Westpac

There has been ongoing reporting of individual instances of bank malpractice and occasional reporting of large scale institutionalised malpractice. Reporting of the banking royal commission hearings has quickened the pace. But nobody, including the media, joins the dots: the key financial institutions are structurally given to corrupt practices, writes Evan Jones.

In a victory for the people-powered campaign against the Adani Carmichael coalmine, Westpac ruled out lending its funds to the corporation on April 28.

In a face-saving letter to Westpac employees, CEO Brian Hartzer talked up the company’s commitment to a net zero emissions economy and said its Third Climate Change Action Plan would help do this.

Hunter Valley farmer wins environmental prize

Hunter Valley dairy farmer Wendy Bowman, 83, who has battled for community rights against coal mining since the 1980s, has won the Goldman Environmental Prize. The prize is the world's pre-eminent environmental award for grassroots conservation, supporting individuals taking extraordinary actions to win victories against the odds.

Trawling to be banned in Tasmanian waters

Legislation was introduced into Tasmanian Parliament on April 6 to permanently ban trawling in the state’s waters. The amendment to the Living Marine Resource Management Act 1995 will ban trawlers of any size, including supertrawlers, and will also ban practices such as double trawl netting in Tasmanian waters.

Protests disrupt Westpac’s 200th birthday dinner

Guests attending Westpac’s black tie 200th birthday gala dinner on April 8 were greeted by hundreds of protesters outside the event at Carriageworks in Redfern, who angrily denounced Westpac for not distancing itself from Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine in Queensland's Galilee basin.

Shaun Murray climbed some scaffolding and chained himself to the building, interrupting the dinner for 90 minutes.

"We will do everything we can to make sure Westpac decides they won't fund the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the Adani coal mine," Amy Gordon, from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), told a crowd of about 200 outside the head office of Westpac Bank on February 20. The rallies were organised by the AYCC and 350.org.

Just as the big 4 banks will be promoting how important they are to the community, Green Left Weekly will be there to fight them and argue for putting them under our democratic control for the benefit of society and the planet. But we need your support to do this...

The latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey: Selected Findings (HILDA) report shows that the proportion of home ownership has declined in all parts of Australia, with the greatest declines in NSW and Victoria.

Thereport, released on July 20, reveals that owning a house is no longer the norm and it is likely that renters will outnumber home-owners in the next few years.

The onset of the Global Financial Crisis can be dated to July 2007, when two Bear Stearns hedge funds holding almost US$10 billion in mortgage-backed securities collapsed. That same month, bankers at Lehman Brothers paid themselves $US5.7 billion in bonuses.

Little more than a year later, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy with debts of $US613 billion. It was the largest bankruptcy in history.

Westpac workers have managed to break the link between targets and annual salary in the recent Enterprise Agreement (EA) negotiations between Westpac and the Finance Sector Union (FSU).

After two months of negotiations, including a petition signed by workers across the Westpac Group, FSU negotiators reached an “in principle” agreement effective from 2016.

The link between targets and annual salary increases has been broken, with staff only required to meet minimum behaviour standards and complete compulsory compliance training — which 98% of staff achieved in the last two years.

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