Westpac has withdrawn financing for a maxi-brothel in Sydney after a prominent Anglican questioned the morality of the bank’s board of directors over the deal.
In an article published earlier this month for the Sydney Anglican Network, Phillip Jensen Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral
repeated his earlier criticism of what has been touted as Australia’s largest brothel.
In particular he singled out Westpac (ASX: WBC) for its role in financing the project.
The Dean railed against the fact that he had become an unwitting supporter of the brothel by owning shares in Westpac .
“The bank does not consult with its minor shareholders about its investments. So it was only when reading the newspaper I discovered that Westpac is the principle financial backer of the brothel in [Sydney’s] Camperdown,” he wrote.
He concluded his article by asking: “Does this mean to invest ethically I must have nothing to do with banking? Does it mean I should sell my shares or protest at the Westpac AGM? Is it illegal for the bank to refuse, for purely ethical reasons, to invest in a legal, commercially viable, and very profitable business? Would such morally discriminating board members be accused of discrimination? It would certainly be discriminating, indeed ethical – but are boards allowed to discriminate or be ethical? And if they are, why is the Westpac board so unethical as to enter into the wickedness of promoting prostitution?”
Earlier this week the adult entertainment company Delecta Ltd (ASX: DLC), the developer of the brothel known as ‘Stiletto’, announced that Westpac had withdrawn funding for the property purchase underpinning the proposal.
The company said it was in the process of looking for alternative funding arrangements.
It is reported that the National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) was also considering providing finance for the development.