By Mark Church - 11 June 2013
An estimated 55 people, thought to include women and children, are dead after another boat carrying asylum seekers sank last week in the Indian Ocean near Christmas Island, an Australian outpost...The tragedy has raised further questions about the Australian government’s anti-refugee policy, including its refusal to take responsibility for the rescue of passengers aboard vessels in distress.
By John Pilger - Znet Commentary
More than any colonial society, Australia consigns its dirtiest secrets, past and present, to a wilful ignorance or indifference. When I was at school in Sydney, standard texts often dismissed the most enduring human entity on earth: the indigenous first Australians. “It was quite useless to treat them fairly,” wrote the historian Stephen Roberts, “since they were completely amoral and incapable of sincere and prolonged gratitude.” His acclaimed colleague Russel Ward was succinct: “We are civilized today and they are not.”
By Patrick O’Connor - 15 April 2013
A new round of American diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks has revealed that Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has been a US intelligence source for nearly four decades...In 1974 and 1975, Carr was one of a host of Labor Party and trade union figures providing confidential briefings to US embassy officials on the internal discussions, policy differences, and factional rivalries within the Labor government of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
By Patrick O’Connor - 28 March 2013
Two refugees, a woman and a young boy, were killed on Monday when two large waves hit their vessel, just after officers of Australia’s Customs and Border Protection Command had boarded. The latest disaster raises further questions about the culpability of Australian authorities. More than 800 asylum seekers have drowned at sea in the past five years under the Labor government.
By John Pilger and Michael Albert - February 16, 2013
"I grew up in Sydney, in what was then quite a poor industrial city, in a family that was considered 'political': that is, we were 'on the side of the underdog', as my mother would say. Australia was a society divided deeply by class, religion and silence, as Mark Twain recognized on one his visits. He described our colonial history as 'like the most beautiful of lies'. The indigenous people, the oldest continuous culture on earth, about whom almost no one spoke, did not exist; the likeness with South Africa was too disturbing."
- John Pilger
By James Cogan - 26 February 2013
The Australian corporate elite’s demands for the government to impose the kind of drastic austerity measures being implemented in Europe and the US were spelled out again on Saturday in a speech by Don Argus, the former chairman of mining conglomerate BHP Billiton and the National Australia Bank. Argus declared that public spending in Australia was “unsustainable” and demanded a “national conversation about our welfare budget and how it could be better calibrated for the challenging period ahead.”
By Mike Head - 16 February 2013
Many unanswered questions remain about the murky circumstances surrounding the death of a dual Australian-Israeli citizen in a “suicide-proof” Israeli prison cell in 2010, which the media reported for the first time this week. One thing is clear, however: the Australian government knowingly allowed one of its citizens to “disappear” into Israeli detention and die in solitary confinement.
By Nick Beams - 9 February 2013
Two leading economists have warned that the Australian economy faces a major “adjustment” with higher unemployment and lower incomes in the coming period as Chinese demand for coal and other minerals declines as a result of “structural” changes in its economy.
By Mark Church - 5 January 2013
From January 1, more than 84,000 Australian single parents have had their government support pensions removed and replaced by the much lower basic unemployment payment...This latest removal of a section of the social security net is part of a broader Labor government agenda to force people into low-paying part-time or casual jobs and...provide business with a larger pool of cheap labour.
By Mike Head - 22 November 2012
The Labor government yesterday announced a raft of new measures to try to prevent asylum seekers reaching Australia, ratcheting up its already draconian anti-refugee policy. Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s government is increasingly violating the fundamental democratic rights of refugees, and repudiating any adherence to basic precepts of international law.
By Chris Johnson and Richard Phillips - 20 November 2012
Coroner Mary Jerram said the actions of officers involved were “reckless, careless, dangerous and excessively forceful … [and] an abuse of police powers, in some instances even thuggish.” Police officers had displayed “an ungoverned pack mentality, like the school boys in Lord of the Flies … with no idea of what the problem was, or what threat or crime was supposed to be averted, or concern for the value of life.”
By Mike Head - 17 November 2012
Confronted by a renewed global slump and a sharp downturn in mining investment, the Australian Labor government is moving to meet demands from the financial markets and big business to slash spending, far more than it has already done, in order to produce a budget surplus.
By Mark Church - 10 November 2012
Refugees detained by Australia in the tiny Pacific state of Nauru are now in the second week of a hunger strike against their poor conditions and the refusal of the Australian Labor government to process their asylum visa applications...“We are trying to continue our hunger strike until the 12th of November...We want them to start processing our visas, we want them to process our visas in Australia.”
By Patrick O’Connor - 31 October 2012
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Labor government is today putting extraordinary legislation before parliament that will excise the entire territory of Australia from the country’s migration zone...The measure is aimed at stripping the basic legal right of persecuted people to claim asylum and at denying asylum seekers any possibility of accessing the courts to challenge their deportation and indefinite detention in offshore Pacific camps.
By John Pilger - October 25, 2012
Gillard has since returned Australia to its historic relationship with Washington, similar to that of an east European satellite of the Soviet Union. The day before Barack Obama arrived in Canberra last year to declare China the new enemy of the “free world”, Gillard announced the end of her party’s ban on uranium sales...Washington's other post-cold war obsessions demand the services of Australia.