Australian Social Issues & Inequality

Why is there “no money” for basic social needs?

By Mike Head—SEP candidate for the Senate in Queensland, 27 May 2016

All around the world, governments are seeking to dismantle welfare entitlements, minimum wages, retirement pensions, and access to education and healthcare.

Young worker dies on Australian “work for the dole” scheme

By Declan O’Malley, 7 May 2016

Josh Park-Fing’s death underscores the unsafe conditions imposed on jobless workers via the Australian government’s forced work scheme.

Increasing suicide rate in Australia highlights social crisis

By Mary Beadnell, 26 April 2016

Steep increases in the numbers of people taking their own lives point to deteriorating economic and social conditions.

Australian media demands austerity offensive via “double dissolution” election

By Mike Head, 21 April 2016

The corporate media’s concerns reflect the conundrum that has wracked governments over the past decade: how to impose deep cuts to living standards on a hostile electorate.

Moody’s warns Australian government of credit downgrade

By Mike Head, 18 April 2016

The warning highlights the crisis of the Coalition government which is under mounting pressure to implement deeply unpopular austerity measures.

Growing concerns about Australia’s housing bubble

By Mike Head, 11 March 2016

Australia’s economy has so far avoided a recession, largely because of debt-fuelled household spending, based on steep rises in house prices.

Australia: Labor Party, teacher unions prepare further assault on public education

By Patrick Kelly and Frank Gaglioti, 9 March 2016

The Labor and union campaign for a new “Gonski” school funding model is a fraud from start to finish.

Australian feminists deride public sympathy for family murder-suicide victims

By Patrick Kelly and Linda Tenenbaum, 29 February 2016

Public grief and sympathy provoked anger from feminist commentators, providing a revealing glimpse into the political role of identity politics.

Australia’s “Closing the Gap” fraud: Indigenous conditions worsen

By Mary Beadnell, 18 February 2016

Deteriorating social conditions are hitting the entire working class, with Aborigines among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Australian public hospitals face growing funding crisis

By Mike Head, 8 February 2016

According to the AMA’s annual hospital report card, waiting times lengthened in 2014–15 and funding shortfalls will worsen in 2017 when the latest cutbacks come into effect.

Australian state government plans to privatise public housing

By Terry Cook, 30 January 2016

The New South Wales government’s blueprint will provide a bonanza for property developers and finance houses.

Australian nickel refinery crisis threatens thousands of jobs

By Mike Head, 20 January 2016

The livelihoods of workers in the northern city of Townsville and the French colony of New Caledonia are imperiled by the threatened closure of the Queensland Nickel plant.

Australia: Over 100 houses destroyed in Victorian bushfires

By Margaret Rees, 4 January 2016

Victoria has been hit by more than 2,500 bushfires since October but the hottest months, when the most dangerous fires usually occur, are still to come.

Corporate elite demands deeper budget cuts from Australian government

By Mike Head, 18 December 2015

The global slump and collapsing commodity prices have shattered the government’s promises to return to a surplus by the end of the decade.

As court bans racist rally, Australian media promotes far-right

By Richard Phillips, 12 December 2015

The media has provided blanket coverage of plans for an anti-Islamic rally in Cronulla, where racist mobs attacked Middle Eastern youth in 2005.

New research highlights social inequality in Australian schools

By Frank Gaglioti, 9 November 2015

A recent report verifies that ever-widening social inequality in Australia continues to have the most detrimental consequences for the working class.

Report reveals widening gap in Australian living standards

By John Harris, 9 November 2015

The gulf between the richest and poorest households grew over the past decade, and will deepen during the next 10 years.

Chevron to slash hundreds of jobs at Australian gas projects

By Terry Cook, 6 November 2015

The resources giant is eliminating up to 14,000 jobs globally, underscoring the sharp reversal in the mining sector.

Australian government trials new “welfare card”

By Susan Allan, 4 November 2015

Once more, Aboriginal people are being used as guinea pigs for measures designed to dismantle welfare entitlements throughout the working class.

Workers and young people speak out against the demonization of Muslim youth in Australia

By our reporters, 12 October 2015

Young people in Sydney’s western suburbs denounced the claims that the recent shooting at New South Wales police headquarters in Parramatta was an act of “Islamic terrorism.”

Australia: Ausgrid plans far-reaching restructure ahead of privatisation

By Terry Cook, 3 October 2015

Power distribution business Ausgrid intends to close depots, phase out apprenticeships, sell off training facilities and outsource call centres.

Reports forecast worsening economic conditions for Australia

By Mike Head, 26 September 2015

The mining investment boom that partly shielded the Australian economy from the full effects of the global financial crisis, has gone into sharp reverse.

Malcolm Turnbull: Australia’s wealthiest prime minister

By Mike Head, 19 September 2015

Representing the financial elite, Turnbull has been assigned the task of imposing sweeping cuts to working-class living standards.

Australian police fatally shoot 51-year-old postal worker

By Terry Cook, 16 September 2015

The deadly shooting follows a pattern of increasing police repression and violence in Australia.

Australian 7-Eleven workers under-paid and super-exploited

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 September 2015

Convenience store workers, often vulnerable international students, are forced to work for half-pay.

Australian “reform summit” highlights economic and political fragility

By Mike Head, 27 August 2015

The purpose of the “extraordinary gathering” was to use the “urgency” of the global slump to drive through a new wave of attacks on jobs and living standards.

Australian government budgets target working class suburbs

By Cheryl McDermid, 10 August 2015

NATSEM research shows that the poorest suburbs are the worst affected by the budgets.

Australian business demands deeper cuts to wages and conditions

By Mike Head, 7 August 2015

The Productivity Commission report sets out a framework for cutting wages and conditions to the levels already imposed on workers in Europe and America.

Australian parliamentary speaker resigns amid scandal over helicopter ride

By Peter Symonds, 3 August 2015

Bronwyn Bishop was compelled to step down, above all, because her extravagant spending became a focus for public hostility toward the entire parliamentary set-up.

US Department of Homeland Security spied on Black Lives Matter protesters

By Josh Varlin, 28 July 2015

Homeland Security has been spying on Black Lives Matter protesters since the police killing of Michael Brown in August 2014.

Australia: Sydney’s median house price tops $1 million

By Oscar Grenfell, 28 July 2015

The housing bubble, fueled by a frenzy of speculative investment, has led to obscene house prices, well beyond the reach of working people.

Bipartisan agreement on austerity at Australian premiers’ summit

By Mike Head, 24 July 2015

The assembled Labor and Coalition leaders were unanimous about finding ways to enforce deep cuts to social spending and living standards.

Large police mobilisation at right-wing Reclaim Australia rallies

By James Cogan, 20 July 2015

Reclaim Australia has been emboldened by the climate of anti-terrorism hysteria whipped up by the political establishment and the media.

Australian state government to slash hundreds of electricity jobs

By Terry Cook, 10 July 2015

Networks NSW jobs are being eliminated to cut costs and make the sale of its businesses more attractive to potential buyers.

Australian prison riot highlights spiralling detention rates

By Patrick Kelly, 9 July 2015

Skyrocketing inmate numbers and deteriorating conditions have created an explosive crisis throughout the prison system.

Unemployed forced to “work for the dole” in Australia

By Zac Hambides, 6 July 2015

Thousands of unemployed workers are now being forced to carry out unpaid work in exchange for welfare payments.

Australia Post to axe another 1,900 jobs in preparation for privatisation

By Keith Morgan, 4 July 2015

The claim of mail business losses is a smokescreen to eliminate as many as 10,000 jobs over the next three years.

Inequality in Australia rising at one of world’s fastest rates

By Cheryl McDermid, 3 July 2015

Australia’s mining boom benefited a tiny elite at the top of the income table.

Budget bipartisanship in Australia: Labor backs more Abbott government cuts

By Mike Head, 1 July 2015

Labor leader Shorten helped push through a fuel excise increase that will raise $3.6 billion from motorists over the next five years.

Australia: Fire inquest told Bankstown apartment block still unsafe

By Richard Phillips, 30 June 2015

The long-delayed inquest into the Euro Terraces apartment fire that killed a student and badly injured another began hearings this month.

Abbott government calls for sackings at Australian Broadcasting Corporation

By Nick Beams, 26 June 2015

The ABC is mounting a defence of free speech on its knees, having accepted the essential premise of the Abbott government’s attack.

Australian treasurer denies housing affordability crisis

By Terry Cook, 24 June 2015

Rampant speculation by banks and property developers, encouraged by government tax breaks, has produced an astronomical increase in housing prices.

Australian Greens back Abbott government’s deep pension cuts

By Mike Head, 18 June 2015

The Greens sent a clear message of their readiness to play a central role in imposing austerity measures on the working class.

Australian cleaners denied penalty rates by trade union for more than a decade

By our reporters, 17 June 2015

Cleanevent workers speak to the WSWS about their poor pay and conditions, and the role of the Australian Workers Union.

Gloomy outlook on Australian economy from central banker

By Nick Beams, 12 June 2015

Ongoing global stagnation is increasingly impacting on the Australian economy.

Australian reports on wealth and poverty: A tale of two countries

By Cheryl McDermid, 9 June 2015

The poorest Australians eke out an existence on an impossible $43.45 per day, while the average daily income of the richest 200 is an obscene $2.7 million.

Australian union boosted membership lists by imposing low wages

By Mike Head, 5 June 2015

The Australian Workers Union agreement saved Cleanevent $6 million over three years, at the expense of low-paid casual cleaners.

A WSWS investigation into the social crisis in Australia’s Mount Druitt

Workers and young people speak out against growing poverty

By our reporters, 5 June 2015

The WSWS spoke with residents about the decades of job cuts and the dismantling of essential social services.

A WSWS investigation into the social crisis in Australia's Mount Druitt

“A lot of our people are trapped in a poverty cycle”

By our correspondents, 4 June 2015

In Mount Druitt, Aboriginal people, one of the most oppressed layers of the working class, confront many health and social problems.

Struggle Street: Dehumanising the poor in preparation for new welfare cuts

By Richard Phillips and Chris Gordon, 3 June 2015

Struggle Street feeds into the reactionary ideology of “individual responsibility” which is central to justifications for endless welfare cutbacks.

A WSWS investigation into the social crisis in Australia’s Mount Druitt

“Where are we going to herd our poor?”

By our correspondents, 3 June 2015

The WSWS interviewed Jon Owen, a community worker with the Urban Neighbours of Hope.

A WSWS investigation into the social crisis in Australia’s Mount Druitt

Funding cuts push community organisations to the brink of closure

By our correspondents, 2 June 2015

Organisations providing essential services for residents are being forced to shut their doors.

More job cuts in Australian car industry

By Chris Sadlier, 1 June 2015

For the first time in 28 years, General Motors Holden resorted to the forced sacking of 90 workers.

A WSWS investigation into the social crisis in Australia’s Mount Druitt

“Youth have been neglected”

By our correspondents, 1 June 2015

The WSWS interviewed a young homeless woman about her plight and the worsening social inequality.

Sydney’s Mount Druitt: A microcosm of Australia’s social crisis

By a WSWS reporting team, 30 May 2015

Over the past two weeks, a WSWS reporting team has spoken to community organisations, workers and youth about the worsening social conditions in western Sydney and the damaging impact of the recent federal budget.

Australian budget targets working-class households

By Mike Head, 26 May 2015

The majority of families will lose between about $2,000 and $6,000 a year by 2018–19.

Australian unemployment levels continue to rise

By Terry Cook, 13 May 2015

The latest official unemployment figures and new job cuts expose the Abbott government’s budget forecasts.

Australian government shifts tactics in pursuit of budget austerity

By Nick Beams, 12 May 2015

The Liberal government is standing the concept of “fairness” on its head to try to push through greater social inequality in its second budget, to be delivered today.

Australian “Rental Affordability” report highlights housing crisis

By Oliver Campbell, 11 May 2015

An overheated housing bubble, growing unemployment and low wages are having a devastating social impact.

Australian Senate tax grandstanding: A preparation for austerity

By Mike Head, 10 April 2015

The posturing in a Senate committee this week over the need to “tax the rich” is window dressing for deeper cuts to essential social spending.

Australian government welfare report prepares brutal assault against disabled, unemployed

By Patrick Kelly, 24 March 2015

The dismantling of welfare aims to give many recipients no choice but to accept low-wage employment.

Australian Intergenerational Report: A fraudulent justification for sweeping budget cuts

By Nick Beams, 7 March 2015

The report’s argument that a budget crisis will be created because people are living longer as a result of medical advances highlights the perverted logic of the profit system.

Big business in Australia lays out its agenda

By Nick Beams, 4 March 2015

Behind the political crisis of the Abbott government is a deepening offensive being prepared by the corporate and financial elites against the working class

Bipartisan support for anti-democratic data retention bill in Australia

By Mike Head, 3 March 2015

A parliamentary report gives the green light for police-state powers of mass surveillance to be handed to the government and its spy and police services.

NSW election: The fraud of Labor’s opposition to privatisation and austerity

By James Cogan—SEP candidate for Summer Hill, 3 March 2015

Labor leader Foley tried to cover up the record of state and federal Labor governments, in attacking the living standards of workers and youth.

Vote Socialist Equality Party in the New South Wales election

Against war and austerity! For social equality and democratic rights! For a workers government and socialist policies!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 2 March 2015

Our campaign is aimed at building the SEP as the new revolutionary leadership of the working class and advancing a socialist and internationalist program.

Unemployment in Australia at 12-year high

By Terry Cook, 21 February 2015

Officially, the number of jobless workers now stands at nearly 800,000, due to the job destruction under Liberal-National and Labor governments alike.

Australian prime minister clings to office

By Peter Symonds, 9 February 2015

Prime Minister Tony Abbott fended off a leadership challenge today, but the political turmoil inside the ruling Liberal Party will continue.

Australia: Murdoch newspaper denounces universities for “over-educating” students

By Will Morrow, 23 January 2015

An editorial in the Australian newspaper reveals the deeply-reactionary ideological agenda that underlies the bipartisan political assault on the right to university education.

Oxfam: Richest one percent set to control more wealth than the bottom 99 percent

By Andre Damon, 20 January 2015

As the global financial oligarchy descended on Davos, Switzerland this week, the Oxfam charity released new figures on the colossal growth of social inequality.

Violent crackdown on hunger strikers in Australian refugee camp

By Will Morrow, 20 January 2015

The Abbott government hailed the repression of asylum seekers by security forces on Manus Island.

Australian government in disarray over doctors’ fees

By Mike Head, 16 January 2015

Despite the latest backflip—the second in a month—the underlying drive to dismantle the subsidised health system will continue.

Australian state government drafts anti-free speech defamation laws

By Patrick Kelly, 12 January 2015

Having already banned anti-business protests, the Tasmanian government is preparing laws to allow companies to sue anyone criticising their activities.

Australian establishment lays out agenda after Sydney siege

By James Cogan, 23 December 2014

The prime minister signalled with a cabinet reshuffle how he intends to exploit the hostage crisis to implement austerity as well as boost the “war on terror.”

Eight children found dead in Cairns, Australia

By Will Morrow, 20 December 2014

A mother has been charged with murder, pointing to tragic circumstances and a worsening social crisis.

Jobless toll continues to rise in Australia

By Mike Head, 13 December 2014

There are now about five times as many unemployed workers as the number of job advertisements.

Australia: Eleven-year-old Aboriginal boy commits suicide

By Susan Allan, 8 December 2014

A record level of suicides by Aboriginal children and teenagers is a product of decades of poverty and a damning indictment of the profit system.

Youth in Australia worse off than their parents

By Zac Hambides, 3 December 2014

This generation of young people will become the first in the post-war period to have a lower standard of living than their parents.

The Australian Greens and “human rights” imperialism

By James Cogan, 29 November 2014

At the recent G20 summit, the Greens singled out Chinese President Xi Jingping to present a protest letter on “human rights”—in line with Washington’s confrontational stance towards Beijing.

Australian government outlines major cuts to public broadcasters

By Oliver Campbell, 21 November 2014

The spending cuts go hand-in-hand with disciplining the ABC to ensure that it functions more closely as a propaganda arm of government.

Australian state government unveils huge asset sales

By Barry Andrews, 29 October 2014

The Queensland government’s privatisation plan is in response to the end of the mining export boom in Australia and the collapse of its revenue base.

Poverty and inequality worsening in Australia

By Alan Leigh, 23 October 2014

Nearly 14 percent of the Australian population is living in poverty, according to a report by the Australian Council of Social Service.

Burqas banned in Australian parliament

By Richard Phillips, 10 October 2014

The ban was issued during a series of terror scares designed to justify the US war in Iraq and Syria and draconian new anti-terror legislation.

Australian paramilitary police kill man in Brisbane siege

By Mike Head, 30 September 2014

Television news footage showed police commandos firing multiple shots at pointblank range at the man.

Job cuts mounting in Australia as mining slump intensifies

By Terry Cook, 26 September 2014

In the past week alone, coal mine closures in central Queensland have directly destroyed another 700 jobs.

Australia: Tasmanian budget cuts public sector jobs, wages

By Patrick Kelly, 2 September 2014

Tasmania already has the worst poverty and unemployment levels of any Australian state.

Australian budget protests: A political balance sheet

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 30 August 2014

Protest organisers have channelled public opposition into the dead-end of parliamentary manoeuvre, promoting the illusion that Labor and the Greens would block the budget measures.

Australia: Real wages cut as corporate profits soar

By Terry Cook, 21 August 2014

Pay levels of casualised workers in the private sector are increasing at less than half the inflation rate, while the wealthy elite reaps the benefits.

Australia: Deaths of young homeless couple highlight social crisis

By Daniel Saul, 20 August 2014

Homelessness has risen due to the pro-business policies of both major parties.

Australian journalist targeted under Racial Discrimination Act over Israel war coverage

By Laura Tiernan, 19 August 2014

Mike Carlton’s resignation was the result of a concerted campaign by Murdoch’s News Limited and the right-wing Zionist lobby.

Australian unemployment rate rises to highest level in 12 years

By Will Morrow, 8 August 2014

The July figures begin to show the impact of an ongoing tidal wave of job cuts, plus the lack of new jobs for young people.

Political crisis intensifies over Australian austerity budget

By Mike Head, 7 August 2014

Because of the popular hostility to the key social spending cuts, none of the “cross-bench” senators feels able to publicly support them.

Australian government moves to cut public sector pay and conditions

By Terry Cook, 7 August 2014

The proposed DHS agreement will create a benchmark to impose similar attacks on other federal public sector workers.

Unemployed Australians to be forced to apply for 40 jobs a month

By Mike Head, 30 July 2014

The new rules are designed to cut thousands off welfare benefits, and coerce them into low-paid work.

Australia: Queensland by-election highlights discontent over austerity

By Mike Head, 23 July 2014

The state government’s defeat reflects, in a confused form, the widespread outrage toward the assault by state and federal governments on social spending.

Australian youth and workers denounce cuts to Sunday pay rates

By our reporters, 16 July 2014

The decision will have devastating consequences for tens of thousands of poorly-paid workers.

Australia’s Rich List: “Big wealth is back”

By Alan Leigh, 3 July 2014

The number of billionaires reached a record of 39, primarily because of rises in property and share values.

Australian government report outlines dismantling of welfare system

By Richard Phillips, 1 July 2014

The proposed measures would see thousands of people forced into deeper poverty and low-wage employment.

Australian Senate pushes through budget appropriation bills

By Mike Head, 1 July 2014

While not ending the impasse of the budget, Labor and the Greens have quietly passed the essential legislation to allow the Abbott government to keep functioning.

Growing social inequality in Australia

By Richard Phillips, 20 June 2014

New data shows that Australia’s richest 1 percent own the same wealth as the bottom 60 percent of the population.