Australia and South Pacific

Six months since the brutal arrest of WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 October 2019

While Assange is subjected to what amounts to torture in a British prison, the war criminals he has done so much to expose walk free.

Official cover-up continues of Australian paramedic’s suicide

By Cheryl Crisp, 12 October 2019

Undisclosed disciplinary action against senior managers over the death of Tony Jenkins is at odds with a NSW Ambulance report that identified systemic deficiencies.

Australian government ministers call for protesters to be cut off welfare

By Mike Head, 11 October 2019

While the remarks referred to “Extinction Rebellion” demonstrators who temporarily blocked some traffic in major cities, they have a wider anti-democratic logic.

Australian cyber conference “disinvites” US whistleblower and Assange supporter

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 October 2019

The cancellation of talks by NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and Melbourne academic Suelette Dreyfus was a political decision, most likely involving government agencies.

Thousands of Assam tea workers strike over bonus payments; 17,000 non-academic university workers remain on strike in Sri Lanka

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

5 October 2019

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

Australia: Another “super union” merger—a bigger industrial policeman

By Terry Cook, 4 October 2019

Claims that the merger of United Voice and the National Union of Workers will serve the interests of workers are belied by the betrayals and sell-outs of both organisations.

Australian central bank cuts interest rates to record low

By Mike Head, 3 October 2019

The speed and scale of the rate cuts point to alarm within the financial elite about the turmoil gripping the world capitalist economy and deepening slump in Australia.

Australia: Melbourne tram drivers take further strike action

By Patrick O’Connor, 3 October 2019

The tram drivers have twice overwhelmingly voted down company offers for a regressive new enterprise agreement.

New Zealand: Unexplained death at university hall of residence

By John Braddock, 3 October 2019

While stresses on students are escalating, privately-run residential halls maintain profits by cost-cutting and slashing pastoral care.

Crisis of unmet need in New Zealand’s health system

By Harry Hall, 2 October 2019

Thousands of people are being denied surgery and treatment for cancer, endometriosis, mental health and other conditions, due to chronic understaffing and under-resourcing.

New industrial “integrity” laws seek to head off working class eruption in Australia

By Terry Cook, 1 October 2019

The Morrison government’s legislation is a pre-emptive move by the corporate establishment which is nervous about rising strike action by workers internationally despite the efforts of the unions to hold them back.

170,000 join climate change protests in New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 28 September 2019

School students were joined by tens of thousands of workers and university students to demand action to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Solomon Islands and Kiribati cut ties with Taiwan, shift to China

By John Braddock, 28 September 2019

The diplomatic shifts underscore the deepening geo-strategic confrontation in the Pacific amid the intensifying US-led trade war.

Underpayment and wage theft rampant in Australia

By Karen Maxwell and Richard Phillips, 27 September 2019

The “underpayment of wages” businesses model is expanding across a range of sectors.

Australian troops accused of war crimes in Afghanistan

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 September 2019

Anonymous soldiers interviewed by “60 Minutes” alleged that Ben Roberts-Smith, who is widely presented as a “war hero,” kicked a handcuffed Afghan civilian off a cliff in 2012.

Australian government seeks arbitrary powers to revoke citizenship

By Mike Head, 25 September 2019

The Citizenship Cessation Bill is another indication of the repressive measures that the ruling class is preparing to deal with rising working-class discontent.

Echoing Trump administration, Australian leader advocates end to China’s “developing country” status

By James Cogan, 24 September 2019

Morrison signalled that Australia will join with the US in its escalating campaign to economically cripple China.

Australian government “balances” budget at expense of disabled

By Mike Head, 23 September 2019

The Morrison government “saved” $4.6 billion by underfunding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and cutting a total of $6.4 billion from social programs.

Millions march against climate change, capitalism and war

By Bryan Dyne and Will Morrow, 21 September 2019

“Any talk about climate change must include socialism and the economic system.”

Climate strike protesters speak out: “There’s willful blindness on this issue, because fixing it conflicts with capitalism”

By our reporters, 21 September 2019

WSWS reporters spoke with climate strike protesters in cities around the globe.

Bushfires in Australia: Another symptom of climate change

By Frank Gaglioti, 21 September 2019

Early spring fires are an “omen” of an unprecedented and disastrous season ahead due to hot, windy and dry conditions.

Older people keep working due to economic necessity in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 21 September 2019

The development of technology should mean working lives are shortened, but under the capitalist profit system people are forced to work longer.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

GM workers in South Korea strike over wages; Pakistan higher education teachers walkout; Psychologists continue industrial action in New Zealand

21 September 2019

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

Australian workers and youth back striking US autoworkers

By our reporters, 19 September 2019

“I think there’s a common stream connecting workers all over the world. This is something we are all fighting for.”

Claims of Chinese “hacking” add to US pressure on Australian government

By Mike Head, 18 September 2019

Unnamed sources accused the Morrison government of covering up China’s role for fear of disrupting lucrative trade relations with Beijing.

Accidental drug overdose deaths continue to rise in Australia

By Clare Bruderlin, 18 September 2019

As in the US, the pharmaceutical companies are taking advantage of social misery to addict the population on deadly drugs.

Student union at Australian university attempts to bar Chinese students from elections

By Eric Ludlow, 17 September 2019

The student union at Monash University’s Caulfield campus in Melbourne was forced, after a public outcry, to repeal the decision preventing international students from running in the elections.

Bupa’s aged care homes failing official standards across Australia

By Jenny Campbell, 17 September 2019

The record illustrates the extent to which corporations have been permitted to prioritise profits over care.

Australian government pushes drug testing for welfare recipients

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 September 2019

The trial, which is aimed at extending “welfare quarantining” measures, would target working class areas hit by job destruction and government budget cuts.

Abortion bill in NSW used to push Australian politics further to the right

By Cheryl Crisp, 16 September 2019

The emotive demagogy over abortion is part of a campaign to mobilise a right-wing Christian base and recruit them into the Liberal Party.

New Zealand opposition National Party attacked over relations with China

By John Braddock, 14 September 2019

The campaign by the Labour Party-led government and its supporters against “Chinese influence” is part of escalating preparations for a US-led war in the Pacific.

Australian election survey refutes myths surrounding Labor Party debacle

By Mike Head, 13 September 2019

Swings by working-class voters against Labor reflected the shift in its campaign, away from its fake “fair go” promises, to reassuring big business.

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood visits Assange: “He’s a freedom fighter!”

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 September 2019

Westwood stated that Assange is “an innocent man” who has been “persecuted for nine years for telling the truth.”

Australian establishment demands removal of alleged “pro-China” member of parliament

By James Cogan, 12 September 2019

Gladys Liu has views that are at odds with the propaganda being promoted in Australia to justify the alliance with US imperialism and war preparations against China.

Australian incarceration rate rising despite drop in crime

By Martin Scott, 12 September 2019

Indigenous Australians are now more likely to be imprisoned than African Americans.

Virgin Australia axes 750 jobs

By Terry Cook, 11 September 2019

The immediate consequence of the restructure is the destruction of 750 jobs, or around 7 percent of the carrier’s workforce, to achieve savings of $75 million a year.

Household incomes dropping in Australia as economy slides toward recession

By Mike Head, 10 September 2019

Working class living standards are continuing a seven-year fall, setting the scene for class conflict.

Another police-state raid in Australia to protect spy agencies

By Mike Head, 7 September 2019

The Morrison government is stepping-up an offensive on democratic rights at the Trump administration’s behest.

Peter Greste’s panel discussion in Sydney: Support for censorship and throwing Assange to the wolves

By James Cogan, 7 September 2019

Greste advocates the anti-democratic conception that a “responsible journalist” censors information that is deemed too controversial for the population to know.

A year after sellout deal

Crisis erupts in New Zealand Nurses Organisation

By Tom Peters, 5 September 2019

Both factions of the NZNO leadership are complicit in imposing a rotten deal in 2018 that entrenched low wages and a staffing shortage in hospitals.

Australia: Whistleblower trials proceed despite outcry

By Mike Head, 3 September 2019

The Morrison government rejects calls to drop the prosecution of people who exposed the criminal activities of the country’s US-linked spy agencies and armed forces.

Australian worker killed in fall on Sydney construction site

By Terry Cook, 3 September 2019

Mohamad Riche, who died in an avoidable accident on August 21, was the sixth construction worker in Australia to lose his life on worksites this year.

Roger Waters holds concert on Monday

Take forward the fight to free Julian Assange!

By Joseph Kishore, 2 September 2019

Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are the victims of a monstrous criminal conspiracy, involving the most powerful governments in the world, the intelligence agencies and the corporate media.

Australian government moves to deport Tamil refugees despite mass opposition

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 September 2019

The family has been transferred to Christmas Island, where they have been placed in substandard accommodation and given expired food.

IYSSE holds meetings in defence of Assange at Australian universities

By our reporters, 31 August 2019

One student commented: “What is happening is an injustice to him and his rights and freedom of speech. Young people should join together and fight for what is true and what is honest.”

Motherson autoworkers strike in India; Madhya Pradesh railway workers oppose privatisation; Melbourne tram workers walk out

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

31 August 2019

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

Australian government seeks to deport Tamil refugee family to Sri Lanka

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 August 2019

The outpouring of support for the family reflects the broad opposition of working people to the bipartisan assault on asylum-seekers.

Australia: NSW Greens pass motion “defending” Assange, but MPs remain silent

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 August 2019

The mealy-mouthed statement, which does not call for Assange’s freedom or condemn the US charges against him, has been met with silence by Greens MPs.

Australia acts to retain sway over former colony Papua New Guinea

By James Cogan, 29 August 2019

PNG is on the frontline of the great power competition with China.

New Zealand economic forecast: “Things could turn ugly”

By John Braddock, 29 August 2019

The US-China trade war, slowing growth in New Zealand’s export markets, and dampened business investment are key issues facing the local economy as the global recession looms.

Clinical psychologist Lissa Johnson: They are trying to break Assange “physically and psychologically”

By Oscar Grenfell, 28 August 2019

”Of all the passive bystanders to Julian Assange’s abuse, the Australian government is by far the most culpable and complicit.”

Australian Labor Party accuses government of “losing control” of borders

By Mike Head, 28 August 2019

Shadow home affairs minister Kristina Keneally condemned the government for allowing asylum seekers to arrive by plane.

Australian PM calls for new internet censorship measures at G7

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 August 2019

Morrison is campaigning for an international crackdown on social media, while his government asserts the right to ban websites and domains domestically.

Tongan government threatens to block access to Facebook

By Tom Peters, 27 August 2019

The threat to ban Facebook follows intense criticism on social media of Tonga’s royal family, and growing popular anger over social inequality.

Anti-China witch-hunt targets Australian universities

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 August 2019

The government and the security agencies convened a meeting with universities, threatening research involving Chinese academics.

Australian state Labor government’s lies about “protest violence” exposed

By Mike Head, 24 August 2019

Labor’s fabricated “booby trap” claims illustrate how governments concoct fear campaigns to attack basic democratic rights.

Australia’s US Studies Centre advocates war-footing against China

By James Cogan, 22 August 2019

The policies that the pro-US think tank proposes could not be implemented without the suppression of widespread political opposition.

Julian Assange’s father warns WikiLeaks’ publisher’s health is “declining rapidly” in Belmarsh Prison

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 August 2019

”The government will willingly sacrifice Julian’s well-being to the demands of the US and the UK.”

Australian prime minister elevates pro-US militarists to top cabinet, intelligence positions

By James Cogan, 20 August 2019

Shearer’s role will be to advise Morrison and other ministers on how to publicly promote the US-led preparations for war with China.

Tensions over climate change dominate Pacific Islands summit

By John Braddock, 20 August 2019

Australia, with New Zealand’s support, has again quashed efforts by small Pacific Island states to push for measures to address climate change.

As Australian government threatens to jail journalists, media chiefs denounce Julian Assange

By Mike Head, 19 August 2019

While claiming to champion the “right to know,” media executives condemned the WikiLeaks founder for exposing the crimes of the US spy and military apparatuses.

New Zealand: Outrage over babies taken by the state

By John Braddock and Tom Peters, 17 August 2019

The brutal seizure of babies and infants from poor, mostly Maori families, has provoked public protests and outrage in the working class.

Australian health workers protest assaults on staff

By John Wilson, 17 August 2019

The Health Services Union limited the action and channelled workers’ anger into a demand for more security officers, not for increased funding and staffing.

Australia: Pro-US ideologue brands student groups as China’s “useful idiots”

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 August 2019

Clive Hamilton’s comments are a warning that Australia’s involvement in the US drive to war with China will be accompanied by political repression domestically.

Australia: Mentally-ill man carries out stabbing attacks in Sydney

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 August 2019

The alleged perpetrator was a 20-year-old man from a working-class suburb in Sydney’s west, with a lengthy history of psychological issues.

From Couch to Curb film launch highlights youth homelessness in Australia

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 August 2019

More than 116,000 people across Australia, or one in every 200, are currently without a home; a quarter of these are young people aged between 12 and 24.

Australia: Mentally-ill man shot dead by police at his home

By Martin Scott, 12 August 2019

“If there was no danger to the public, and if he was contained in his own house and not doing anything, one would have to ask ‘why in the hell is he gone?’”

The ABC documentary “Hero or Villain”: Undermining the defence of Julian Assange

By James Cogan, 12 August 2019

The program’s pernicious subtext was that Assange should be viewed as dubious, at best, and undeserving of sympathy, let alone active political support.

Following AUSMIN talks, Australian politician compares China to Nazi Germany

By James Cogan, 10 August 2019

Andrew Hastie falsely compared the purported failure of Australia to respond to the threat posed by China with France’s lack of response to the “German advance in 1940.”

US defence secretary, NATO chief visit New Zealand to strengthen military ties

By Tom Peters, 10 August 2019

The visits by US defence secretary Mark Esper and NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg were aimed at incorporating New Zealand further into the military build-up against China, Russia and Iran.

John Pilger warns: “Do not forget Assange. Or you will lose him”

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 August 2019

The well-known journalist outlined the WikiLeaks founder’s deteriorating health, and the draconian conditions in which he is being held in a British prison.

Australian High Court scraps free speech for workers

By Mike Head, 9 August 2019

The judges’ support for the sacking of a public servant is part of an assault on free speech under conditions of escalating social, geo-strategic and war tensions.

Jennifer Robinson, a leading member of Assange’s legal team, speaks with the WSWS

By our reporters, 9 August 2019

“It speaks volumes about Australia’s position in the world that it’s not willing to take a stand against the United States and protect an Australian citizen.”

Australian spy and police chiefs say raids on journalists must continue

By Mike Head, 8 August 2019

In a blunt intervention, Director-General of National Intelligence Nick Warner used the language of war to defend the targeting of journalists.

Protests in Australia continue to break official silence on Julian Assange

By our reporters, 7 August 2019

The sentiments of ordinary people stand in stark contrast to the refusal of all of the official parties to take any action in defence of the WikiLeaks founder.

Australia: Melbourne rail workers vote for strike action

By Patrick O’Connor, 7 August 2019

While privatisation has provided new and lucrative profit opportunities for corporate operators, it has proven a disaster for rail workers and commuters.

US Secretary of State demands greater Australian involvement in war drive against China

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 August 2019

The support for Pompeo’s aggressive remarks in Canberra is a warning that behind its back, the Australian population has been placed on the frontline of a confrontation with China that threatens a catastrophic nuclear war.

Assange’s father speaks to the WSWS: “Julian’s resolve is fierce”

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 August 2019

John Shipton condemned the Australian government’s refusal to raise the issue of Assange with the US, or to take any action in his defence, declaring: “Silence is complicity.”

Australian households’ cost of living soars above consumer price index

By Margaret Rees, 3 August 2019

A large gap has emerged between the official statistics and the standard of living, thanks to skyrocketing prices for essential goods and services, as opposed to prices for discretionary items.

Indian doctors hold national 24-hour walkout; Chinese auto workers strike; Australian railway workers vote for industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

3 August 2019

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

Slump deepens in Australian residential construction industry

By Paul Bartizan and Richard Phillips, 2 August 2019

Multiple faults in new apartment buildings have become a factor in the bursting of a debt-fuelled property bubble that is threatening thousands of jobs.

Intercept article calls on Democrats to step up attack on Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 July 2019

James Risen peddled the lies of CNN and the intelligence agencies, slanderously suggesting that Assange worked on behalf of Russia and the Trump campaign.

Australia: Six Queensland mining deaths in 12 months

By Patrick Davies, 30 July 2019

The tragedies are a result of the gutting of full-time jobs and the erosion of working conditions, enforced by the trade unions.

DP World threatens to sack 10 percent of its Australian workforce during industrial action

By Noel Holt, 29 July 2019

The move marks a new offensive by employers to further slash jobs, basic rights and conditions on the waterfront and throughout the working class as a whole.

Australian central bank chief fearful of rising global tensions

By Mike Head, 27 July 2019

“When businesses are nervous, they don’t want to invest,” Philip Lowe warned a corporate lunch audience.

Official New Zealand inquiry into Afghan war crimes further exposed as a whitewash

By Alan Johnson and John Braddock, 26 July 2019

The Labour government’s inquiry seeks to clean up the image of the NZ Defence Force for new wars.

Australian disability centre closures result in nearly a dozen deaths

By Max Newman, 26 July 2019

Former residents of a disability centre in Newcastle have died after being transferred to under-funded group homes via the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

New Zealand foreign minister repeats call for increased US role in Pacific

By John Braddock, 25 July 2019

Peters’ speech echoed his earlier appeal for a stronger US-New Zealand military and strategic alliance to counter Beijing.

Australian government demands police-state powers over protests and exclusions of citizens

By Mike Head, 24 July 2019

The bills would hand governments the most authoritarian powers since the two world wars.

Australian aged care home closes abruptly, traumatising residents

By Jenny Campbell, 22 July 2019

Nurses and other Earle Haven staff members watched in horror and shame as patients were left in limbo, with their medications, patient records and equipment quickly removed from the premises.

Gulf between wealthy and poor widening in Australia

By Mike Head, 19 July 2019

Successive governments, both Liberal-National and Labor, have enriched the corporate elite at the expense of the working class.

Australian aged care inquiry hears damning evidence of abuse

By Clare Bruderlin, 18 July 2019

Testimony by care workers, patients and family members has underscored how the cost-cutting drive for profit jeopardises the health, safety and quality of life of elderly people.

Melbourne rally participants speak in defence of Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 15 July 2019

“I don’t believe any government will stand up for Assange. I think that it comes down to normal people standing and fighting.”

Talisman Sabre: US and Australia prepare for war with China

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 July 2019

The massive military exercise in northern Australia, in preparation for conflict in the Indo-Pacific, has been treated as a non-event by the political and media establishment.

Rally in Melbourne demands freedom for Julian Assange

By our reporters, 15 July 2019

Amid cold and wet weather, about 130 people rallied with determination to demand Assange’s freedom.

Elderly poor suffering hypothermia in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 13 July 2019

The “Cold and Lonely” study points to an often-hidden social crisis—the avoidance or under-consumption of heating by people who must ration their energy use so they can pay their bills.

Euthanasia bill before New Zealand parliament

By John Braddock, 13 July 2019

The bill, which would make assisted suicide legal, is sponsored by leader of the far-right ACT party amid a sharpening social crisis.

Three months since arrest of WikiLeaks publisher

UK government holds “media freedom” conference while imprisoning Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 July 2019

The “media freedom” conference was held seven miles from Belmarsh Prison, where the world’s most famous persecuted journalist is jailed.

Indian aeronautic workers threaten national walkout; Pakistan power workers demand safe, permanent jobs; Taiwan union ends flight attendants’ strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

13 July 2019

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

Prominent Australian academic suggests building nuclear weapons

By Peter Symonds, 11 July 2019

The debate over nuclear weapons is another warning of the advanced preparations for war being made in capitals around the world.