Pressure is building on Australian superannuation funds to dump Russian assets as part of the federal government’s response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Superannuation Minister Jane Hume said the government had asked funds to review their portfolios, see if they had Russian assets and make a decision on divesting holdings in those assets.
She said the superannuation watchdog had confirmed it would take no action against a fund that divested Russian assets as it would not be considered against the best financial interests of members.
“Maybe it is small as a percentage, but it’s a $3.5 trillion industry and even if you only held 1 per cent of your assets in Russia that could equate to billions of dollars, over $17 billion,” she told ABC radio on Friday.
“That is a significant amount of capital that would be Australian’s capital that’s invested in Russia and we would like to see it reviewed.”
Senator Hume said the request aligned with sanctions Australia had already applied to Russia.
At a virtual meeting between the leaders of Australia, the US, India and Japan on Thursday night, the four nations made a commitment to peace and security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton told the Nine Network that, as the situation in Ukraine deteriorated, the government was concerned about the “unbreakable friendship” between Russia and China.
Yet of the Quad countries, only India has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Minister Hume said Australia wanted to see a consistent message from the world against Russia’s actions.
“We think that the entire democratic world should be united in their voice to condemn Russia and its actions,” she told ABC radio.