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Put tobacco on fund hit list



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Media Release

Dr Richard Di Natale Greens Senator for Victoria

23/08/2012

Put tobacco on fund hit list: Greens

The Australian Greens spokesperson for health, Senator Richard Di Natale, today called on the Government to exclude tobacco from the Future Fund’s investments, following the tabling of a Senate report into a Greens bill.

“It is very disappointing that neither the Government or Opposition believe that the Future Fund should be required to invest almost $80 billion of taxpayer funds ethically, but at the very least tobacco should be excluded,” said Senator Di Natale.

“The Greens believe that an ethical framework could be included in the Future Fund’s mandate without compromising the day-to-day independence of its operations. Countries around the world, such as Norway and New Zealand, have ethical investment guidelines and their sovereign wealth funds have not suffered as a result.

“But If the other parties are not willing to support broad ranging ethical guidelines, the Greens will compromise by focusing on one of the world’s most harmful and deceitful industries - tobacco.

“The Future Fund currently has more than $200 million invested in companies like British American Tobacco and Phillip Morris - the same companies who have taken the Government to the High Court in an attempt to undermine the plain packaging legislation.

“The Government has singled out tobacco as the only target of its landmark plain packaging legislation because it is a unique product with no safe levels of use. I hope that it would be willing to single out tobacco again by creating an exclusion for tobacco in the fund’s investment mandate.”

The ACT Government has just announced that it will divest its superannuation investment fund’s of tobacco holdings and there is growing pressure on the New South Wales Government to do the same.

“Both Nicola Roxon and Tanya Plibersek have expressed that they would prefer the Future Fund specifically not to have any shares in Big Tobacco. A simple exclusion in the Future Fund’s investment mandate can make that happen.”

Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600