“Green activism is starting to bite at the top corporate tables and federal minister and South Australian MP for Mayo Jamie Briggs says he’s had enough.
Briggs has today written to the Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, Ian Young, demanding an explanation for the university’s decision to withdraw investment funds in fossil fuel companies, including Adelaide-headquartered Santos.
The ANU council announced Monday it had approved a proposal by Young to divest stocks held by its investment arm in seven companies following an independent review of ANU domestic equities.
Its “Socially Responsible Investment Policy” meant ANU would dump its holdings in Iluka Resources, Independence Group, Newcrest Mining, Sandfire Resources, Oil Search, Santos and Sirius Resources.”
IN DAILY – Adelaide Independent NEWS
Now, I know that the Liberals are jumping all over the ANU’s decision to invest “ethically” and divest itself of shares in such mining companies as Iluka and Santos with Joe Hockey highly critical of the move and Christopher Pyne labelling it “bizarre” and if there’s one thing that Mr Pyne is an expert on, it’s bizarre behaviour.
Ok, we could have a long discussion about the merits of ethical investment. We could debate whether or not coal is an ethical investment. Mr Abbott seems to think it’s not only ethical but “good for humanity“. But let us be like the Liberal Party and put ethics aside for a moment.
Here’s a graph of Iluka over the past few months:
Here’s a graph of Santos over the past few months:
What you may notice is that in both cases the share price is on a significant downward slide. (I could go back longer. I haven’t just picked these graphs selectively to make my point). Over the past couple of years, these shares have lost nearly a third of their value from their highs. Forget the ethics, it seems to me that the ANU would have been better to have divested themselves of these two companies some time ago, and it’s probably not a great move to hang on to them given the possible collapse in the price of fossil fuels in the next few years.
Whatever, it does seem strange that the Liberals would want to comment on the share market investment decisions of a university. It invites the University to make some calculations about some of the Liberals’ decisions.
Take Medibank Private, for example, where ads have been telling me that I could soon own a share in this company. Leaving aside the obvious point that as a member I’ve the Australian public, I’m already one of its owners, one has to ask whether the one-off windfall will be enough to compensate for the loss of an income stream. The government could borrow the money for about 3% and, if Medibank Private is making more than 3% on its sale price then they’d be in front. And if Medibank Private isn’t going to provide a revenue of greater than the 3%, then the future shareholders are being sold a dud.
Or do the Government just think that anything that’s privately managed will do better than something that they manage. Mm, listening to Abbott and Hockey, they may have a point!