This is a speech by Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney, at a picket outside an ANZ bank in Sydney on June 21.
We called this demonstration following news of more job cuts by the ANZ bank despite its recent rise in profits.
In April this year, ANZ announced a record half-year profit of $3.18 billion. This is 10% up on last year.
ANZ is reaping massive profits at the expense of its workers.
And to add insult to injury, ANZ boss Mike Smith has become the highest paid corporate CEO in Australia — his pay packet was $10.1 million last year.
Global competition for lower wages is being used by ANZ to justify sacking more of its staff in Australia. But last year, global competition was used to justify paying Smith the highest salary of any CEO in Australia.
At the time ANZ chairperson John Morschel said: “I understand shareholders’ concern that it is a lot of money, but it's what global banking senior executives are being paid today and the last thing we want to do is risk losing Smith to an overseas competitor.”
ANZ pays the highest when it comes to CEO pay but wants to pay the lowest possible wages for its workers.
On top of this, Smith has urged the government to impose austerity in social spending while giving big business more tax cuts.
It's one rule for those on top and the opposite rule for those below.
It's amazing how much some people get paid to do bad stuff. Smith gets paid $10.1 million a year to charge you for the privilege of using your savings to exploit and sack workers and trash the environment.
Greenpeace has declared ANZ the dirtiest bank in Australia.
It said: “ANZ is the largest financier of dirty coal power in Australia. Over the past five years, ANZ has poured nearly $1.6 billion into coalmines, coal ports and coal power stations.”
The other big banks are environmental rogues as well. According to Greenpeace, ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac together have provided more than $5 billion over the past five years to finance Australia’s coal industry.
No wonder there is the saying: “Show me a fortune and I'll show you a crime”.
What we are witnessing is blatant banksterism.
The Socialist Alliance is campaigning for the nationalisation of the banks, mines and energy companies under the control of the people.
A banking sector in public ownership and other the democratic control of the community could use the $2.3 trillion they hold in combined assets to make the much needed investment in a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy and an ecologically sustainable economy.
The climate emergency alone demands this. And in the process, hundreds of thousands of useful jobs could be created.
This $2.5 trillion in bank assets represents the collective savings and the fruit of the hard work of millions of people.
Under the current system we deposit these savings with the banks — often with the banks charges us ridiculous fees for the privilege of using our savings — and then they use these deposits to invest irresponsibly, make a fat profit and pay their CEO obscene amounts of money.
This cannot go on. It is immoral and it us unsustainable. We need to take back the wealth and put the banks in public hands.