Australia and South Pacific

Australian wage growth continues downward trend

By Nick Beams, 20 November 2017

Real wages in Australia are now only 0.1 percent above where they were more than four years ago and there is no end in sight to the worsening situation.

Australian mining union imposes 25 percent pay cut at Griffin Coal

By Terry Cook, 20 November 2017

The CFMEU struck a sell-out deal which includes sweeping wage reductions and the gutting of conditions, despite significant opposition from workers.

Australia: Liberals strike Queensland election deal with One Nation

By Mike Head, 18 November 2017

Popular hostility toward the traditional ruling parties, the Coalition and Labor, has reached such heights that both are increasingly unable to form majority governments.

The global processes behind the parliamentary crisis in Australia

By James Cogan, 17 November 2017

The witch-hunt against “dual citizens” in parliament is part of a calculated attempt to create a war-time political atmosphere.

Australian unions push another sell-out agreement at Western Sydney University

By our correspondents, 17 November 2017

The NTEU is attempting to impose another retrograde enterprise deal that will assist management to deepen cuts to jobs and conditions.

Trump’s Asia tour leaves region on brink of trade war and military conflict

By James Cogan, 15 November 2017

President Trump’s bellicose rhetoric, on both North Korea and trade, cannot obscure the fact that his trip marks a new nadir in the strategic position of US imperialism.

Doctor describes “shameful” medical neglect at Australian refugee prison camp

By Max Newman, 15 November 2017

Asylum seekers detained in Nauru are “wilfully coming to medical harm” at the Australian government’s orders.

The Gonski “needs-based” school funding fraud in Australia

Part 1: Accelerating the corporatisation of schools

By David Cohen and Linda Tenenbaum, 15 November 2017

David Gonski is among the most trusted lieutenants of the corporate, financial and political elites.

Australian government gives green light for violence against refugees at Manus Island

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 November 2017

The entire Australian political establishment is responsible for the desperate plight of the 600 men in the detention camp.

MP disqualification crisis engulfs Australian government

By Mike Head, 10 November 2017

A full-scale McCarthyite witch-hunt is underway, with every MP being required to prove their citizenship “purity.”

New Zealand Labour-led government prepares attacks on working class

By John Braddock, 10 November 2017

Labour Prime Minister Ardern, with trade union approval, has threatened to further proscribe the right to strike.

New Zealand PM visits Australia, confirms Labour government’s support for war

By Tom Peters, 9 November 2017

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has endorsed the war in Iraq, threats against North Korea and Australia’s brutal treatment of asylum seekers.

Australian contract company continues assault on maintenance workers

By Terry Cook, 9 November 2017

The unions are isolating 200 workers confronting UGL’s attempts to tear up existing wages and conditions.

Australia: Queensland Labor backflips on support for Adani mine

By Mike Head, 8 November 2017

Labor’s long record of support for corporate giants like Adani has opened the door for the reactionary One Nation party to prey upon social devastation and discontent.

Complaints soar against Australian government’s welfare agency

By Mike Head, 7 November 2017

Millions of welfare recipients were unable to contact Centrelink, the agency that administers their payments, causing enormous frustration and anger.

Australia: Thousands protest persecution of refugees on Manus Island

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 November 2017

Rally organisers sought to divert widespread anger over the dire plight of 600 refugees behind impotent appeals to the Coalition government, and support for Labor’s re-election.

Families worse off under Australia’s privatised disability scheme

By Max Newman, 6 November 2017

Participants in the scheme must “buy” services from private operators, with their funds set by care plans imposed by a cost-cutting government agency.

Trump begins 12-day visit to Asia to build war coalition against North Korea

By James Cogan, 4 November 2017

The visit symbolically began with a visit by the president to the Pearl Habor naval base, where war between the US and Japan for dominance over Asia began in December 1941.

Australian government starves refugees on Manus Island

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 November 2017

Contractors hired by the Liberal-National government emptied water tanks before leaving the facility Tuesday, while the Papua New Guinea navy is blocking emergency food deliveries.

New Zealand pseudo-lefts embrace new right-wing government

By John Braddock, 4 November 2017

The line-up of pro-Labour commentators, trade unions and pseudo-left groups is fraudulently portraying the Labour-led coalition government as “progressive” and “left wing.”

Rising death toll from health sector cuts in New Zealand

By Sam Price, 3 November 2017

Underfunding of health care by successive National and Labour governments has contributed to shortened lives and baby deaths.

Australian rail union suspends industrial action in Pacific National dispute

By Terry Cook, 2 November 2017

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union called off all industrial action as it moved to broker another sell-out agreement.

Refugees on Manus Island face catastrophe at hands of Australian detention regime

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 November 2017

Asylum seekers have been left without food, water and electricity, and face the prospect of an armed assault by Papua New Guinea police and military personnel.

Early Queensland election points to political instability in Australia

By Mike Head, 31 October 2017

The snap poll could signal a new stage in the decay of the two-party system that has prevailed in Australia since World War II.

Australia: Possible Woolworths strikes spark warnings of a broader wages movement

By Oscar Grenfell, 31 October 2017

As many as 2,000 workers at four major warehouses are set to take industrial action over wages and conditions in the next two months.

US masses ships and aircraft outside North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 30 October 2017

The Trump administration is threatening a war not just with conventional weapons, but with nuclear bombs—directed against North Korea and any other power that joins the conflict.

Commemoration meetings in Australia and New Zealand

100 years on: The significance of the 1917 Russian Revolution for today

28 October 2017

The Russian Revolution stands as irrefutable proof that the working class—providing it is guided by a genuine Marxist perspective and leadership—can overthrow the outmoded social relations of capitalism.

Australian troops sent to the Philippines despite end of Marawi siege

By Mike Head, 27 October 2017

Another far-reaching military commitment has been made without any parliamentary debate, let alone any approval by the Australian population.

Australian statistics show collapse in manufacturing, mounting jobs crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 October 2017

Part-time and precarious employment accounts for an ever-greater proportion of the workforce.

Free, high quality public education is a social right! Join the Committee For Public Education!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 27 October 2017

Australia has one of the most unequal and privatised school systems in the world.

Australian government orders police raids on union offices

By Mike Head, 26 October 2017

Australia increasingly resembles a police state, with well-publicized raids carried out in pursuit of unstated political aims.

Australia: Social devastation looms over Latrobe Valley

By Michelle Stevens, 26 October 2017

Today’s widespread poverty, unemployment and social problems are the result of decades of job destruction imposed by successive governments, assisted by the trade unions.

Latrobe Valley residents: “The government is failing very badly”

By Michelle Stevens, 26 October 2017

”People are often embarrassed that they need help.”

Documents show US participation in 1965-66 massacres in Indonesia

By Mike Head, 25 October 2017

Up to one million workers, peasants and supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party were murdered, in one of the greatest imperialist crimes of the 20th century.

Labour Party details coalition agreement with New Zealand First

By Tom Peters, 25 October 2017

Despite winning just nine seats, the right-wing and anti-China NZ First has been given the key roles of deputy prime minister, foreign minister and defence minister.

Australian flu epidemic inundates public health services

By John Mackay, 25 October 2017

Emergency room visits reached record levels at the peak of the winter season in many major hospitals.

Australian spy agency promotes anti-China witch-hunt

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 October 2017

ASIO’s allegation that “foreign powers” are seeking to influence “public opinion” will be used to crackdown on opposition to US plans for war with China.

Australian government tries to force refugees from one prison camp to another

By Max Newman, 24 October 2017

“We explained over and over again that we would rather stay in the Manus prison without hope than face violence in Lorengau,” a refugee explained.

New Zealand: Official silence over Taylor Preston meatworks death

By John Braddock, 23 October 2017

The ongoing silence serves to protect the legal and financial position of the company at the expense of workers.

Australian Senate formally denounces commemorations of the Russian Revolution

By Nick Beams, 23 October 2017

A resolution introduced by right-wing Senator Cory Bernardi underscores the fear in ruling circles of the shift to the left among wide layers of the world’s population, especially young people.

Australian university union blocks debate at WSU stopwork rally

By our correspondents, 21 October 2017

Trade union enterprise agreements have been the vehicle for facilitating all the government-employer attacks on university staff and students.

Western Sydney University workers denounce cuts to jobs and conditions

By our correspondents, 21 October 2017

Academics and other campus workers condemn the worsening conditions for university staff and students.

South Korean media workers continue strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

21 October 2017

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

Australia: Glencore steps up provocations against locked-out miners

By Terry Cook, 20 October 2017

The giant company is seeking to force through an enterprise agreement that slashes pay and working conditions.

Political lessons of the Australian car industry closure

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 October 2017

The shutdowns are the end product of a decades-long restructuring of car manufacturing, spearheaded by Labor and the trade unions.

Australian military covered up dangers of toxic fire-fighting foam

By Patrick Davies, 19 October 2017

One Katherine resident, affected by the defence department’s poisoning of water supplies commented, “We’re collateral damage… it feels like our lives here really don’t matter.

The Australian marriage equality survey: An exercise in political division and diversion

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 19 October 2017

The aim of both the Coalition government and the Labor Party opposition is to institutionalise the treatment of same sex couples as second-class citizens.

Australian university unions divide opposition to sell-out deals

By our correspondents, 18 October 2017

Far from opposing the combined government-university administration offensive, the two trade unions covering university staff are facilitating it.

Australian bank hearing reveals growing danger of interest-only housing loans

By Nick Beams, 17 October 2017

According to economics professor Richard Holden, the Australian housing market is “spookily similar” to the US before the sub-prime crisis.

Australia: Ipswich workers condemn hundreds of job losses

By our correspondents, 17 October 2017

“We vote the governments in to look after the people, but they are looking after the multinationals.”

New Zealand First delays decision on forming a new government

By Tom Peters, 14 October 2017

Three weeks after the election the right-wing, anti-immigrant NZ First still has not decided whether to form a coalition with the National Party or Labour and the Greens.

Populist senator to resign from Australian parliament and contest state election

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 October 2017

Nick Xenophon is seeking to exploit mass hostility to the South Australian Labor government, which has overseen the dismantling of manufacturing in the state.

Australia deploys for war with North Korea and confrontation with China

By James Cogan, 11 October 2017

A flotilla of six Australian warships is making its way toward the Korean Peninsula and an Australian attack submarine is already in the area exercising with US and Japanese subs.

Australia: Questions emerge over another Aboriginal death in custody

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 October 2017

When Hatfield died, his lawyers were conducting a vigorous defence against robbery charges, to which he pled not guilty in the Armidale District Court.

Australian economy “going into a hole”

By Nick Beams, 7 October 2017

The record run of the Australian economy, 26 years without a recession, has “flattered to deceive,” as major economic problems come to the surface.

Australian governments unveil sweeping new police powers

By Mike Head, 6 October 2017

The latest measures clearly extend far beyond combatting purported terrorist threats, and severely erode the civil liberties of the entire population.

SEP Australia verifies “registered party” status once again

By our reporters, 5 October 2017

The electoral registration of the SEP is an expression of the base of political support that exists for the internationalist and socialist perspective of the ICFI.

Australian Greens demand disqualification of all “foreign” MPs

By Mike Head, 5 October 2017

The Greens insist that the ban should be applied even if parliamentarians unknowingly acquired foreign citizenship entitlements from their grandparents.

Tamil refugee dies in Australian detention on Manus Island

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 October 2017

Rajeev Rajendran is the sixth refugee who has died on Manus Island, and the second in just two months.

Australia: Ipswich workers denounce elimination of hundreds of jobs

By our correspondents, 4 October 2017

The Queensland Labor government and the trade union are enforcing the closures, insisting that workers can find jobs elsewhere, despite the city’s high jobless rate.

Australian job figures cloak reality

By Terry Cook, 2 October 2017

High levels of unemployment, under-employment and casualisation are putting downward pressure on wages.

Australian university union pushes sellout deals across the country

By our correspondents, 30 September 2017

The National Tertiary Education Union used a national briefing to block debate and insist that members accept new enterprise agreements that further undermine jobs and conditions.

NTEU betrays staff at University of Sydney

By our correspondent, 30 September 2017

Despite considerable anger and bewilderment among the 450 staff members at a union branch meeting on September 21, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) pushed through an initial vote for a major sellout of its members at the University of Sydney. The final vote was 301 for and 139 against, reflecting developing concern about the union’s role.

Few refugees leave Australian detention camps under US “swap” deal

By Max Newman, 29 September 2017

About 50 heavily-vetted detainees out of more than 2,000 are being transferred to unknown US locations.

Australian Labor leaders endorse Trump’s war drive against North Korea

By Mike Head, 28 September 2017

Labor leader Shorten in effect gave a pledge that a Labor government would continue Australia’s unconditional support for Washington in any war with North Korea.

Australia: Senate committee calls for flammable cladding ban

By Richard Phillips, 28 September 2017

The report obscures the fact that responsibility for compromising building safety rests with governments, Labor and Coalition, which have undermined the regulatory system over the past 20 years.

Australian government plans anti-democratic laws on pretext of Chinese “sub-espionage”

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 September 2017

The proposed legislation is aimed at criminalising opposition to the US-Australian plans for war against China.

Australian media targets universities in new anti-China campaign

By Oscar Grenfell, 23 September 2017

The corporate press is reviving hysterical accusations of “Chinese influence” in Australia, this time targeting university research projects and international students.

Australian establishment endorses Trump’s fascistic UN speech

By James Cogan, 21 September 2017

The Turnbull government is stepping forward to serve as an international mouthpiece for Washington.

Australia: Two Ipswich meatworks to close, destroying hundreds of jobs

By Gary Alvernia, 21 September 2017

The state Labor government and the meatworkers' union are working to ensure there is no organised opposition to the devastating closures.

University of Sydney union conceals political issues in one-day strike

By our reporters, 21 September 2017

Just days after the 24-hour stoppage, the NTEU struck a retrograde deal with management that will help it impose the government’s cuts.

Australian government’s “media reform” boosts conglomerates

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 September 2017

The new legislation removes any, even nominal, impediment to the further concentration of media ownership within a handful of powerful corporations.

Oppose the NTEU sellout at University of Sydney! For a unified struggle of all university workers across Australia!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 20 September 2017

The union is organising retrograde agreements across the university sector.

No to war and social inequality! For world socialism!

Statement of the Socialist Equality Group on the New Zealand election

19 September 2017

Both major parties, Labour and National, support deeper austerity, attacks on immigrants and democratic rights, and preparations for war.

Australia launches three-month naval tour, directed against China

By Mike Head, 18 September 2017

The mission is unmistakably designed to reinforce the aggressive anti-Chinese drive by Washington.

Australia: New “learning precinct” ties public schools to business

By David Cohen, 18 September 2017

The project has little to do with the quality of education; its priority is the Victorian state government’s relationship with the financial and corporate elites.

Water contamination widespread across regional Australia

By John Harris, 16 September 2017

In the past five years, more than 100,000 people have been issued with boil-water alerts.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

16 September 2017

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

Anti-Chinese witch-hunt against New Zealand MP

By Tom Peters, 15 September 2017

Claims that National Party MP Jian Yang is an “agent” for the Chinese government are aimed at aligning the political establishment more closely with US war preparations.

Australia: Socialist Alternative supports nationalist witch-hunt over dual citizenship

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 September 2017

The pseudo-left organisation welcomed the anti-democratic campaign targeting parliamentarians accused of holding an “allegiance to a foreign power.”

Australian television program highlights flammable cladding crisis

By Paul Bartizan, 14 September 2017

Australian authorities have known of the dangers of the widely-used aluminium composite panel cladding for more than a decade.

Western Australian budget slashes thousands of public sector jobs

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 September 2017

Labor’s budget exposes the fraud of its posturing as an opponent of social inequality and as a party of “working people.”

More Australian troops to be sent to the Philippines

By Mike Head, 12 September 2017

Australia’s involvement in the bogus “war against terrorism” in the Philippines is part of its commitment to Washington’s aggressive military build-up and actions in Asia.

Australia: Turnbull government expands “cashless welfare card”

By Richard Phillips, 12 September 2017

The punitive social welfare system is part of an escalating bi-partisan assault on the most vulnerable sections of society.

Australian High Court sanctions deportations of Sri Lankan refugees

By Mike Head, 11 September 2017

The ruling is an indictment of the last Greens-backed Australian Labor government.

Australian High Court permits bogus postal vote on marriage equality

By Mike Head, 8 September 2017

The judges averted an immediate political crisis and gave the go-ahead for an unprecedented plebiscite on an elementary legal and democratic right.

Australian state government and health union shut down pathology strike

By Jason Quill and Oscar Grenfell, 7 September 2017

The Health Services Union welcomed the Victorian Labor government’s application for the federal Fair Work Commission to ban the stoppage.

Australian parliament overshadowed by Korean war crisis and disqualification of MPs

By Mike Head, 6 September 2017

The parliamentary proceedings pointed to the close connection between the danger of war and the reactionary drive to ensure the undivided loyalty of all members of parliament.

The dual citizenship furore in the Australian parliament: What is at stake for the working class?

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 6 September 2017

The citizenship crisis is an attempt to suppress anti-war sentiment and class tensions by promoting nationalism and patriotism.

Australian governments knew about the dangers of airforce fire-fighting foam for decades

By Patrick Davies, 6 September 2017

The chemicals which are used in fire-fighting foam have been found at dangerous levels in water supplies near Royal Australian Air Force bases.

Australia: Socialist Alternative conference seeks new political trap for rising discontent

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 September 2017

The pseudo-left outfit signaled it will deepen its collaboration with Labor and the trade unions amid a crisis of the entire political establishment.

Australia: National Tertiary Education Union attempts to suppress struggle against job cuts at Western Sydney University

By our correspondent, 4 September 2017

The jobs of around 150 professional staff will be destroyed and all security employees retrenched, while other devastating cuts are being prepared.

Australian government urges universities to tear up staff conditions

By Mike Head, 1 September 2017

The tertiary education trade unions will use this week’s Fair Work Commission ruling to intensify their work to stifle all resistance by increasingly discontented university workers.

Australian reports show declining incomes and soaring debt

By Eric Ludlow and Oscar Grenfell, 31 August 2017

The ongoing property boom is forcing young people to live at home with their parents for longer, while creating a debt crisis for millions of working people.

Australian government offers to send troops to the Philippines

By Mike Head, 30 August 2017

Confronting a deepening political crisis at home, Malcolm Turnbull is seeking to don the mantle of a wartime prime minister.

Australian property bubble fuelling mortgage stress

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 August 2017

The divergence between soaring property prices and stagnating wages, along with a massive increase in debt, has sparked fears of a housing market crash.

Turnbull government defends reported killing of Australian children in Syria

By Mike Head, 25 August 2017

If proven, it would be the first known case of the government facilitating the targeted assassination of Australian citizens since the “war on terrorism” was launched.

Australian history curator Laila Ellmoos discusses 1917: The Great Strike with the WSWS

By Richard Phillips and Cheryl Crisp, 25 August 2017

“It was a complex strike, but the volume and power of these numbers was extraordinary.”

Pine Gap base automatically involves Australia in US wars

By Mike Head, 24 August 2017

Secret documents show the facility’s role has increasingly shifted from spying to providing “real-time” data for military operations.

Australian High Court sanctions illegal detention of refugees in Papua New Guinea

By Max Newman and Mike Head, 24 August 2017

The judges rejected a challenge to incarceration on Manus Island despite the PNG Supreme Court last year ruling it was an unconstitutional deprivation of liberty.