Ethical investment policy for Yarra

Last night Yarra Council voted on the ethical investment policy that I proposed earlier this year. This means Yarra has formally committed to end investment in and ban procurement from the fossil fuel and refugee detention industries. It was voted up unanimously. Huge thanks and congratulations to the activists who came to me with the proposal.

Now, the council will audit its current investments and move to exclude companies who profit from fossil fuels and refugee detention from future contracts with Council. The Council will need to report annually on this process.

This is an important step forward, but alone it is not enough. When services are privatised through contracting them out to private companies there will always be a level of opaqueness about ethical practices. I will continue to push against privatisation and push for council services to be brought back into council control. Only then can we ensure full public oversight over ethical practices.

Genuine solutions to climate change will require massive public investment into renewable energy and expanded public transport, not simply asking corporations to do the right thing. This is also true of corporations who profit from refugee detention. They will not simply turn their backs on hugely profitable industries because we ask nicely. Along with divestment strategies we need broader political solutions.

This is where socialists differ greatly to Labor and the Greens. They view council as a bureaucracy to negotiate between the interests of business and the interests of residents. Socialists, on the other hand, are committed to fighting for the interests ordinary people against the often hostile self-interests of big business. This means holding them to account where we can, but also organising on the ground and building social movements to effect social change. Last nights victory would not have been possible with the many activists committing their time and energy to that goal.

Make sure you make it along to the refugee rights rally this Saturday 1pm at the State Library





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