Our politicians are dusting off their old policies in readiness for their return to “business as usual”. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer have been talking about personal responsibility, maximising personal choice and rewarding risk taking as they hope the economy snaps back in place. It seems behind the scenes Westfarmer’s CEO is lobbying for company tax cuts and industrial relations reform. Interestingly the fight is also about big business preferences versus the small business lobbies. Despite Liberal leaders saying they are there to support families and small business, it is the Corporate sector who remain the power group.
On power of a different sort there have been major changes in investment in coal, a recent court case that lasted 7 years which will see a 75% reduction in output from its remaining coal fired power plants and no further investment in coal. Austria also announced it is now joining a number of other European countries in being coal free and Japan is making a policy reversal as its 3 largest banks refuse any new investment in coal.
Major drivers of this change are large companies and their shareholders. In Europe BP & Shell have ceased investing in carbon to be carbon neutral in line with the Paris climate targets. Australian companies are beginning to come under pressure as some of the world’s largest wealth funds divest themselves of Australian companies connected with coal. Allianz, one of the largest insurance groups, will no longer insure companies with coal assets, this includes the railways and ports. Talk is no longer of new investments, but stranded assets.
Strange to say I am finding more about politics in the business news: we might have to refocus the group! Meanwhile spare a thought for the garment factory workers in Bangladesh. They export to companies like Target. Due to the virus the world retail market is collapsing and workers in one of the world’s poorest countries are left with no pay and a government that cannot afford welfare. Couple this with what is possibly the largest refugee population in the world and the virus, and a catastrophe seems in the making.