Winning the toss and strangely opting to bat first at the WACA Ground, the tourists were rolled over in seamer friendly conditions for 70 off 23.5 overs, their third lowest score in ODIs.
Captain Darren Sammy top scored with 16 to be one of only three batsmen in double figures, as Darren Bravo and opener Kieran Powell both made 11.
The experienced Ramnaresh Sarwan, seasoned all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and big-hitting Kieron Pollard were all removed without scoring by left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc who destroyed the innings with five for 20.
He was supported by right-arm pacer Clint McKay who picked up three for 10 and debutant left-arm seamer James Faulkner who finished with two for 14.
In reply, Glenn Maxwell blasted 51 not out off 35 balls as Australia raced to their target off just 9.2 overs, to snatch a 1-0 lead in the series.
There were ominous signs from the outset when left-handed openers Powell and Chris Gayle (4) both struggled against prodigious movement generated by the new ball pair of Starc and McKay.
Gayle never suggested permanence and was first to fall with the score on 14 in the fifth over. After pulling McKay to the mid-wicket boundary for his only four, he edged one that bounced and moved away two balls later, for Aaron Finch to take an acrobatic catch diving in front of captain Michael Clarke at first slip.
Despite unleashing two lovely cover driven boundaries, Powell was also tentative and eventually succumbed to a catch at first slip by Clarke, prodding outside off-stump at Starc, off the second ball of the next over at 18 for two.
Sarwan’s first international innings in over a year-and-a-half lasted just three balls as Starc bowled him through the gate with a big in-swinging full length delivery in the same over at 19 for three, and with no runs added an over later, Dwayne Bravo fell to a catch at forward short leg.
Pollard survived a massive shout for lbw off the first ball he faced and though he was vindicated by a television review, he then dragged the next ball onto his leg-stump, as West Indies lost four wickets for one run in the space of 13 balls.
When Devon Thomas steered the fifth ball of Faulkner’s first over to Clarke at first slip and Darren Bravo fell to the same combination an over later, West Indies were slumping at 39 for seven in the 13th over and quickly heading towards their lowest ever score in ODIs.
But Sammy and Sunil Narine (0) put on 26 for the eighth wicket, the best partnership of the innings, to steer the Caribbean side away from ignominy. The right-handed Sammy survived a torrid time but grew in confidence to strike two boundaries – both powerful off-side shots in his 37-ball stay at the crease.
He was looking to get on top of the Aussie bowlers when he found himself in a tangle off the first ball of McKay’s second spell, and spooned a simple catch for George Bailey to take running in from short mid-wicket at 65 for eight in the 21st over.
The end came swiftly. Left-hander Narine played and missed at the first five balls of McKay’s next over before edging the last through to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and debutant Jason Holder was bowled all over the shop to provide Starc with only his second career five-wicket haul and best figures in ODIs.
Maxwell then set the tone for Australia’s reply by ripping into fast bowler Kemar Roach, blasting three fours and six as the first over went for 18 runs.
He moved into high gear with another four and a six off Roach’s next over that cost 11 runs, en route to counting nine fours and two sixes overall.
Holder claimed his first international wicket when he had Finch caught behind on review, cutting at a short delivery at 39 for one in the fourth over but by then there was absolutely no doubt about the result.