Labor’s business club to bully companies

March 04, 2019

Union controlled industry superannuation funds will use their massive clout as investors to drive a post-Hayne transformation of corporate culture, "refashioning" business to focus on the long term.

The Conservative Party supports free enterprise and opposes political correctness moves to bully companies into swallowing the climate kool-aid.

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The Australian Financial Review reports, the Business Council of Australia has complained about big business "bashing" by union controlled super funds.

This is evidenced by industry super tsar Greg Combet who is chairman of Industry Super Australia and IFM Investors, which is owned by industry funds, flagging a potentially painful transition ahead for some companies, in banking and financial services, energy, mining and the rest of the economy.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has written to prudential regulator Wayne Byres expressing alarm about union demands in February that industry super funds use their leverage as investors to pressure BHP to save the jobs of seafarers.

The treasurer said this was a "dangerous development" and warned that superannuation was "not a plaything for union bosses nor a platform for pushing their industrial relations agenda".

Mr Frydenberg sought the "urgent advice" of Mr Byres on this "aggressive union behaviour" and whether the regulator had adequate powers to ensure trustees were acting in the best interests of members.

Mr Combet noted Glencore's about-face on coal production under pressure from investor action group Climate Change 100+ as an illustration of the power of collective action by investors.

In a move it describes as unprecedented globally, IFM has determined the carbon footprint of its infrastructure portfolios and will this year publish emissions reduction targets for its Australian assets. The belief is that if listed companies are required to act on climate change risks, so too should unlisted infrastructure businesses.

Mr Combet shrugged off concerns that industry super funds were susceptible to activist agendas, including campaigns by unions. 

But as the Conservative Party's Victorian Senate candidate Kevin Bailey explains, Labor's changes to the tax rules surrounding super will push more money into union-controlled funds to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of retirees, tens of thousands of small businesses and giving the unions control of even more of your money.

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