Australia and South Pacific

Papua New Guinea government deploys troops to quell opposition

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 August 2017

The government is expanding the military and police presence in the Highlands region to crackdown on opposition to an election that was dominated by accusations of fraud.

Young doctor suicides point to deteriorating conditions in Australia’s health system

By Ed Ballesteros, 22 August 2017

The ostensible concern of governments for the well-being of health professionals is belied by funding cuts that have stretched public hospitals to breaking point.

Australia’s refugee detention regime claims its fifth victim on Manus Island

By Max Newman, 19 August 2017

Hamid Shamshiripour’s story is one of immense psychological suffering, as well as abuse at the hands of guards, overseen by the Australian government.

Right-wing Australian senator stages anti-Muslim “stunt” in federal parliament

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 August 2017

Labor and Liberal-National MPs, who incessantly promote xenophobic nationalism, feigned moral outrage over Pauline Hanson entering parliament wearing a burka.

Another Australian cabinet minister faces disqualification

By Mike Head, 18 August 2017

A furore over dual citizenship of members of parliament is now throwing into doubt the survival of the Liberal-National Coalition government.

Australia: New laws force an end to Sydney tent city protest

By Virginia Browne and Richard Phillips, 17 August 2017

Police have been given specific powers to arrest homeless people in Sydney, Australia’s largest and least affordable city.

Australian Greens leaders air recriminations on TV

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 August 2017

The “Four Corners” episode indicates that the conflicts within the Greens, driven by the party’s declining support, may be heading toward a split.

New Zealand government would “consider” joining US war against North Korea

By Tom Peters, 15 August 2017

For the government and opposition parties alike, the threat of war has been the great unmentionable in their campaigns for the September 23 election.

Australian deputy prime minister facing disqualification as dual citizen

By Mike Head, 15 August 2017

The loss of the deputy prime minister’s vote would leave the Liberal-National government without a majority in the House of Representatives.

Australia: Life expectancy gap between rich and poor almost 20 years

By John Mackay, 14 August 2017

The staggering differences in health quality and life expectancy are a direct effect of widening social inequality.

Opioid-related deaths soaring in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 11 August 2017

New research points to a rapidly growing number of fatalities, far outstripping heroin overdose deaths.

Australian government orders sham postal “survey” on same-sex marriage

By Mike Head, 11 August 2017

A fraud on every level, the non-binding postal vote has nothing to do with the long-overdue recognition of the basic legal and democratic rights of all couples.

An anti-democratic witch-hunt in Australia over dual citizenship

By Mike Head, 10 August 2017

Question marks are being placed over the basic democratic rights of millions of people who were born overseas or had a parent born overseas.

New Zealand: Inland Revenue Department to axe nearly 2,000 jobs

By Tom Peters, 10 August 2017

The IRD plans to slash jobs and wages as part of a restructure that is supported by the Public Service Association trade union.

Australian government threatens police violence to remove Manus Island refugees

By Max Newman, 9 August 2017

Asylum seekers detained in Papua New Guinea are being physically forced to move to an insecure temporary transit centre.

Australian unions, pseudo-left sign up to Labor’s re-election campaign

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 August 2017

Underlying the unions campaign is fear in ruling circles that widespread disaffection over social inequality threatens the stability of the parliamentary set-up.

Contradictions mount in latest Australian terrorism scare

By Mike Head, 3 August 2017

The release of one of the detained men without charge raises further questions about lurid claims of a supposed “aeroplane plot.”

Papua New Guinea prime minister re-installed

By John Braddock, 3 August 2017

O’Neill has been returned to office with a reduced majority following an election marked by widespread fraud and attacks on democratic rights.

Government, media stoke fear following latest terrorist allegations in Australia

By Mike Head, 1 August 2017

If the men being held for interrogation are ultimately charged with conspiracy or other terrorist-related offences, it will be virtually impossible for them to receive a fair trial.

“You have to be rich to have a voice”

SEP meeting attendees speak on the Grenfell Tower tragedy

By our reporters, 1 August 2017

Workers and young people spoke out about the parallels between the fire in London and unsafe building practices in Australia.

Australia: Official figures continue to cloak jobs crisis

By Terry Cook, 1 August 2017

The official employment report for June shows there is little to celebrate for the tens of thousands of people engaged in a daily search for work.

Meetings in Australia and New Zealand discuss international significance of Grenfell Tower disaster

By our reporters, 1 August 2017

Speakers outlined the parallels between the fire in London, and the gutting of building safety regulations in Australia by successive Labor and Liberal-National governments.

Terrorist plot allegedly prevented in Australia

By James Cogan, 31 July 2017

It is necessary for people to keep a grip on their critical faculties and their adherence to the fundamental democratic principle: innocent until proven guilty.

Australian government implements far-reaching restructure of intelligence agencies

By Mike Head, 31 July 2017

The state apparatus is being prepared to repress political disaffection over deepening social inequality, austerity and the drive to war.

Australian police kill mentally-ill man at Sydney’s main train station

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 July 2017

Police shot a suicidal individual four times in the head and chest, even though he was holding only a pair of scissors.

Murdoch media widens citizenship witch-hunt in Australian parliament

By Mike Head, 28 July 2017

The “MP fiasco” is intensifying the political instability produced by the growing collapse of popular support for the major parties.

Conflicts in Australian Greens driven by decline in support

By Oscar Grenfell, 28 July 2017

The integration of the Greens into the official political establishment is dispelling illusions that the party is any alternative to Labor and the Liberal-Nationals.

Australian inquiry into dangerous building products: An exercise in political damage control

By Richard Phillips, 27 July 2017

Safety and building engineers condemn deregulation, privatisation of building inspection and government cost-cutting.

Bipartisan push in Australia for four-year parliaments

By Mike Head, 27 July 2017

This is a bid to shore up the political establishment and strengthen its capacity to impose deeply unpopular policies.

The Australian Education Union’s 2017 campaign of misinformation and censorship

By Susan Allan and Linda Tenenbaum, 26 July 2017

Union officials concealed that the EBA contains the adoption of measures proposed in the “Bracks Review,” which escalate the pro-market agenda now underpinning public education.

Hundreds of thousands of Australian dwellings unoccupied as housing crisis deepens

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 July 2017

The 2016 census found that just 31 percent of the population owned a home outright, a 10 percent decline over the past 25 years.

Australia: Anger grows over fire at Melbourne recycling plant

By Will Morrrow, 22 July 2017

Firefighting services have been called to the plant nine times in the last five years—four times this year, three times in 2015 and once in both 2012 and 2013.

Disqualification threats hang over Australian MPs

By Mike Head, 22 July 2017

A witch hunt has been launched to identify every member of parliament who was born overseas or might have dual citizenship.

Australian governments continue to cover-up unsafe buildings

By Richard Phillips, 20 July 2017

Five weeks after the Grenfell Tower fire, only a handful of flammable-clad buildings have been identified and nothing has been done to prevent a potential disaster.

Australian government to establish a “security” super-ministry

By Mike Head, 20 July 2017

Prime Minister Turnbull’s announcement represents another major step toward creating a police-state apparatus.

Australian government seeks new military call-out powers

By Mike Head, 19 July 2017

The changes will mean that heavily-armed troops can be mobilised to suppress social and political unrest.

Two Greens senators in Australia resign over dual citizenship

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 July 2017

The sudden departure of the two deputy leaders of the Greens underscores the deepening crisis of the party and the entire parliamentary set-up.

Deepening political crisis around Papua New Guinea elections

By John Braddock, 18 July 2017

The electoral watchdog’s resignation is further evidence that Prime Minister O’Neill’s government is trying to cling to power through fraud.

Local residents speak out over toxic recycling plant

By our reporters, 17 July 2017

Coolaroo and Dallas residents in Melbourne’s northern suburbs spoke to World Socialist Web Site reporters, denouncing government and environmental protection authorities over their response to the SKM Recycling plant fire last Thursday.

Australian government shuts off power to refugees imprisoned on Manus Island

By Max Newman, 17 July 2017

Parts of the camp have been demolished and the Internet facility was taken away, leaving mobile phones as the only connection for detainees to the outside world.

Australia: Hundreds evacuated after toxic blaze at Melbourne recycling plant

By Will Marshall, 17 July 2017

The SKM fire is a product of the systematic gutting of environmental health and safety regulations, as well as town planning and construction guidelines.

Australian unions isolate miners facing attacks on pay and conditions

By Terry Cook, 15 July 2017

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union has restricted the Glencore workers to token stoppages.

Australian cricket pay dispute escalates

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 July 2017

Cricketing administrators are seeking to boost their control over billions of dollars of broadcasting and online streaming revenue.

Australian prime minister’s London speech highlights political turmoil

By Mike Head, 14 July 2017

Malcolm Turnbull’s July 10 address was an obvious bid to rebuke his predecessor Tony Abbott, underscoring the rifts tearing apart the Liberal Party.

Leaked reports expose Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

By Mike Head, 13 July 2017

The atrocities, only partly revealed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, underscore the inherently criminal character of the US-led Afghanistan war.

Australian building experts discuss the Grenfell Tower fire

By our reporters, 12 July 2017

“Fire safety is more important than the façade of a building,” building inspector says.

Australia: Unanswered questions over police killing of Melbourne teenager

By Will Morrow, 12 July 2017

Australia’s intelligence agency ASIO appears to have been in communication with Numan Haider before police shot him.

Australian government summarily deports more Sri Lankan refugees

By Max Newman, 11 July 2017

Six asylum seekers were captured by the Australian Navy and forcibly deported to face possible torture and imprisonment.

More Australian workers killed in preventable workplace incidents

By Terry Cook, 11 July 2017

The number of industry-related fatalities this year is on track to match or exceed the grim toll in 2016 when 178 workers were killed.

Australia: Lacrosse apartment residents speak out over Grenfell Tower disaster

By Paul Bartizan, 10 July 2017

Almost three years after Melbourne’s Lacrosse apartment block caught fire, the building’s flammable cladding remains in place.

High Court challenge imperils Australian government

By Mike Head, 10 July 2017

A disqualification of Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie, a National Party MP, could reduce the government to minority status.

“Chaos” surrounds Papua New Guinea election outcome

By John Braddock, 10 July 2017

The turmoil is an expression of the explosive social tensions produced by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s government during the past two years.

Rifts widen in the Australian Greens

By James Cogan, 8 July 2017

Underlying the divisions is the fact that the Greens have evolved over the past two decades into the party of “green” business.

Australian Labor and union leaders seek to head off workers’ discontent

By Mike Head, 7 July 2017

Speeches at last week’s ACTU 90th anniversary dinner signal desperate efforts to promote the return of another pro-business Labor government.

Australian government lines up behind US threats to North Korea and China

By Mike Head, 6 July 2017

Canberra’s statement closely echoed Washington’s assertions that North Korea now constitutes a threat to the entire world.

Studies reveal stark health divide in Australia

By John Mackay, 6 July 2017

People in working class areas die younger and have almost double the rates of poor health compared to residents of wealthier suburbs.

Public meetings in Australia and New Zealand

The Grenfell Tower disaster: A crime against the working class

5 July 2017

Homes, schools, hospitals and other public buildings must be made safe. The criminals in high places must be brought to justice.

US Studies Centre touts significance of US-Australian investment ties

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 July 2017

The Sydney University think-tank launched a new project amid intense pressure by Washington on Canberra not to turn away from the US alliance.

Australian workers and youth speak out on Grenfell Tower tragedy

By our reporters, 3 July 2017

Those who spoke to the WSWS drew parallels between the London fire and the undermining of building regulations in Australia.

Infighting re-erupts in Australian government

By Mike Head, 30 June 2017

The factional warfare is a symptom of a deeper political crisis, which has seen governments, both Liberal-National and Labor, fall in rapid succession since 2007.

Factional conflict wracks Australian Greens

By James Cogan, 29 June 2017

While the majority faction seeks to demonstrate its parliamentary “relevance,” another faction fears that the entire political establishment—including the Greens—could be by-passed by an eruption of popular discontent.

Australian state government and unions collaborate in teacher’s dismissal under “TIP”

By Erika Zimmer and Linda Tenenbaum, 29 June 2017

The New South Wales Teachers Federation and the state government are using the Teacher Improvement Program (TIP) procedure to victimise highly-experienced teachers and replace them with lower-paid younger teachers on short-term contracts.

Major crisis in Australian public school infrastructure

By Karen Holland, 28 June 2017

The Grattan Institute projects that 400 to 750 new public schools will need to be built over the next decade, to cater for approximately 650,000 additional students.

Australian university staff face cuts to pay, jobs and basic rights

By Mike Head, 28 June 2017

Government funding cuts are accelerating the pro-business restructuring of higher education that began three decades ago.

Flammable cladding rife in Australian construction industry

By Paul Bartizan and Richard Phillips, 27 June 2017

The dangers of aluminium composite panels were known to building authorities and relevant government ministers long before the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Australian construction union’s bogus campaign against industrial laws

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 June 2017

The CFMEU’s chief aim is to maintain its own privileged seat at the negotiating table and divert mounting anger among construction workers into electoral support for the Labor Party.

Ex-CIA chief calls for “firm” Australian action against China

By Mike Head, 26 June 2017

David Petraeus’ appearance at the Liberal Party dinner was the latest intervention into Australian politics by visiting senior figures within the US military-intelligence complex.

Australian government’s $70 million court settlement covers up crimes against refugees

By Max Newman, 26 June 2017

A lawsuit by Manus Island detainees was halted to prevent a detailed exposure of the abuses inflicted by successive governments.

Australian parliament’s late-night “Gonski” sitting highlights political instability

By Mike Head, 23 June 2017

After weeks of backroom deal-making, the Senate finally rubberstamped the regressive school-funding bill.

Social crisis looms over Papua New Guinea election

By John Braddock, 23 June 2017

The poll takes place amid widespread hostility to the political establishment.

Australian intelligence agency demands sweeping powers to suppress Chinese “interference”

By James Cogan, 22 June 2017

ASIO asserts that political opposition to Australian and US policy toward China could be the result of “foreign influence.”

Australia: Telstra announces 1,400 job cuts

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 June 2017

The sackings are the latest in a series of pro-market restructures that have destroyed up to 6,000 jobs since 2013.

Australian miners strike against Glencore cost-cutting

By Terry Cook, 20 June 2017

Some 1,400 coal miners took industrial action against the transnational mining and resources conglomerate’s attempts to slash working conditions.

New Zealand: Public Service Association complicit in Auckland library job cuts

By Sam Price, 20 June 2017

The union has worked hand-in-hand with the Labour Party-controlled Auckland Council to eliminate around 194 jobs.

Indonesian president supports military role in new “anti-terror” law

By John Roberts, 17 June 2017

The legislation will significantly reverse limitations placed on the military’s internal security role following the fall of the Suharto dictatorship.

Australian government demands “patriotic” citizenship tests

By Mike Head, 15 June 2017

The government has seized upon the latest alleged terrorist attacks to justify measures to deny citizenship on a range of discriminatory grounds.

Australian media widens campaign against Chinese “influence”

By James Cogan, 14 June 2017

A witch-hunt against alleged Chinese interference in the country is assuming ever-more anti-democratic and sinister dimensions.

Australian state Labor government agrees to subsidise giant coal mine

By Declan O’Malley and Mike Head, 13 June 2017

After weeks of posturing, the Queensland cabinet provided a lucrative royalties handout to Adani.

Police “terror” raids in Australia mask unanswered questions about hostage incident

By Mike Head, 10 June 2017

As with nearly every terrorist-linked attack internationally, including in Manchester and London, the perpetrator was well known to the police and intelligence agencies.

Australia: Aurizon announces Queensland rail closures

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 June 2017

Up to 300 jobs are set to be eliminated, following hundreds of sackings over the past two years.

“Watergate pales compared to what we’re confronting now”

Former US director of national intelligence campaigns against Trump in Australia

By James Cogan, 9 June 2017

No journalist asked James Clapper the obvious question: why should any credibility be given to any claim he makes?

Reject unacceptable workloads and standardised testing! Take a stand for public education!

Vote No to the AEU-Labor government sell-out deal in Victoria!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 9 June 2017

The chronic underfunding, under-resourcing and under-staffing of public schools is driving many parents to send their children to private schools.

Australian economy barely avoids contraction

By Mike Head, 8 June 2017

Without spending by deeply-indebted households, the country would officially be in recession.

Australian government exploits hostage-taking to escalate “war on terror”

By Mike Head, 7 June 2017

The evidence points to a deeply troubled young man with a long history of drug addiction, being preyed upon by both Islamic fundamentalists and the police-intelligence agencies.

Australian establishment falls into line with anti-China allegations

By James Cogan, 7 June 2017

Fears about growing anti-war sentiment motivate efforts to develop suspicion and hostility towards China.

Preventable deaths quadruple in Australian nursing homes over ten years

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 June 2017

The leader of the study said the data revealed a “systems problem” across the aged-care sector.

Australian authorities label Melbourne hostage incident a “terrorist” attack

By Will Morrow, 6 June 2017

Before any of the facts were known, newspapers featured front-page stories depicting the incident as an Islamic State assault.

Australian media renews campaign against Chinese “power and influence”

By James Cogan, 6 June 2017

As tensions rise between China on the one hand, and the US and its allies on the other, the Australian establishment is launching, once again, an anti-Chinese campaign.

“Catastrophic failure” of regulators led to black lung among Australian miners

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 June 2017

Queensland authorities failed to look for, or properly identify, coal miners’ pneumoconiosis for more than 30 years.

Socialist Equality Party forum discusses agenda behind Australian Education Union sell-out deal

By our reporter, 5 June 2017

A clear relationship exists between the anti-democratic, bureaucratic tactics employed by the AEU to obtain a majority “yes” vote and the regressive, pro-market content of its 2017 agreement.

Shangri La Dialogue: US Defence Secretary, Australian PM threaten North Korea, China

By Peter Symonds, 3 June 2017

The premier Asian strategic conference is taking place as the US threatens war against North Korea and continues its relentless military build-up.

Australian city council locks out electricians for imposing work bans

By Ellen Blake, 3 June 2017

The Brisbane City Council’s aggressive action underscores the determination of governments and employers across the country to dismantle workers’ conditions.

Reports expose Australian government coverup of armed attack on Manus Island detainees

By Max Newman, 2 June 2017

The Good Friday assault highlighted the dangers facing the more than 800 male asylum seekers held on the remote island.

Melbourne airport incident raises questions about Australian “terrorism” scare campaigns

By Mike Head, 2 June 2017

The police transformed an episode involving a mentally-ill young man into another major terrorist operation.

More warnings of a housing-led crash in Australia

By Mike Head, 1 June 2017

Any sharp downturn in the debt-fuelled property market would have far-reaching economic and political consequences.

Australian timber mill slated to close

By Will Morrow, 1 June 2017

The closure, in the state of Victoria, is part of a restructuring by Carter Holt Harvey and other producers across the timber industry.

Senator John McCain visits Australia to reinforce US alliance

By James Cogan, 31 May 2017

McCain issued appeals and warnings to the Australian ruling class not to deviate from its strategic alignment with the US.

Australia’s billionaires celebrate a “wealth boom”

By Mike Head, 29 May 2017

During 2016, the total wealth of the Rich 200 List mushroomed from $197.3 billion to $233.1 billion—a rise of about 18 percent—while average real wages fell.

One thousand staff stood-down after private college collapses in Australia

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 May 2017

The closure of Careers Australia, which had been accused of dubious enrolment practices, was apparently triggered by the withdrawal of substantial government funds.

Australian government demonises “fake refugees”

By Max Newman, 24 May 2017

Thousands of asylum seekers face forced removal to their countries of origin if they do not complete complex visa applications by October 1.