An important note on Superannuation Fund Divestment from Mandatory Detention

Ever since private superannuation became compulsory in Australia, superannuation funds—and superannuation fund managers—have created an immense pool of investment dollars.

Running in the trillions of dollars, these are both significant elements in the economy and, at the same time, they are also the retirement funds of thousands of workers. This is why there are occupational-specific funds with union representatives on the Boards of such funds.

Individuals can take action to check whether their funds are invested in mandatory detention, as Jennifer Mills did.

Unions can take action to represent the interests of members whose money is invested in these funds, particularly where they have representation on the Boards of these funds.

We do not recommend specific superannuation funds here.

Decisions about which private or public superannuation fund company you put your savings in should be made by you after careful research and consideration of verifiable information.

Unions and professional associations, by contrast, have some representation on the Boards of superannuation funds, and they represent the interests of their members as a whole. They in particular have to decide whether the future income security of workers should be tied to the damaging uncertainty being imposed on those who are indefinitely detained on Manus Island and Nauru. Should the retirement savings of workers be speculating on the continuing existence of detention centres?

Along with Transfield Holdings, Allen Gray Australia Pty Ltd and its related coporations is a substantial shareholder in Transfield Services. It is also a superannuation fund manager, responsible for managing a number of funds. Those funds and the fund managers are listed on page three in the ASX announcement dated January 17 2014.

If you wish to find out more information, please do the following:

  • Request that your superannuation fund send you a letter outlining whether or not they have financial investments in Transfield Services and (therefore) mandatory detention. If they do not know, ask them to conduct a financial audit and to convey the results of this to you in writing.
  • If you are a member of a professional association or union, ask them if they have investigated the investments of the relevant industry fund in Transfield. Similarly, ask them for written confirmation of the information you are given.
  • Do not be put off by attempts to put you off without verifiable information in written form. This is money for your retirement that has been compulsorily handed to superannuation funds to invest. Insist that they do not invest your money in mandatory detention.

Finally, remember that divestment from mandatory detention has many aspects. It includes superannuation fund investments, other shareholders, and a list of companies involved in mandatory detention beyond Transfield.

Take a moment to see how mandatory detention has become a part of your life, your finances, your work, your union and more. Talk to others, find out accurate information, share that information — just as those artists participating in the Sydney Biennale did before bringing their concerns to the Board of the Sydney Biennale.

This is a grass-roots movement against mandatory detention. Don’t take the risk of linking your retirement savings with the policy of mandatory detention.

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One thought on “An important note on Superannuation Fund Divestment from Mandatory Detention

  1. Reblogged this on Unload and Unwind and commented:
    I had never thought about whether or not my superannuation fund or my husband’s was tied to mandatory detention centres like Manus Island. It is worth checking as is checking on your bank’s involvement with Abbott Point Coal Terminal and dumping on the Barrier Reef.

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