Positive Pressure to End Tobacco Investments

The Tasmanian Greens are encouraging Tasmania’s public servants to stand united to stop their superannuation being used to prop up tobacco industry interests, whose products cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

Greens Health spokesperson, Paul O’Halloran MP, today announced a new social media and online campaign to encourage Retirement Benefits Fund members to put pressure on the fund to invest its money ethically.

“We are encouraging each and every RBF member to use their influence to bring about positive change, by calling on the fund to cease its tobacco investments,” Mr O’Halloran said

“Although the State appears to have no ability to direct RBF to invest its money away from big tobacco, that doesn’t mean members are powerless to bring about change.”

“We are urging members to use their power to ring, write and email the fund as well as contact their Labor and Liberal representatives.”

“We believe that very few fund members would support this type of investment and that, with enough positive pressure, the fund would listen and do the right thing.”

“Instead of investing money in companies that kill and cost us billions, the RBF should perhaps consider ethical healthcare stocks that deliver both health and financial returns.”

Mr O’Halloran said the campaign follows his tabling of a motion in the House of Assembly last week that would see RBF required to divest all current tobacco investments.

“The Treasurer has stated that there is no mechanism for her to direct the RBF to dump the $27.19 million worth of tobacco investments in its portfolio, so the Greens will be moving to address that.”

“This motion will test support from the Labor and Liberal parties for the introduction of legislation to end the unethical use of taxpayers’ money to prop up big tobacco,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“Part of this is about better public health, but it’s also about the state’s budget bottom line.”

“Cigarette taxes bring in about $6 billion in revenue a year nationally, while treating tobacco diseases costs about $31 billion.”

“With healthcare costs increasing exponentially, we need to consider ending tobacco investments as being part of a fiscally responsible approach budget management.”
Paul O’Halloran MP Greens Health Spokesperson Sunday, 10 March 2013