Tell the Board to Butt Out

The Tasmanian Greens today ramped up their campaign to have the state’s public sector superannuation fund, the Retirement Benefit Fund (RBF) divest its tobacco investments.

Greens Health spokesperson Paul O’Halloran MP today launched his facebook site dedicated to raising awareness of the RBF’s $27 million tobacco investments, and called on RBF members to contact the Board and tell them that to butt out of Big Tobacco.

Mr O’Halloran’s RBF tobacco investments facebook site address is:

“When I challenged Finance Minister, Scott Bacon, last week to require the RBF to get our public sector workers’ hard earned money out of Big Tobacco, the Minister’s response was that RBF members should lobby the Board for change,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“In response to my question, Minister Bacon said the following, ‘the board has said that if a majority of their members approach them to see them get out of tobacco investments they will seek to do that’.” [1]

“The RBF is fast falling behind the standard set by other public sector super funds. The Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation informed Senate Estimate hearings last week that they are in the process of divesting its publicly-funded tobacco holdings of approximately $100 million.”

“A recent ABS Australian Health Survey 2011-12 shows that Tasmania has the highest smoking rate across the states at a massive 23.2% compared with the national average of 18.1% for current smokers as a proportion of the population.”

“We also have unacceptably high smoking rates amongst our young people and pregnant women.”

“Many Tasmanian professionals, teachers, nurses, doctors, dentists, midwives, counsellors work hard to tackle tobacco addiction in our community, as well as having to deal with tobacco-related illnesses on a daily basis. It beggars belief that then their hard earned salaries go into propping up the tobacco industry.”

“Tackling our tobacco rates is a serious public health issue facing the state, and Tasmanians deserve leadership from all tiers of government including our institutions to address tobacco addiction.”

“If the RBF is not going to show leadership and do the right thing proactively, then the Greens are urging all RBF members to get active and send the Board the message to butt out of British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco, Philip Morris and the Swedish Match Company,” Mr O’Halloran said.

• DOWNLOAD: Fact Sheet – Superannuation Funds’ Track Record on Tobacco Investments, Paul O’Halloran MP, November 2013.


• Reference: [1] House of Assembly Hansard, 20 November 2013.
Paul O’Halloran MP Greens Health spokesperson