A message from the Chair of the Board
The Australia Institute has some exciting news to announce. After 8 years at the helm Richard Denniss has decided to step down from the role of Executive Director of the Australia Institute. On behalf of the Board I would like to express my appreciation to Richard and his family for the effort he has put in, and for the results that he has achieved.
While Norway's decision to divest its $900 billion sovereign wealth fund from coal shares sent shock waves around the financial world, it was the way the Norwegian parliament made the decision that is truly radical. Norway has a conservative minority government, but the idea to sell out of coal started with an NGO, was taken up by a minor party, and ultimately passed the parliament with unanimous support. No wonder the mining companies in Australia are going after the NGOs.
While the public are rightly outraged at the callous tone of the Treasurers ‘get a good job’ remarks in response to housing affordability, economists should be equally disturbed about the bizarre logic behind the government’s approach to the issue.
This report begins by outlining the fast growing campus divestment movement, globally and in Australia, and explores the debate about the ‘moral university’ and fossil fuels. It then explores the first national poll to assess public attitudes towards universities’ ethics and investments, conducted following the national controversy around the ANU divestment decision.
The survey data show broad support for universities investing ethically, and for the idea that universities should avoid fossil fuel investments. The data suggest university divestment decisions would attract more support than criticism from the public and alumni.