Disinvestment campaigners in Australia are celebrating a policy shift by one of Australia’s largest banks. In recent months, ANZ Bank revised and expanded its Military Equipment Policy, following many years of continued engagement between campaigners and bank officials.
In October 2010, ANZ stated that, from now on, it “will not be involved with direct financing or contract bonding related to the sale or manufacturing of controversial weapons (specifically cluster munitions and antipersonnel landmines)” and “does not wish to engage more broadly with customers that are involved in the production of components designed for specific use in these weapons.”
“This is a real win for all those supporters who sent postcards to the ANZ to express concern about the bank providing finance to companies involved in the manufacture of these weapons that have caused so much suffering to civilians in every conflict they have been used in,” said Dr Mark Zirnsak, social justice spokesperson for the Uniting Church in Australia, a CMC member organisation. “The ANZ should be commended for listening to the concerns a significant number of Australians.”
ANZ Bank’s new position reflects a significant change compared to the old policy, where ANZ only excluded financing specifically designated for the production of cluster munitions – a category that research has shown is virtually non-existent. The policy now excludes broader financial services to producers of cluster munitions.
As a result of these positive steps, campaigners in Australia have now ended a long-time postcard campaign targeting ANZ Bank.