Government tobacco purchase under fire
THE government’s purchase of tobacco shares has come under fire as the value of its tobacco holdings increased by more than 50% in the past 18 months.
Greens health spokesperson Senator Richard Di Natale said rather than divesting itself of tobacco stocks, the government’s Future Fund now has almost a quarter of a billion dollars in companies like Philip Morris and British American Tobacco.
“This undermines all of the good work we’ve done in tobacco control with measures such as plain packaging,” he said.
“It’s particularly galling when you consider they are the same companies taking legal action against the government.”
Dr Di Natale said Future Fund managing director Mark Burgess explained the holdings by saying engaging with companies was better than excluding them.
The Greens have put a bill before the Senate that would force the fund to divest all of its holdings in companies that produce cigarettes.