Australia's four biggest banks — the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB and Westpac — dubbed the "banksters", were condemned for crimes against people and the environment during a protest in Melbourne on June 29.
Protesters marched to each bank, cordoned of the entrance to create a symbolic crime scene and read out a charge sheet.
The action was called by the Socialist Alliance. Margarita Windisch, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Wills, argued the big banks, mines and energy companies should be nationalised and put under community control.
Windisch said: "Australia's big four banks are together the most concentrated and profitable set of banks in the world. The big four banks make a whopping $71 million profit every single day of the week – how is that possible? Most ordinary people are lucky to earn $1 million during a life-time of hard work. “
Windisch said this amount of criminal wealth accumulation was only possible because the banks were ripping off home loan borrowers, gouging customers with fees, and sacking workers while paying their executives huge salaries and bonuses.
“This rip off has to stop and we need to take this wealth back into public hands”
Simon Ross, a Greenpeace volunteer, condemned the big four banks’ involvement in funding climate change. In the past decade, these banks have invested over $5 billion in mining and transportation of coal, coal ports and coal fired power stations, threatening the survival of the Great Barrier Reef and increasing greenhouse gas emissions.