Smoking kills 15,000 Australians every year, but until February 2013 Australia had $250 million of taxpayer funds invested in cigarette companies.
The Future Fund was created in 2006 to cover the government's superannuation liabilities. Out of its $80 billion investments, at its peak a quarter of a billion dollars was invested in tobacco companies which destroy people’s lives. Since the Future Fund's inception, neither of the old parties had done anything about the fact that hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars have been invested in this insidious industry.
The fund had invested more than $200 million dollars in 15 tobacco companies, including British American Tobacco, Phillip Morris and Lorillard, some of who have challenged plain packaging in the High Court and through the World Trade Organisation.
After a year-long campaign from the Greens, including the introduction of a private members bill and regular grilling at Senate Estimates, we finally have an end to the hypocrisy of introducing world leading tobacco reform in plain packaging, while simultaneously profiteering from the sale of the toxic product.
This is a massive win for public health, and an example to other investment funds throughout the world.