The Green’s push to make the future fund to ditch $ 225 million of shares of tobacco was supported by the anti-smoking groups, who say that the investment objectives contrary to public policy goals.
The taxpayer-owned fund that also invested in nuclear weapons revealed in May that the value of its shares in tobacco has been increased by more than 50 percent between late 2010 and in February of this year.
Since tobacco companies struggle to abolish the usual Canberra’s cigarette plain packaging laws, Greens Senator Richard Di Natale was introduced a bill that would prohibit the Fund from investment in cigarette manufacturers.
While the government refuses to intervene in fund’s investment decisions, fund, Quit Victoria, Action on Smoking and Health Australia and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, and supported the bill.
The executive Director of the State Government’s support for Quit Victoria, Fiona Sharkie, said it was a “disparity between the health and financial policies” that must be addressed.
“Quit Victoria is concerned that while Australia spent considerable sums of money to defend the laws are simply packaging, aimed at reducing tobacco consumption, we also invest hundreds of millions of dollars in tobacco companies are fighting so that these laws are repealed,” Mr. Sharkie said in the introduction.
Executive Director of ASH Australia, Anne Jones, said it was “not appropriate for the government should be investing in an industry that is both deadly and is actively working to undermine, disrupt, and against public policy.”
One of the largest pension funds of the country, First State Super, last week threw all of their investments in the tobacco, after feedback from the participants – many of whom work in health care. He said that the financial implications of decisions would be “insignificant.”
$ 77 billion fund was established for future Howard government to pay for future pension liabilities of public servants, with investment decisions to be made independently of government.
A spokesman for Finance Minister, Penny Wong, defended the organization and pointed out the recommendations of its own investment fund.
“The Future Fund Board takes place policies, ownership includes the consideration of environmental and social issues, and I understand that the Council continues to develop its approach in this matter,” she said.
Comments on the anti-smoking groups have been made in submissions to the inquiry of the Senate to the bill Dr. Di Natale, who also prohibits the fund from investment products are considered “unethical”.
The Future Fund, which asked for comment, said that the purchase of shares in tobacco is allowed to invest their guidelines. He also said having a stake in the fund industry can pressure companies to act responsibly.
In addition to the high court challenge laws, including the exporting of tobacco Dominican Republic, Honduras and Ukraine is also seeking to challenge the conventional packaging laws through the World Trade Organization.