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Surely Making Money Is Always Ethical . . .

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:

IMG_1078.PNG

Here’s a graph of Santos over the past few months:

IMG_1077.PNG

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!

9 comments

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  1. Kaye Makovec

    ” 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.”

    Which were my thoughts too on reading of the price of coal going down and expected to go down even further.

    My question is – why is it always the first step for many to blame the few ‘greenies’ for everything from factories closing to mining cut backs to the falling price of coal?

    And if he’s had enough he can always leave as the stress of seeing his mates lose in the stock market must be terrible after having it so very good for a long time 🙂

  2. nettythe1st

    And stockpiles of coal are growing.

  3. stephentardrew

    These guys are so unbelievably stupid. They just keep kicking own goals. The facts are obvious, the figures are in, and they are shown for the knee jerk, protect you mates, fools they have always been. Lets see how they lie their way out of his one because they most certainly will.

  4. stephentardrew

    Nice to see Mark Scott coming out fighting.

    The crap is mounting and the ship is listing so just keep drilling all those little holes and watch her go down with all on board.

    I wonder if the captain will jump ship or be pushed.

    We might go from Captain Evil to the Gay Buccaneer or the Asbestos Warrior.

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-risks-political-pain-with-abc-budget-cuts-warns-mark-scott-20141013-115g59.html

  5. mars08

    Jamie Briggs, the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, accused the university of making its decision with a “seeming lack of concern about the possible reputational damage to the companies concerned”.

    He said the ANU had failed to offer them the opportunity to respond to the allegation that they were not socially responsible.

    “If the ANU are going to run their decisions based on green activists, then taxpayers should think about the investment they make in this publicly-funded university,” he said.

    Soooo… it’s not the companies or their product that’s driving this issue. Apparently it’s those nasty, meddling green activists. Damn them!

  6. Kaye Lee

    ““If the ANU are going to run their decisions based on green activists, then taxpayers should think about the investment they make in this publicly-funded university,” he said.”

    If the Coalition is going to run its decisions based on corporate greed and nepotism, then taxpayers should think about the investment they make in this publicly-funded government.

  7. stephentardrew

    Looking around Dear Leaders threat to Putin has gone viral.

  8. Sir ScotchMistery

    Just heard that Tasmanian person Lambie has called on the current occupant of the seat normally used by the Prime Minister to grow up. Apparently she feels his behaviour is juvenile.

    Apparently the irony of her comments about the yellow hordes some days ago missed her.

    I now know why the army got rid of her.

    On topic, with the current “education” mincer calling on universities to be self funding, ethics aside, the ditching of big-polluters makes good investment sense as well.

  9. Keith

    We keep on hearing about market forces determining what’s happening in a capitalist system. A force that has been developing is divestment.
    The price coal is fetching is going down. Even though there is a push against renewable energy in Australia by the abbott gang, thats not happening overseas. The feckless abbott gang with their tea party ideology are years behind what is occurring around the globe.
    Right now the Liberal Party is a subsidiary of Mining Companies; Companies have certainly paid enough donations for that to be the case.
    The ANU has every right to invest how they wish; investment is not a matter of being nice to the LNP, Labor, PUP, or Greens.

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