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Australia: Shareholder resolutions on human rights at upcoming AGMs of Woolworths, Qantas and Origin

Shareholder resolutions addressing human rights issues have been lodged for consideration at several upcoming annual general meetings (AGMs): Origin on fracking projects on indigenous land; Qantas on transportation of asylum seekers; and Woolworths on managing labour risks in its supply chains. Westpac has recently stated it will review its membership of business lobby groups.

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27 October 2018

Australia: Qantas shareholders vote against company policy review re company's role in refugee and asylum-seeker deportations

Author: Sarah Wiedersehn, SBS News

26 October 2018

Qantas shareholders have voted "emphatically" against a move to review the airline's policy of facilitating forced deportations of refugees and asylum seekers.

A resolution to amend the company's constitution to insert a 'Human Rights Due Diligence Clause' was put to a vote at the Qantas annual general meeting....

If passed, it would have paved the way for a comprehensive review of the airline's policy on involuntary transportation. 

But the move was defeated, with at least 75 per cent of shareholders voting against the resolution for the constitutional change brought forward by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR).

Read the full post here

20 October 2018

Westpac to review lobby group memberships after shareholder campaign

Author: Ruth Williams, The Sydney Morning Herald

15 October 2018

Westpac has agreed to review its membership of business lobby groups, along with their positions on climate change and other policies, after being hit with a shareholder activist campaign in the lead-up to its annual general meeting.

Not-for-profit group the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility has agreed to withdraw a shareholder resolution...calling on the bank to disclose more information about its membership of the Business Council of Australia and other groups.

The NGO said...it had withdrawn its Westpac resolution after the bank had "shown leadership" on the issue.

In a statement, Westpac said it would "set out principles for engagement with industry associations". It would also "commence a review of key industry association memberships in relation to our main areas of policy interest, including a focus on lobbying and advocacy related to climate change".It said it would do this as part of its annual review....


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13 October 2018

AGMs: Origin, Qantas and Woolworths face human rights resolutions

Author: Joanna Mather, Financial Review

14 October 2018

Origin, Qantas and Woolworths will face shareholder resolutions on human rights brought by activists....

Origin is under pressure over fracking projects on Indigenous land in the Northern Territory, as well as emissions targets.

Qantas faces protest votes in relation to transportation of asylum seekers. And Woolworths is accused of labour rights abuses in its supply chain.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility...has lodged resolutions to be aired at the companies' upcoming AGMs.

...At the Origin meeting...shareholders will consider a resolution that asks the company to explain how it has established "free, prior and informed" consent from Aboriginal landowners for fracking projects.

...A resolution co-filed with the Refugee Advice and Casework Service calls on Qantas to cease its involvement with asylum seeker transport and deportation.

At the Woolworths AGM...shareholders will be asked to consider a resolution compelling the supermarket to enter into an agreement with the National Union of Workers to crack down on labour hire firms in its fruit and vegetable supply chain.


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