Oceania

The maintenance workers responsible for safety checks on Auckland Transport passenger trains have been locked out for 30 days, from 13 May, following industrial action. The dispute came about because of the difference in pay between the workers – contracted by Spanish multinational CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliares de Ferrocarriles) – and Kiwirail workers. The technicians receive about $7000pa less than Kiwirail workers doing the same job. The workers are asking for a 13 percent pay increase over two years. The counter-offer from the company is 5.5 over two years.

Strike action was taken by over 50,000 teachers throughout New Zealand on 29 May to demand a 16 percent pay increase and improved working conditions. Their strike is the result of a breakdown in pay talks between the New Zealand Educational Institute, the Post-Primary Teachers Association; and the government Ministry of Education.

The Liberal-National Coalition, after being behind in the polls for years, has won the Australian general election. With 78, seats the Coalition have a majority in the lower house to pass legislation, but will have to rely on cross-bench support in the Senate (upper house) to get their legislation through.

The barbaric attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand by a far-right fascist terrorist – indiscriminately shooting men, women and children, killing 50 and injuring many more, live streaming his bloody actions as he carried them out – comes at a time of deepening economic crisis and heightened social and political tensions around the world. All decent human beings are rightly condemning the attack, but we have to ask ourselves: why are such acts of terrorism taking place, and what can be done to end this barbarism?

This month was significant in Australian politics, because it was the first time since 1929 (a period of over 90 years) that the sitting government lost a vote in the House of Representatives. The vote was over Australia’s controversial immigration policy, and the bill – proposed by the opposition party and opposed by the government – would make it easier for sick refugees held offshore to enter the country for medical treatment.

The 2017 general election resulted in a hung parliament on 23 September election night. Under the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system, this is not a surprising result. Now that the special votes have been counted, the National Party, under proportionality, lost two list seats awarded to them on election night, with Labour and the Greens picking up one list seat each.

On Saturday, eight and half years of Liberal/National coalition rule came to an end in Western Australia with the landslide election of a Labor government. Labor won 42.6%, an increase of over 9% on its previous vote, while the Liberals won 31.6%, losing 15.5% on its previous result. Labor are on track to win 41 seats out of 59 in the legislative assembly (lower house) and be the biggest party in the senate (upper house) once all preference votes are counted.

John Key has announced that he his standing down as Prime Minister on 12th December. This has sent shock waves through the National Party. He stated family reasons and getting out whilst he is ahead. These reasons are flimsy ones and bear no serious scrutiny.

We publish here a report that highlights the attack on workers in the Carlton United Brewery, a subsidiary of the giant multinational SAB Miller, whose headquarters are based in London. Denis Rogatyuk reports on the solidarity shown by trade unions in Britain towards their comrades in Australia.

A demonstration of 10,000 took place last Thursday in Auckland (big for New Zealand which has a population of only 4.5 million) against the TPPA [Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement]. There were also smaller rallies in more than 20 towns and cities. [Watch the video]

New Zealand's economic situation is changing for the worse, as the general crisis of world capitalism is unravelling and China's growth is slowing down affecting the whole of the Pacific and Austrialia in particular. Austerity policies are being carried out by the National Party-led government, undermining the political support for the right wing and creating the conditions for an intensification of the class struggle in the period ahead. This perspectives document should be viewed as an addendum to the 2014 document, as the general processes outlined in the previous document are apparent in the present situation.

“Dirty politics” is the name of a book by investigative journalist Nicky Hager. In it he claims that New Zealand government ministers, including Judith Collins, passed on intelligence and other private communications about certain individuals to the controversial right-wing blogger Cameron Slater, known by his blog name Whaleoil. The book has highlighted a lot of the dirty and underhanded techniques used by this National-led government to undermine their critics.

New Zealand perspectives 2014 should be read in conjunction with previous years' perspective documents as they are a continuation from them.  In addition these perspectives should be read in conjunction with the latest World Perspectives analysis and associated material from the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) and Socialist Appeal NZ.

This year sees the centenary of one of the major strikes in New Zealand. It lives on in the memory of the Labour movement along with the years 1890 (Maritime), 1906 (tram workers), 1908 (Blackball miners) and 1912 (Waihi miners).  Already planned are commemorative walks to the most important sites of the dispute in Wellington along with a re-enactment of clashes between workers and “Masseys Cossacks”. Socialist Appeal highlights the important events and the lessons of 1913 that was described as the year that revolution came to New Zealand!

The recent crushing defeat of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in the Federal Election and the election of a viciously right-wing Liberal-National Coalition government has opened up a period of soul-searching in the Australian labor movement.

In last week’s elections the Australian Labor Party (ALP) suffered a historic defeat, with its lowest primary vote since 1903, at just 33.8 percent. In 2007 the ALP won 43.4%, but since then there have been six years of Labor governments, first under Rudd and then Gillard, in which the working class saw the party they had voted for implement policies demanded by big business while real wages stagnated.

As the world economic crisis continues its squeeze and the bosses continue their offensive, the next period is set to see sharpened class struggle in New Zealand. In this document the comrades of Socialist Appeal, the New Zealand section of the IMT, explain the main contradictions in New Zeland society today.

I begin this article on the Christchurch earthquakes and the rebuild by discussing a very different disaster that took place five years earlier in New Orleans. In 2005 New Orleans was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina and an official count of over 1,800 people (1,500 of them in New Orleans) died primarily as the result of the failure of the levees that were supposed to protect the city from severe flooding. Many more died in the aftermath of the disaster because of appalling  neglect on part of the authorities and lack of health care and assistance.

The Australian Labor Party, according to current opinion polling, is facing a crushing defeat at the ballot box come the next Federal election. With a primary vote of only 27%, Labor’s looming annihilation could be on par with or worse than the recent historic defeats suffered in NSW [New South Wales] and Queensland.

Join us!

Help build the forces of Marxism worldwide!

Join the IMT!