During UN Disarmament Week (October 24-31), a bill to enact the UN Convention banning Cluster Munitions is to be tabled in the House of Representatives. However, it is unlikely to contain a provision prohibiting financial institutions from funding manufacturers of cluster bombs.
It has been found that the ANZ bank has provided loans of $136.5 million to producers of cluster bombs.
Alistair Gee, executive director of Act for Peace (the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia), said: “The government should go one step further and include a prohibition on these explosive investments in national law.
“The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in August 2009 recommended that the Australian Government consider preventing investment by Australian companies that produce cluster munitions.
“Financial investment in cluster bomb manufacturers represents a choice to support the production of weapons that maim civilians and hinder development in some of the poorest countries … This represents an unethical investment by ANZ and should be dealt with accordingly through national legislation in the absence of corporate morality.”
New Zealand, Ireland, Luxembourg and Belgium have all introduced legislation to ban investments in cluster munitions.