.

Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) forum reviews lessons of nursing union sellout

By our reporter, 7 September 2018

Participants discussed the need for health workers to rebel against the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, build rank-and-file committees and unite with workers internationally, based on a socialist perspective.

SEP Australia public meeting in Sydney: The key political issues behind the coup against Turnbull

6 September 2018

As international relations and parliamentary forms of rule break down, the ruling elite is terrified of the growing left-wing sentiment among workers and young people.

Family speaks to World Socialist Web Site

Unanswered questions surround the suicide of Australian paramedic Tony Jenkins

By Cheryl Crisp and John Mackay, 6 September 2018

On April 9, the 28-year veteran paramedic took his own life within two hours of being called into a meeting with New South Wales Ambulance senior managers.

Australian unions exploit childcare strike to promote Labor

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 September 2018

The Sydney protest was effectively an election rally for the Labor Party, which has spearheaded the privatisation of childcare.

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.

Severe drought hits large regions of Australia

By Frank Gaglioti, 5 September 2018

Government indifference has exacerbated the plight of many farmers and rural communities that are reeling under the dry conditions.

Australian media promotes right-wing Steve Bannon and calls for confrontation with China

By James Cogan, 4 September 2018

The logic of Bannon’s positions is a devastating military conflict.

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.”

Australia: Aurizon coal train crews face union sell-out

By Patrick Davies, 1 September 2018

The Rail Tram and Bus Union is working to conclude yet another regressive enterprise agreement covering coal haulage crews in the Hunter Valley.

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.”

Conflicts inside Liberal Party shed light on lurch to right in Australian government

By Mike Head, 31 August 2018

In a clear overture to the right faction, Morrison has appointed Tony Abbott to a newly-created position of “special envoy on indigenous affairs.”

US ambassador praises New Zealand’s Pacific “reset”

By John Braddock, 30 August 2018

Brown’s comments are an enthusiastic endorsement of Labour’s strengthening of New Zealand’s support for Washington’s drive to war against both China and Russia.

National Party seeks to prevent Chelsea Manning from entering New Zealand

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 30 August 2018

The National Party’s attempt to bar Manning, who exposed war crimes committed by the US, is part of a worldwide assault on free speech and other democratic rights.

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.

New Australian government to intensify pro-US militarism and class war

By James Cogan, 29 August 2018

The policies being rolled out underscore the fact that one of the objectives behind ousting Turnbull was to refashion the Liberal Party into a far more right-wing movement.

Whistleblowers expose Australian government crimes at Nauru refugee camp

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 August 2018

Medical professionals have warned that children suffering severe mental illness are at risk of dying at the Australian-operated detention centre.

Ex-Australian prime minister to quit, leaving government in minority

By Mike Head, 28 August 2018

Turnbull’s decision underscores the fragility of the Liberal-National Coalition government, as well as the intensity of the rifts tearing it apart.

Reports point to growing social inequality in Australia

By John Harris, 28 August 2018

As elsewhere globally, the wealth of Australia’s richest has swollen over the past two decades, alongside mounting financial stress for millions of people.

Australian state Labor government intervenes to prevent industrial action by Esso workers

By Terry Cook, 28 August 2018

The Victorian government is seeking to push the long-running dispute at ExxonMobil’s offshore operations back into arbitration.

New Australian prime minister forms cabinet after endorsement from Washington

By James Cogan, 27 August 2018

The political turmoil is the outcome of mounting geostrategic tensions between the US and China, and immense popular disaffection with the parliamentary establishment.

New Zealand transport workers’ jobs and conditions under attack

By our correspondents, 25 August 2018

Rail and bus workers face a sustained assault by companies hired by the Greater Wellington Regional Council to run passenger services.

Bangladesh jute mill workers demonstrate; Paradip port workers strike in Orissa

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

25 August 2018

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

Sixth Australian prime minister ousted in 11 years

By Mike Head, 24 August 2018

A political and ideological schism has opened up in the Liberal Party, driven by the disintegration of the post-war global order.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation lashes out at critics on social media

By Tom Peters, 24 August 2018

The union posted an inflammatory statement on Facebook aimed at intimidating opposition to its sellout of health workers.

Australian prime minister faces ouster by extreme-right faction

By Mike Head, 23 August 2018

Whatever the immediate outcome of this turmoil, the schism tearing apart the ruling Liberal-National Coalition will worsen.

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 government near collapse as Liberal Party lurches to the extreme right

By James Cogan, 22 August 2018

The Liberal Party, along with sections of the rural-based National Party, is in the process of being refashioned into a Trump-style movement.

Australian university union leaders quit amid escalating sellouts

By Mike Head, 22 August 2018

The NTEU is facing increasing disaffection as it assists managements to impose real wage reductions, greater casualisation and heavier workloads.

Prime minister barely survives leadership challenge in Australia

By Mike Head and James Cogan, 21 August 2018

The constant factor in the turmoil of official Australian politics has been political tensions arising from ever more volatile international geo-strategic and economic conflicts.

Australian thunderstorm asthma deaths inquest reveals health system breakdown

By Margaret Rees, 20 August 2018

Triple 0 callers were told an ambulance was on the way when it had not been dispatched.

Lessons of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s sellout: Build rank-and-file committees! Unite the working class against the Labour government!

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 18 August 2018

The sellout of the nurses’ struggle by the union bureaucracy raises the need for rank-and-file committees and a fight to unite the working class against austerity and for socialism.

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.

Alcoa workers strike in Western Australia

By Terry Cook, 18 August 2018

The stoppage expresses growing opposition to the corporate giant’s global cost-cutting operation.

Australian government facing defeat over energy policy and company tax cuts

By Mike Head, 17 August 2018

It is clear from the events of this week that the government’s two signature policies are in tatters.

Australia: Transport union cancels Victorian bus drivers strike

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 August 2018

The TWU’s suppression of the stoppage was the outcome of a sordid back-room conspiracy, involving the union, the companies and the Victorian state Labor government.

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.

China set to become largest aid donor to Pacific

By John Braddock, 15 August 2018

The ruling elites in Australia and New Zealand, the local imperialist powers that act in concert with Washington, view China’s rise as a threat to their interests.

Australia: Victorian bus drivers to strike over pay and conditions

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 August 2018

The strike expresses mounting anger among transport workers across the country over the consequences of a privatisation agenda imposed by Labor and Liberal-National governments.

Australia: Socialist Alternative promotes right-wing Labor leader Bill Shorten

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 August 2018

Amid a deepening crisis of the political establishment, the pseudo-left organisations are seeking to channel growing discontent back behind Labor and the unions.

Australian prime minister delivers an anxious speech on relations with China

By Mike Head, 13 August 2018

There is evident alarm that the Trump administration’s protectionism could have flow-on effects for Australian exporters and throw into doubt Washington’s global reliability.

Inquest shows Australian governments directly responsible for refugee’s death

By Max Newman, 10 August 2018

Coroner rules Hamid Khazaei’s death was a “preventable” outcome of “the policy of offshore processing.”

Australian hospital staff have to raise money for patients’ basic needs

By E. Ballesteros, 9 August 2018

Footscray Hospital is one of three acute and sub-acute hospitals managed servicing a major working-class region of the Victorian state capital.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation rams through sellout pay deal

By John Braddock and Tom Peters, 8 August 2018

The union is trying to present the agreement, which fails to address the crisis in the public health system, as a victory.

Australia: Telstra seeks to slash wages after announcing massive job cuts

By Terry Cook, 8 August 2018

The communications company is pushing a new enterprise agreement containing wage rises well below rapidly rising inflation.

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.

Business leaders look to Labor Party after by-elections shake Australian government

By Mike Head, 3 August 2018

Confronted by growing social and political unrest, corporate executives are preparing to pursue their interests via a Labor government.

Australia: Nine-Fairfax Media merger threatens jobs

By Oscar Grenfell, 3 August 2018

The deal marks a new stage in a protracted restructuring of corporate media organisations, dictated by the financial elite.

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.

New Zealand nurses express frustration, anger in union broadcast

By our reporters, 2 August 2018

The union’s online event was a desperate attempt to sell the latest, widely opposed deal and shut down the rebellion among nurses.

Australian government promises changes to My Health Records following widespread opposition

By Cheryl Crisp, 2 August 2018

The “opt out” health database faces mounting public concern over official and corporate surveillance.

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 by-elections underscore deepening alienation from political establishment

By Mike Head, 30 July 2018

Despite large swings against the government, the opposition Labor Party’s vote barely rose from its historic lows.

Australia: Report reveals “Harvest Trail” exploitation of overseas workers

By Hugh Peters, 30 July 2018

The exploitative practices are the outcome of the gutting of permanent jobs by employers and successive governments, assisted by the trade unions.

Australian by-elections threaten to deepen political instability

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 July 2018

The five simultaneous elections are part of a mounting crisis of the official parliamentary establishment.

US and Australian ministers agree to intensify military integration against China

By Mike Head, 26 July 2018

The joint AUSMIN statement reaffirmed a “steadfast and enduring” alliance dating back to World War I.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation presents fifth sell-out pay offer

By John Braddock, 26 July 2018

The latest offer to public hospital nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives is virtually identical to offers they rejected before the July 12 nationwide strike.

Australian government boosts pro-US institutes on eve of ministerial talks in California

By Mike Head, 25 July 2018

Having just enacted draconian “foreign interference” bills, the government has now handed millions of dollars to think-tanks devoted to pro-US propaganda.

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.

New Zealand bus drivers take action over work rosters

By our correspondents, 24 July 2018

Bus drivers are facing attacks on jobs, wages and conditions by private operators contracted by the Labour Party-led Wellington Council.

Imminent threat to Julian Assange underscores need for global defence movement

By Mike Head, 23 July 2018

Plans are afoot to subject the WikiLeaks editor to lengthy imprisonment by the British authorities, pending extradition to the US.

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.

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.

New Zealand Labour-aligned Daily Blog posts pro-war, anti-China tirade

By John Braddock, 20 July 2018

The on-line blog hails the government’s military upgrade in preparation to join US-led aggression against China.

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.

Australia: Another fire at Melbourne recycling plant

By Eric Ludlow, 18 July 2018

Toxic blazes continue to erupt at Australian recycling plants as companies stockpile tonnes of dangerous waste material.

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.

New Zealand foreign minister: “Great Power competition is back”

By John Braddock, 17 July 2018

Peters’ speech underscored the strengthening alliance between the Labour-led government and the US in confronting China across the Asia-Pacific.

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.

Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) holds online health workers’ meeting

By our reporters, 17 July 2018

The SEG’s forum, which included New Zealand and Australian workers, discussed the political lessons of the July 12 strike by 30,000 nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives.

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.

Australian royal commission reveals predatory bank lending to small businesses

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 July 2018

Testimony made clear that the banks routinely provided dubious loans that they knew small business owners and franchisees would have little chance of servicing.

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.

Australia: Inquest into Dreamworld tragedy reveals health and safety violations

By Richard Phillips, 13 July 2018

A few months before the fatal October 2016 accident, company officials ordered staff to stop spending money on repairs and maintenance.

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: Victorian bus drivers strike over wages and conditions

By our reporters, 13 July 2018

The Transport Workers Union has previously solicited donations from the bus company that it fraudulently claims to be leading a struggle against.

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.

Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) to hold online forum: The way forward for nurses and health workers

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 11 July 2018

The online meeting will discuss a socialist strategy to fight for decent and well-funded public health services, in opposition to the Labour Party-led government and the nurses’ union.

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.