Australia attempting to ward off Chinese influence among Pacific island nations

Sam Pietsch Australia’s rivalry with China in the south-west Pacific is intensifying. On 8 November, Scott Morrison declared it was time for Australia to “step up” in the region. He revealed a new aid package for Pacific island countries, featuring a $2 billion financing facility to help construct bas...CONTINUE READING

Mateship of mongrels: seven decades of the US-Australia alliance

Sam Pietsch In a rare moment of clarity, Donald Trump tweeted after Scott Morrison became prime minister, “There are no greater friends than the United States and Australia”. Coming from the bigot-in-chief, such endearment would turn the stomach of any decent human being. But it was a sweet serenade t...CONTINUE READING

Australia is a master at peddling foreign influence

Sam Pietsch New “foreign influence” laws were passed by federal parliament on 28 June, along with increased police powers relating to espionage and sabotage of infrastructure. The laws purport to counter the pernicious effect of overseas countries, specifically China, on Australian democracy. “Media r...CONTINUE READING

Manus Island: Australia’s neo-colonial gulag

Sam Pietsch The Manus Island concentration camp is not only the culmination of Australia’s increasingly brutal treatment of refugees over many years. It also epitomises the neo-colonial relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Colonial powers have long favoured “offshore processing” for un...CONTINUE READING

Abbott pushes for public sector pay freeze

Sam Pietsch Commonwealth public servants are facing the most serious threat to pay, conditions and job security in nearly 20 years, as enterprise agreements covering around 160,000 workers are due to expire on 30 June. Tony Abbott’s recently released wish list for bargaining is headed by a blanket wag...CONTINUE READING