Australian Social Issues & Inequality

Australian Labor Party leader offers false hope of “fair go” in budget reply

By Mike Head, 5 April 2019

Acutely aware of seething working class discontent towards the entire political establishment, Shorten sought to promote illusions in making capitalism less brutal.

More layoffs point to worsening jobs crisis in Australia

By Terry Cook, 5 April 2019

Major companies across a range of sectors continue to shed jobs amid forecasts of a worsening global slowdown, particularly in China.

Australian property prices fall faster than during global financial crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 March 2019

Analysts have warned that a host of global factors could transform the downturn into a full-blown economic crash.

The struggle to stem climate change is the political fight to end capitalism!

Join the International Youth and Students for Social Equality!

By the IYSSE (Australia), 14 March 2019

The IYSSE will distribute the following statement tomorrow at high school student strikes demanding immediate action to resolve climate change and environmental destruction.

Australian unions try to push through another sellout deal at BlueScope steel

By Martin Scott, 13 March 2019

Working hand-in-hand with BlueScope management, the Australian Workers Union claimed that the fate of the multi-billion dollar company depended on “sacrifices” being made by its employees.

Workers and young people speak out at Melbourne rally to free Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 12 March 2019

“If Julian doesn’t receive freedom, if Chelsea Manning is not released, then we are going down a slippery slope.”

Warnings of further housing plunge and job losses in Australia

By Mike Head, 4 March 2019

With a federal election due in May, the corporate elite is insisting that austerity measures must be imposed.

Steve McDowell, campaigner for Australian paramedic rights, speaks with WSWS

By Cheryl Crisp and John Mackay, 12 February 2019

“The thing is, if NSWA treated their staff the way their staff treat the public, there would be no issue.”—Steve McDowell

Another flammable cladding fire in Australia highlights government failure

By Paul Bartizan, 6 February 2019

The fire at central Melbourne’s NEO200 high-rise apartment was caused by the same flammable panels used on London’s Grenfell Tower.

Australia: Opal Tower builder stops paying hotel fees for some evacuated residents

By John Wilson, 30 January 2019

Engineers for the body corporate have still not signed off on the safety of the apartment block, which was evacuated last month.

Australia: Port Kembla Coal Terminal locks out workers

By John Harris, 25 January 2019

The union created the conditions for the company attack and has isolated the workers since they were locked-out on Saturday morning.

Signs of slump in Australia overshadow looming election

By Mike Head, 18 January 2019

Regardless of all the promises, a sharp downturn will drive another wave of austerity measures and job-shedding once an election is out of the way.

Evacuated Opal Tower residents in Australia express anger and dismay

By our reporters, 8 January 2019

Residents of Opal Tower in Sydney have been living in temporary accommodation since the discovery of large broken concrete panels in the building.

Opal Tower structural flaws expose rot in Australian construction industry

By John Wilson, 7 January 2019

Residents have been told they must wait at least another week before they can reoccupy the building because the specific cause of the cracking has yet to be identified.

Australia: Structural faults in 36-storey building cause mass evacuation

By our reporters, 3 January 2019

Self-regulation and self-certification have been introduced in every area of the construction industry over the past 25 years, to speed up approval processes and maximise profits.

NSW Ambulance makes stunning reversal of allegation against Australian paramedic Tony Jenkins

By Cheryl Crisp, 27 December 2018

Scrutiny of the “Root Cause Analysis” forces reversal of allegation against veteran NSW paramedic.

Australian union leader warns of eruption of working class struggle

By Mike Head, 20 December 2018

ACTU secretary Sally McManus invoked the spectre of a tsunami of social unrest unless a Labor government bolstered the policing role of the trade unions.

SEP (Australia) meeting announces rallies in defence of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 18 December 2018

The protests in Sydney and Melbourne will demand that the government take immediate action to secure Assange’s return to Australia, with a guarantee against extradition to the US.

Australian workers and youth speak out in defence of Julian Assange

By our reporters, 15 December 2018

“The Australian government’s role in the attacks on Assange has been pathetic, gutless, disgraceful. They just do what the US deep state tells them to do.”

Australian Labor Party prepares for government amid political and economic turmoil

By Mike Head, 14 December 2018

For all the “fair go” rhetoric, Labor’s three-day conference will seek the backing of big business for a government that can suppress unrest, impose austerity and prepare for further US-led wars.

More warnings of an Australian property market crash

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 December 2018

Sydney’s house prices registered their sharpest monthly decline in 14 years, accompanied by rising mortgage stress and indications of a broader economic slowdown.

Baby’s death on Australia’s Gold Coast points to worsening social conditions

By Gary Alvernia, 29 November 2018

The discovery of a dead baby at Surfers Paradise is a tragic expression of intensifying poverty, social inequality, underfunding of public services and government indifference.

Australian prime minister denounces students’ climate-change protests

By Oscar Grenfell, 28 November 2018

Scott Morrison’s comments expressed the acute fear of the ruling establishment that students and young people are beginning to enter into political struggle.

Australia: Welfare cut leaves asylum seekers facing destitution

By Max Newman, 13 November 2018

A new report shows that nearly 80 percent of those cut off benefits are at risk of homelessness.

Australia: Horse-racing lobby forces Sydney Opera House to advertise $13 million horse race

By Richard Phillips, 18 October 2018

Racing industry, media and government bullying of Opera House management was angrily rejected by tens of thousands of Sydney residents.

Sharp rise in child protection interventions in Australia

By Michelle Stevens, 8 October 2018

The statistics point to a deepening social crisis, particularly in working class and rural areas, with the worst impact on indigenous families.

Australian banks downgraded as concerns mount over falling property prices

By Mike Head, 5 October 2018

The loss of “unquestionably strong” status is another indicator of a potential property and financial crash, with devastating consequences.

Australian royal commission reveals predatory practices of insurance companies

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 September 2018

Testimony indicated that the major insurance companies had breached their own regulations more than 30,000 times without incurring any substantial penalties.

Australian university students face unprecedented financial pressures

By Martin Scott, 24 September 2018

Students confront a housing affordability crisis, low-paid work and a mountain of tuition debt.

Rising homelessness among older people in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 22 September 2018

After working their entire lives, older workers are not guaranteed even a roof over their head.

Australia’s financial newspaper warns of another global crash

By Mike Head, 19 September 2018

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

Western Australia: Indigenous boys drown trying to escape police

By Richard Phillips, 19 September 2018

The two teenagers were so terrified of being taken into police custody that they tried to escape by swimming across a dangerous river.

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

By Clare Bruderlin, 17 September 2018

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

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

By Kaye Tucker, 12 September 2018

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

Hundreds of Australian Aborigines killed in state custody

By Richard Phillips, 10 September 2018

Figures published last week by the Guardian reveal that over 400 Aborigines have died whilst in the custody of Australian police and prison officers since 1991.

Reports point to growing social inequality in Australia

By John Harris, 28 August 2018

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

Australia: Footage reveals brutal prison murder of young Aboriginal man

By John Harris, 23 August 2018

The killing is the latest in a series of violent attacks perpetrated by prison officers.

Australian police killed mentally ill young woman seconds after arriving at scene

By Martin Scott, 18 August 2018

The Coroner’s Court was told that 42 percent of those shot by police in Australia between 1989 and 2011 were suffering from a mental illness.

Australian government facing defeat over energy policy and company tax cuts

By Mike Head, 17 August 2018

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

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

By E. Ballesteros, 9 August 2018

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

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

By Hugh Peters, 30 July 2018

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

Report finds majority of Australian youth favour socialism

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 June 2018

The poll showed that the growing attraction to socialism is closely related to a rise of anti-capitalist sentiments.

Australian Senate votes for huge tax cuts for wealthy

By Mike Head, 22 June 2018

The tax plans are designed to boost corporate profits and investors’ incomes under conditions of global turmoil and trade war.

More than half of Australian workers in part-time insecure employment

By Terry Cook, 11 June 2018

Decades of job destruction have produced a “gig economy,” with many young workers unlikely to ever hold a full-time job.

Rich list shows more Australian billionaires than ever

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 May 2018

The wealthiest six individuals alone control almost as much wealth as the poorest 20 percent of the population.

Australian feminists deny mental health crisis behind Margaret River murder-suicide

By Cheryl Crisp, 26 May 2018

The proponents of feminist identity politics provide a cover for the social conditions that led to the tragedy.

Australian apartment owners to join legal action over flammable cladding

By Paul Bartizan, 21 May 2018

Despite last year’s Grenfell Tower disaster in Britain, Australian governments refuse to take any serious action to remove flammable cladding or stop its widespread use.

Report underscores Australian rental affordability crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 8 May 2018

The inflated housing bubble has created a social disaster, especially for recipients of poverty-level government welfare.

Australian health care costs among the worst internationally

By John Mackay, 26 April 2018

Deepening cuts to public health funding mean patients confront higher out of pocket charges from doctors, clinics and hospitals.

Australian banking revelations fuel political crisis

By Mike Head, 23 April 2018

Public outrage has mounted as damning evidence emerges from hearings conducted by a royal commission into financial services.

Australian government forced to delay company tax cut bill

By Mike Head, 30 March 2018

The setback could reignite the factional rifts that have wracked both the Liberal and National parties, especially since the Coalition government’s near-defeat in 2016.

“Financial toxicity” affects poorer cancer patients in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 23 March 2018

High medical payments and reduced income while patients are being treated or recovering from cancer are causing distress and avoidable deaths.

Deep social crisis ignored in South Australian election campaign

By Mike Head, 6 March 2018

After clinging to office for 16 years, the state Labor government could be swept out, or forced to form a minority administration with “SA Best.”

Australia: Why the RTBU is muzzling railworkers

By Oscar Grenfell, 7 February 2018

Having used the ruling of the Fair Work Commission to suppress a strike, for which rail workers voted, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union is trying to silence them and censor any expressions of opposition.

Another rapid rise in Australia’s prison population

By John Harris, 30 January 2018

The 40 percent increase over the past five years points to the escalating impact of “law and order” campaigns, anti-democratic bail laws and punitive sentencing requirements.

Accelerating concentration of wealth in Australia

By Mike Head, 29 January 2018

Of the 19 new billionaires created in Australia over the past 10 years, eight were added in the past year alone.

New evidence of mistreatment in Western Australian juvenile prison

By Eric Ludlow, 27 January 2018

Amnesty International documents ongoing abuses amounting to torture in a youth detention centre.

Australia: Workers reject union-government attempts to cancel NSW rail strike

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 January 2018

Rail workers responded with hostility to the union’s attempt to call off Monday’s stoppage, on the basis of an “offer” providing no details of the government’s demands for cuts to jobs and conditions.

Australian government continues deportations of New Zealanders

By Tom Peters, 17 January 2018

New Zealanders who have spent most of their lives in Australia are being detained and expelled for minor offences or on “character” grounds.

Prolonged fall in average Australian living standards

By Mike Head, 11 January 2018

The ever-greater gap between the fortunes of the wealthy and the deteriorating circumstances of working class families is escalating class tensions.

Australian government promotes racist diversion over so-called “African gangs”

By Patrick Kelly, 5 January 2018

Turnbull has sent a clear message that his government’s agenda for 2018 will consist of draconian new “law and order” measures, along with nationalist and racist hysteria.

Australian car attack highlights mental healthcare crisis

By Will Morrow, 29 December 2017

The political and media establishment has sought to channel the natural humanitarian response toward the victims in a reactionary direction.

Toxic contamination zone expanded around Australia’s Williamtown air force base

By Patrick Davies, 27 December 2017

The suddenly re-drawn “red zone” encompasses another 250 households who were previously told that their properties were not affected and no health precautions were necessary.

Australian government ends year with more austerity cuts

By James Cogan, 20 December 2017

The “improvement” to the budget is coming from the ongoing assault on the living standards of the working class.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Labour’s share of Australian GDP falls to record low

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 June 2017

The new figures underscore the consequences of the intensified assault on the social position of workers, amid a deepening economic crisis.

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.

Falling wages fuel social crisis in Australia

By Mike Head, 19 May 2017

Real wages have been declining for four years, driven by the destruction of full-time jobs and the forcing of workers into part-time employment.

Australia: Tribunal to hear challenge to union-company wage-cutting deal

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 May 2017

The unions and the major corporations are fearful that the case against the deal threatens the entire pro-business framework of enterprise bargaining.

Australian budget: Drug-testing intensifies war on welfare

By Mike Head, 12 May 2017

The measures are aimed at humiliating, vilifying and punishing the jobless, and stripping them of basic legal and democratic rights.

The political issues in the fight to reject the Victorian teachers’ EBA

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 21 April 2017

The most detrimental, long-term aspect of the workplace agreement is that it includes sweeping commitments by the teachers' union to enforce a “performance-ranking” system.

Australian government withholds report on death of unemployed teenager

By John Harris and Oscar Grenfell, 1 April 2017

The Liberal-National government is covering-up the dangerous conditions facing unemployed workers and young people forced onto Work for Dole programs.

Australian private health insurance premiums soaring

By Michelle Stevens, 28 March 2017

Many working class people are now being forced to consider dropping their coverage, intensifying the healthcare crisis.

Report highlights growing social distress in Australia

By John Harris, 11 March 2017

An ME Bank survey indicates that millions of workers and young people are living on a financial knife-edge.

Australia: Young workers speak out against penalty rate cuts

By our reporters, 9 March 2017

Many young people are already deprived of weekend penalty wages, as a result of company-union wage-cutting deals.

Waiting times worsen in Australian public hospitals

By Margaret Rees, 8 March 2017

Conditions are deteriorating in hospitals as a result of the previous Labor government’s restructuring, which has deepened under the current Liberal-National government.

Australia: Three homeless people killed in arson attack

By Chris Sadlier, 7 March 2017

The tragedy is the outcome of growing unemployment and poverty, lack of affordable housing and inadequate welfare and mental health care facilities.