Some industry super funds are investors of a major arms company trading with Saudi Arabia, with AustralianSuper the only one thus far to confirm it has no exposure to such stocks.
The $6.4 million share holding of Electro Optic Systems (EOS), the company at the centre of a controversial deal to supply weapons technology to Saudi Arabia, by Industry Super Holdings was uncovered in disclosures triggered by a restructure in AusSuper’s investments last year.
This investment could prove at odds with both popular and political opinion, as a growing number of governments move to suspect arms deals with the state after a United Nations investigation accused a Saudi-led coalition of committing war crimes in Yemen.
At the time of writing, over 10,000 Australians had petitioned the Morrison Government to take a similar stance and a study by consumer group SumOfUs found that 64 per cent of Australians believed we should stop arms trading with the Saudi state.
Consumers also seemed willing to vote with their feet where arms deals were concerned, with 60 per cent of those surveyed by SumOfUs saying that they would consider switching super funds as a result of this arms investment.
The alleged war crimes by the coalition included an indiscriminate bombing campaign that had targeted civilian-occupied areas such as medical facilities, weddings and school buses.