Future Fund must seek urgent legal advice on nuclear weapons – and divest
Media Release: Senator Scott Ludlam, Thursday May 26th, 2011
The Federal Government’s Future Fund is clearly violating its own policies and cutting across Australia’s international legal obligations by investing in companies that manufacture nuclear weapons, the Australian Greens said today.
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Under questioning in Senate estimates hearings this morning, the Acting General Manager and Chief Investment Officer of the Future Fund disclosed that the Fund had not sought legal advice before defending its $135.4 million investment in nuclear weapons manufacturers.
Senator Scott Ludlam said the Future Fund has a policy of investing in companies whose “economic activity is legal in Australia and does not contravene international conventions to which Australia is a signatory”. These investments are held on behalf of public servants, judges and members of Parliament.
Section 13 of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty Act states it is illegal to “facilitate the manufacture, production, acquisition or testing” of nuclear weapons by any person or company, whether in Australia or not.
Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty – to which Australia is a signatory – obliges nuclear weapons states to abolish them, and a 1996 International Court of Justice decision held that use or possession of nuclear weapons is generally illegal at international law.
“The Future Fund was applauded for divesting in cluster munitions manufacturers. The Fund’s investments in nuclear weapons are clearly untenable.
“The board must seek urgent legal advice and promptly reconsider this investment decision.”
Media Contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302