Aussie bank closure treaty is clickbait fake news

What was Claimed

Australia has signed a World Economic Forum treaty to close all banks and go cashless.

Our Verdict

False. No such treaty exists. The claim comes from a clickbait disinformation website.

There are claims Australia has signed a treaty with World Economic Forum (WEF) to close down all banks and transition to a fully cashless society.

This is false. No such treaty exists. The claim the Australian government plans to shut down all major banks is baseless. The WEF also told AAP FactCheck it has no power to impose treaties or law.

The claim was made by The People’s Voice, a website infamous for publishing viral misinformation and fabricated clickbait news stories.

AAP FactCheck has debunked many of its articles - examples here, here, here and here - while it is also a regular target for other fact-check organisations, see here, here, here and here.

A screenshot of one of the Facebook posts.
The Facebook posts all click through to a disinformation website.

The title of the latest concocted article reads: "Australia Signs WEF Treaty To Close ALL Major Banks and Switch to Fully Cashless Society".

The subheading reads: "Australia has signed a World Economic Forum (WEF) treaty that will see all major banks in the country close as citizens are forced to transition to a fully cashless society."

Links to the article and its false claims are awash on social media, as shown by the results of a Facebook search of the article's headline.

Despite the eyebrow-raising claim in the headings, the March 17 article does not mention the supposed WEF treaty.

Instead, the article refers to plans by Bankwest, a Commonwealth Bank subsidiary, to close its remaining 45 branches in Western Australia by October 2024.

The article goes on to say Australia is transitioning to a cashless society "faster than almost anywhere else", but provides no evidence of a WEF or Australian government plot to abolish banks branches.

A signs for a Bankwest branch (file image)
Bankwest has announced plans to close branches in WA.

The text of the People’s Voice article appears to be copied from an article published two days prior on a website called Natural News.

However, the Natural News article used a different headline and subheading that did not mention a WEF treaty.

AAP FactCheck found no evidence Australia had signed a treaty to close all its banks.

A Google search using the keywords ‘Australia’, ‘bank’ and ‘treaty’ returns no evidence of any such agreement.

The WEF is an independent not-for-profit foundation that "engages political, business, academic, civil society and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agenda".

A WEF spokesman confirmed the claim was false.

"We can clearly state that the WEF has not made any proposals, statements or treaties about closing down bank branches," he told AAP FactCheck.

"The World Economic Forum is not a decision-making organisation and has no power to impose treaties or laws."

The WEF is a frequent target of unfounded conspiracy theories promoted by The People’s Voice - examples here, here and here.

The Verdict

The claim Australia has signed a World Economic Forum treaty to close down its banks is false.

The WEF told AAP FactCheck no such treaty exists and the organisation has no power to impose treaties or law in any nation.

The claim was made by a clickbait disinformation website with a long history of spreading false information. There is no evidence the Australian government plans to close all major banks.

False - The claim is inaccurate.

AAP FactCheck is an accredited member of the International Fact-Checking Network. To keep up with our latest fact checks, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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