Gina Rinehart is arguably one of the most controversial business magnates in Australia. She is the chairperson of Hancock Prospecting, a mineral exploration company founded by her father in 1955. Because of her involvement and ownership of the company, Rinehart is consistently one of the wealthiest people in Australia. In July 2020, her net worth was recorded at $15.6 billion (AU); however, it peaked in 2012 during the mining boom (estimated at $29 billion).
Despite her financial success, Rinehart has courted a lot of controversy throughout her career. Here are some of the most notable examples.
Sydney Mining Club comments
In 2012, Rinehart made some controversial comments about the working style of Australia’s labour force. She argued that workers in Africa were more willing to work for lower wages and that Australian workers were more entitled when it came to wages and conditions. Her comments were criticised by then-Treasurer, Wayne Swan, and then-Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
She believes in Australian secession
Rinehart has been vocal about her belief that Australia should be split down the middle into two separate entities. Her argument is that splitting Australia down the centre will shield the two economies from economic downturns in the Northern Hemisphere.
She doesn’t believe in climate change
Rinehart has also lambasted the science surrounding climate change. As a mining magnate, it makes sense for Rinehart to be dubious of the science (from a strategic perspective). She criticised the Gillard Government’s carbon tax initiative and has outwardly supported climate change sceptics.
She has supposedly tried to control news (and her image)
In 2010, Rinehart spent a whopping $285 million on acquiring a share in Fairfax Media (around 18.6%). Media commentators were sceptical of Rinehart’s decision, believing it was a way for her to curb negative publicity on her and her company. However, her bid to have three sitting members on the Fairfax Media board and the ability to fire editors was denied.