On 21st June this year, Ethical Partners was present in the Upper House of the NSW Parliament to watch the passage of the Modern Slavery Bill, Australia’s first legislation on Modern Slavery. This historic legislation is a very positive first step in addressing the issue, and Ethical Partners strongly welcomes the requirements within this bill for enhanced corporate reporting on slavery within supply chains. Several week later, Ethical Partners was also honoured to meet with the Hon.Paul Green MLC, who championed the NSW legislation, in his offices in Parliament. We enjoyed this opportunity to discuss with him the implications of this Bill for company reporting, and how Ethical Partners can help support the application of this legislation in their dealings with companies. We very much look forward to the enhanced reporting and deeper conversation around the issues of supply chain transparency that this legislation can provide.
A week later, a separate Modern Slaverly Bill was introduced to the Australian Parliament on 28 June 2018 by the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Alex Hawke MP. Debate on the Bill will occur in the second half of 2018.
Key elements of the Federal Modern Slavery Bill include:
The Bill does not include:
(Source for details of the Federal Bill: Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, July 2018)
Emma McCarthy recently joined Ethical Partners. Emma is a passionate final year law student and joins us as Sustainability and Advocacy Assistant. We are honoured to share with you her reflections on the recent UN Global Compact conference, and how it inspired her, as a new recruit to the global sustainability and human rights community, on her journey to fight for change.
During August 2020 the Fund returned 4.10% versus the S&P/ASX 300 Accumulation Index of 3.05%, outperforming by 1.05% (after fees). Overweight positions in Consumer Staples and Industrials added to performance while stocks in General Insurance and Building Products detracted from performance.
It appears that the Australian economy will be asked to grow itself out of debt post COVID rather than experience an increase in taxes once the economy is more stable. So what are the long term projects that would change Australia for the better? It was quite timely indeed then that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) recently released its 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP). It appears to us that AEMO has put down the framework for how Australia will operate with less coal fired electricity generation given we have an aging fleet which will be gradually de-commissioned over the next 20 years.The AEMO Plan is a whole of system blueprint for the evolution and change the electricity market will experience in the 20 years to 2040. It expects 63% of the current coal fired power stations to close by then based on company disclosures and end of life assumptions. Herein lies Australia's great stimulus opportunity.
The last quarter has been the best of times for unprofitable but growing companies and the worst of times for value managers and others trying to buy equities with any margin of safety. Speculative activity in markets has been driven by excess central bank liquidity and real yields moving to -100bps, pushing risk assets higher, the valuations of technology companies up to levels not seen before and gold to all-time highs at around $2,000 USD per ounce.