Australia and South Pacific

Workers shut production in auto plants throughout Michigan and Ohio, in defiance of UAW and management

By Tom Hall, 18 March 2020

Workers at Fiat Chrysler’s Sterling Heights (SHAP) and Jefferson North (JNAP) assembly plants in Metro Detroit took matters into their own hands last night and this morning and forced a shutdown of production to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Close Australian schools to stave off coronavirus! Form action committees of teachers and school staff!

By the Committee for Public Education, 18 March 2020

The Committee for Public Education insists that in the face of a public health emergency, the voices of teachers and education workers must be heard!

New Zealand government predicts COVID-19 recession, gives billions to business

By Tom Peters, 18 March 2020

The Labour Party-led government announced a $12.1 billion pro-business stimulus package on Tuesday, while declaring tens of thousands will lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Health official warns that 150,000 Australians could die in coronavirus pandemic

By Mike Head, 17 March 2020

Many of these people will die as a direct result of the failure of the governments, both federal and state, to take the urgently needed action and allocate the necessary medical resources.

Australian governments invoke emergency powers amid COVID-19 disaster

By Mike Head, 17 March 2020

These laws contain powers only previously used in wartime, such as arbitrarily detaining, imprisoning or imposing massive fines on people, to be imposed now in the name of protecting public health.

Australia: Queensland coroner finds Ardent Leisure culpable for Dreamworld theme park deaths

By Terry Cook, 17 March 2020

The coronial report demonstrated that the four tragic deaths in 2016 were the result of the subordination of customers’ safety to the pursuit of profit.

Australian universities exploit COVID-19 crisis to cut jobs and courses

By Mike Head, 16 March 2020

The University of Tasmania last week announced the elimination of about three-quarters of its course offerings by next year.

“Horror start” for New Zealand workplace deaths in 2020

By Chris Ross and John Braddock, 16 March 2020

Workplace fatalities are at their worst in nearly a decade, with 108 deaths in 2019, compared with 63 in 2018.

Australian medical official warns coronavirus could infect 1.5 million in NSW

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 March 2020

Doctors have warned that as the pandemic spreads, they may be unable to treat critically-ill patients due to hospital bed shortages.

One year after the New Zealand fascist terrorist attack

By Tom Peters, 14 March 2020

While many questions remain unanswered about the fascist massacre of 51 people in Christchurch, the Labour-led government has continued to foster xenophobia and embolden extreme right-wing groups.

Australia: Melbourne teachers vote to defend Assange and Manning

By the Committee For Public Education (CFPE), 14 March 2020

The important stand taken by the teachers should be followed by employees at every workplace and industry around the world.

Tamil Nadu sanitary workers demand permanent jobs; Sri Lankan plantation workers strike; New Zealand bus drivers resume industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

14 March 2020

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

Australian government hands billions to business as coronavirus worsens economic slump

By Mike Head, 13 March 2020

Within hours, Morrison’s “stimulus” package was swamped by the deteriorating economic news from around the world and share prices plunged.

Growing opposition to company-union attacks at Qantas Australia

By Terry Cook, 13 March 2020

The attempt by Qantas and its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar to slash the conditions of pilots and ground crews is part of a global onslaught against airline workers.

Australian health professionals speak on lack of preparation for coronavirus pandemic

By our reporters, 12 March 2020

“There is a perception that the government does not care about the interests and safety of healthcare workers, and trust in authorities is low.”

Rottenomics: The Story of New Zealand’s Leaky Buildings Disaster

How profit-gouging and government deregulation created New Zealand’s home-building catastrophe

By John Braddock, 12 March 2020

Peter Dyer’s book explains how Labour and National Party governments created New Zealand’s “leaky homes” scandal.

Negligent Australian government response threatens widespread Covid-19 infection

By James Cogan, 11 March 2020

The great risk is that the virus is spreading, largely unknown and unchecked, via transmission within Australia—as took place in Italy and elsewhere.

Australian PM makes a desperate pitch to avert economic disaster

By Mike Head, 10 March 2020

Morrison’s speech shows that his main concern is to protect corporate profits and prop up his discredited government, not protect people from the coronavirus.

Australian government moves to boost data-swapping with US spy network

By Mike Head, 9 March 2020

These developments underscore the fear in ruling circles that working people worldwide use encrypted messages to discuss and organise free of government eaves-dropping.

Murdoch’s News Corp shuts down Australian Associated Press

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 March 2020

Australia already has one of the most monopolised media industries in the world, with Murdoch publications comprising more than 70 percent of all newspapers sold.

Australian Labor MP feigns concern over US extradition of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 March 2020

Penny Wong did not differ with government representatives, who explicitly endorsed the British judiciary’s brutal attacks on Assange’s legal and democratic rights.

New Zealand PM Ardern boosts relations on Fiji visit

By John Braddock, 7 March 2020

Ardern’s visit was used to cement relations with Fiji, which plays a critical role in the US-led drive to counter growing Chinese influence and prepare for war.

Australia: “Teachers for Assange and Manning” campaign in Melbourne

By Sue Phillips, 7 March 2020

The active intervention of teachers and education support staff is just one indication of the growing concern among millions of people that Assange’s persecution has immense implications.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

7 March 2020

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

Local transmission of coronavirus increasing in Australia

By James Cogan, 6 March 2020

Frustration and anger are rising over the lack of pre-emptive action by federal and state governments.

As anger mounts over Assange’s persecution, former foreign minister Carr calls for moral appeals to Australian government

By Richard Phillips, 6 March 2020

Veteran Labor leader Bob Carr is attempting to divert the growing movement for the release of Assange into dead-end appeals to the Australian parliament.

Australian parliamentary parties endorse British show trial of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 March 2020

As Assange faced a legal travesty, government ministers declared their faith in British “due process,” while the Labor Party maintained its silence.

Workers to pay the price as Australia joins global slide into recession

By Mike Head, 5 March 2020

The Covid-19 disaster has not yet resulted in large-scale sickness in Australia, but major companies are already unveiling job cuts due to the global impact on production, trade and travel.

Australia’s health system could be overwhelmed by large-scale coronavirus outbreak

By James Cogan, 4 March 2020

Federal and state governments plan repressive measures to forcibly quarantine people and curtail public gatherings.

Australian government revives plan for internal electronic surveillance

By Mike Head, 4 March 2020

Under the guise of combatting on-line paedophilia, the Australian Signals Directorate is to be handed domestic spying powers.

Late New Zealand PM Mike Moore lauded as a “working-class hero”

By John Braddock, 4 March 2020

Moore’s glorification reflects concerns in ruling circles over widespread popular alienation from the Labour Party and the entire parliamentary set-up.

Australia: Tram drivers’ union attempts to impose sellout agreement

By Patrick O’Connor, 3 March 2020

Tram workers ought to vote “no” to the proposed agreement, which undercuts their real wages and conditions.

Brisbane rally calls for freedom for Assange and Manning

By our correspondent, 2 March 2020

Participants applauded and cheered the speakers as they denounced the Australian government’s complicity in the abuses of Assange’s basic legal rights.

Access to disability funding for Australian children depends on wealth

By Max Newman, 29 February 2020

Children in poorer suburbs can wait hundreds of days for essential support services.

Indian primary school teachers demonstrate; Sri Lankan police attack sacked public sector workers

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

29 February 2020

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

Australian spy chief reveals fascistic networks, but minister attacks “left-wing lunatics”

By Mike Head, 28 February 2020

Dutton’s response shows that the real target of the government and the state apparatus is left-wing and socialist organisations, not violent, far-right groups.

Australia: Workers and youth call for intensification of Assange and Manning defence campaign

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

Queensland students and workers in Parramatta denounce the escalating government attacks on democratic rights.

Persecuted journalist Assange handcuffed, stripped naked on first day of extradition trial

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 26 February 2020

As proceedings were due to begin, a court official told WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson that he was barred from the public gallery.

SEG (New Zealand) rally in Wellington demands freedom for Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 26 February 2020

Speakers denounced the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder and the whistleblower, Chelsea Manning, who are both in prison and being psychologically tortured for revealing US war crimes.

“A disaster waiting to happen”

Two train drivers killed in derailment on Australia’s main interstate line

By Noel Holt, 25 February 2020

Drivers have complained for decades about poor track quality on the Melbourne to Sydney line, resulting in rough riding, mud holes and speed restrictions.

Waiting times for aged care in Australia quadruple over past decade

By Clare Bruderlin, 25 February 2020

Such is the contempt of the ruling elite for the working class that many elderly people have died while waiting for a home care package.

Rally and march in Melbourne, Australia demands freedom for Julian Assange

By Patrick O’Connor, 25 February 2020

Many people in the city centre expressed support for the march as it passed, with some joining the demonstration.

Australian government expands northern air base for US military use against China

By Mike Head, 24 February 2020

Echoing Pentagon terminology, Prime Minister Morrison declared the Tindal base was the “sharp end of the spear.”

Philippine President Duterte ends US Visiting Forces Agreement

By Joseph Santolan, 24 February 2020

The move is the most serious rupture in relations between Manila and its former colonial master since the granting of formal independence on July 4, 1946.

“The release of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning is up to us”

Australian and New Zealand demonstrations demand freedom for WikiLeaks founder and US whistleblower

By our reporters, 24 February 2020

The weekend rallies point to growing international support for Assange and Manning and a deeper political understanding and determination to fight by important layers of students, workers and youth.

“Robodebt” assault on Australian welfare recipients deliberately targeted the vulnerable

By Margaret Rees, 22 February 2020

The government knew the scheme was illegal long before it conceded that was the case in the Federal Court last November.

Tamil Nadu public transport workers demonstrate; Sacked Sri Lankan government workers protest; Jetstar baggage handlers on strike in Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

22 February 2020

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

“This is the Dreyfus case of our age”

UK Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visits Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 February 2020

McDonnell described the Assange case as “one of the most important and significant political trials of this generation,” but made clear that his party will do nothing to mobilise the immense popular support that exists for the WikiLeaks publisher.

Veteran “Four Corners” journalist Andrew Fowler denounces Australian government’s refusal to defend Assange

By Richard Phillips and James Cogan, 21 February 2020

“The persecution of Assange is an attack on anyone who speaks out against the power and authority of the United States. It is a warning to every journalist: ‘Pull your head in. Shut up. Don’t question.’”

Qantas threatens to replace pilots with outside crews

By Terry Cook, 21 February 2020

Qantas has issued an ultimatum to its long-haul pilots, while its low-cost Jetstar airline confronts its pilots and ground crews.

Labor Party leads Australian attack on British government over Huawei

By Mike Head, 20 February 2020

The line-up behind the US confrontation with China sheds further light on the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

East Timor’s coalition government collapses

By Patrick O’Connor, 20 February 2020

East Timor’s political and economic crisis is escalating amid the sharpened regional rivalry between China and the US and its ally Australia.

Australia: Students and workers demand release of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

By our reporters, 20 February 2020

“Trillions are spent on war, which creates refugees, kills children and workers, but the people who make these wars happen are roaming free whilst Assange is being murdered by the state.”

Australian MPs visit Julian Assange at Belmarsh Prison

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 February 2020

Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen said they agreed with UN official Nils Melzer’s assessment that Assange is the victim of psychological torture.

Australian media maintains an unconscionable blackout on the case of Julian Assange

By James Cogan, 17 February 2020

Meetings should be convened by the staff of every media organisation and resolutions adopted opposing Assange’s extradition and insisting that his case is accurately and honestly reported.

Geo-political conflicts overshadow Vanuatu election

By John Braddock, 17 February 2020

Next month’s election will take place amid deepening tensions across the Pacific as Washington and its allies ramp up preparations for war with China.

Major Australian bushfires finally extinguished by torrential rain

By Martin Scott, 15 February 2020

Insurers have declared Australia’s sixth catastrophe in five months as storms batter the east coast and cause major flooding.

John Pilger’s The Dirty War on the National Health Service screening on Australia’s SBS this Sunday

By our reporters, 15 February 2020

The WSWS urges all our readers to watch this powerful documentary on SBS television, at 8.30 p.m. Sunday night, February 16.

India: Punjab government teachers protest against privatisation; Sacked Sri Lankan government workers demonstrate; New Caledonia miners strike against long hours

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

15 February 2020

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

Petition for Assange’s freedom tabled again in Australian parliament

By Mike Head, 13 February 2020

Despite the powerful public support and strongly expressed sentiments of the petition, its tabling received virtually no coverage in the corporate media.

New Zealand’s Waitangi Day promotes nationalism and militarism

By Tom Peters, 13 February 2020

New Zealand’s national day was marked with the opening of a museum to glorify Maori participation and “sacrifice” for imperialism in World War II.

Recession warnings fuel political instability in Australia

By Mike Head, 12 February 2020

The bushfire and coronavirus disasters have had an enormous economic and social impact.

The legacy of Tonga’s late “pro-democracy” PM ‘Akilisi Pohiva

By John Braddock and Tom Peters, 12 February 2020

Three decades of Pohiva’s movement confirms that the working class and rural poor across the Pacific can achieve democratic rights and decent living standards only armed with a socialist program.

Rank-and-file teachers in Sydney adopt resolution defending Assange and Manning

the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 12 February 2020

The resolution is the outcome of the initiative of the Committee For Public Education, acting independently of the trade union apparatus.

Further slush fund revelations intensify political crisis in Australia

By Mike Head, 10 February 2020

The continuing revelations further call into question the legitimacy of the Coalition government’s narrow election win.

Australian pseudo-left seeks to cover up its abandonment of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

By Patrick O’Connor, 10 February 2020

Socialist Alternative’s article, “The betrayal of Julian Assange,” is a crude attempt to cover up its own role in the “betrayal” of the WikiLeaks publisher.

Australian coronavirus travel ban blocks thousands of Chinese students

By Eric Ludlow, 8 February 2020

The blanket ban by the Morrison government affects any foreign national trying to enter Australia from mainland China.

Australia: Balmoral fire captain labels government response a “national disgrace”

By our reporters, 8 February 2020

Balmoral residents are becoming frustrated by the lack of promised assistance for the urgent tasks of clearing dangerous trees and providing clean water.

Australia: Federal Court grants DP World ban on further industrial action by maritime workers

By Terry Cook, 8 February 2020

DP World Australia has obtained an interim injunction by the Australian Federal Court that imposes a month-long ban on further industrial action by 1,800 workers employed at its container terminals.

India: 10,000 Karnataka midday-meal workers strike indefinitely; Tahiti workers strike against Macron’s pensions “reforms”

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

8 February 2020

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

New Australian Greens leader makes a “left” pitch to young people

By Mike Head, 7 February 2020

By installing Bandt as leader, the Greens MPs demonstrated their concern over the mounting political disaffection.

Labor Party props up Australian government in political crisis

By Mike Head, 6 February 2020

Labor leader Anthony Albanese appealed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to improve his performance and work more closely with the Labor Party.

Australian government intensifies punitive drive against welfare recipients

By Margaret Rees, 5 February 2020

Before even paying back the money wrongly taken from some of society’s most vulnerable people via the “robo-debt” system, the government is moving to punish them again.

Take up the fight for international socialism! Join the IYSSE!

the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Australia), 5 February 2020

One month into 2020, the crisis of capitalism threatens youth with the danger of nuclear war, authoritarianism, climate catastrophe and worsening inequality. International socialism is the answer.

Australian political establishment once again in turmoil

By Mike Head, 4 February 2020

The day before parliament resumed for 2020, the leaders of three parties either stepped down or had their position challenged.

Rising “under-employment” fuels discontent in Australia

By Mike Head, 4 February 2020

In working-class areas, young people and other workers are being pushed increasingly into the “gig economy” of casualised, temporary and part-time employment.

Australia: New South Wales public school teachers continue to express outrage over union betrayal

By our reporters, 4 February 2020

Since school autonomy was introduced in 2012, casual or contract employment of teachers in NSW has soared by 40 percent.

Australian PM compels minister to resign over sports grants pork-barrelling

By Mike Head, 3 February 2020

Morrison’s removal of McKenzie will intensify the turmoil within the increasingly discredited government and the entire political establishment.

Australia: Bushfire survivors point to lack of funding for firefighters and recovery effort

By our reporters, 3 February 2020

Residents from New South Wales’ South Coast and Blue Mountains areas praise volunteers, and describe the struggle to rebuild after the fires.

The right-wing record of Jacinda Ardern’s government in New Zealand

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 3 February 2020

Labour’s decision to give the anti-immigrant NZ First Party a central role in government signalled a further shift towards nationalism and war preparations.

Australia’s fire crisis continues while flash floods hammer northern Queensland

By Martin Scott, 1 February 2020

Australia’s catastrophic summer escalates, with heavy rain in the north and bushfires in the south.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

1 February 2020

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

Australian government calls for national emergency powers

By Mike Head, 30 January 2020

Under the guise of dealing with bushfires and other disasters, Prime Minister Morrison is seeking to boost the powers of the state apparatus to suppress unrest.

Australia: Worker presumed dead in Tasmanian mine collapse

By Terry Cook, 29 January 2020

If the miners’ death is confirmed, it will be the fifth mining fatality in western Tasmania in just six years.

Australian prime minister’s role in sports pork-barrelling intensifies political crisis

By Mike Head, 27 January 2020

Less than nine months after barely surviving the May 2019 poll, Morrison’s government is widely reviled and beset by internal rifts.

Fascistic New Zealand soldier charged with disclosing military information

By Tom Peters, 25 January 2020

The soldier was a leading member of the Dominion Movement, which espoused the same fascist ideology as the Christchurch terrorist who killed 51 people in March 2019.

Australian Labor Party demands faster development of attack submarines

By Patrick O’Connor, 25 January 2020

While the opposition has closed ranks behind the government over the nation-wide bushfire crisis, on this issue of “national security” the Labor Party is keen to burnish its militarist credentials.

Australians suffer violent hailstorms, flash floods and ongoing fires

By Martin Scott, 25 January 2020

As bushfires continue to burn, Australian communities have been ravaged by other extreme climatic events.

Indian midday-meal workers strike for higher wages; Australian rail workers strike again

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

25 January 2020

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

Australian workers to pay as bushfire disaster intensifies slump

By Mike Head, 24 January 2020

Continued wage stagnation, job losses and social spending cuts are predicted for 2020 and beyond.

Australian government releases whitewash report after more than 1,200 people die waiting for disability services

By Max Newman, 24 January 2020

More than one person a day has died since July 2016 waiting for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support packages.

Tasmanian premier’s resignation highlights political discontent across Australia

By Mike Head, 22 January 2020

Under successive governments, both Liberal and Labor, the island state has become a microcosm of the financial and social devastation being inflicted on millions of people throughout the country.

Australia: Thousands protest government inaction on bushfires and climate change

By our reporters, 22 January 2020

The organisers of the Melbourne demonstration provided no way forward beyond the confines of the capitalist system that has led to environmental destruction.

Sports grants pork-barrelling adds to political disaffection in Australia

By Mike Head, 21 January 2020

For decades, every government, whether Coalition or Labor, has engaged in similar handouts, but this affair breaks new ground.

Spate of retail closures underscores deepening Australian economic slump

By Terry Cook, 21 January 2020

The crisis in the retail sector is a result of declining or stagnating wages and a soaring cost of living, which has resulted in a collapse in consumers’ purchasing power.

Australian Labor Party closes ranks with Morrison government in bushfire crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 January 2020

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has largely refrained from criticising the inadequate government response on the grounds of ensuring “national unity.”

Smoke haze from Australian bushfires pose serious public health threat

By John Mackay, 18 January 2020

The fine particulates in smoke from fires has been known to contain a toxic mix of chemicals that are a concern to public health.

Mumbai hospital workers demand outstanding wages; South Korean car workers strike; Australian tram drivers vote to walk out

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

18 January 2020

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

Australian fires leave tens of thousands in financial hardship and stress

By James Cogan, 17 January 2020

The fires have most severely affected low-income workers and welfare recipients, self-employed contractors, small-business owners and family farmers.

Australia: Balmoral firefighters say they were “abandoned” and demand better resources

By our reporters, 17 January 2020

“Governments are definitely not looking after us—there’s too many hidden agendas—and things are not being done to make sure we’ve got adequate power or water.”