This doctoral project analyses the role of Australia's banking sector in addressing and eliminating modern slavery in its operations and supply chains. It explores the corporate, ESG obligations on Australian banks in relation to the Modern Slavery Act, including governance and non-financial risk reporting, with a focus on 'social' risks. It explains that Australia's banking sector is exposed to risks of human rights through operations, supply chains and business relationships in lending, financing, credit, insurance, investing, use of banking facilities, exposure to financial crime such as money laundering and counter terrorism financing, and through offshoring and outsourcing. Leading practice of the UK financial sector is analysed to draw 'lessons learned' for Australia's banks, as they prepare to report under the Modern Slavery Act and embark on the process of 'doing' human rights due diligence. This study critically questions what is effective regulation, and effective sanctions in relation to financial misconduct and this research will inform the Australian Government when it undertakes public consultation for the statutory review of the Modern Slavery Act in 2022.
Banks, Modern Slavery, Business and Human Rights, Human Rights Due Diligence, Responsible Lending and Investment, Money Laundering, Effective regulation
Australian Government RTP Support Scholarship
Acknowledgement of country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer