Gina Rinehart: “Don’t call me an heiress” – by Andrew Hornery (Sydney Morning Herald – December 8, 2018)

Gina Rinehart ranks as the richest Australian ever, owns vast swathes of the continent, directly and indirectly employs tens of thousands of her fellow countrymen, has homes around the globe, travels in an $80 million private jet, is instantly recognisable across the land, has been the subject of a television mini-series and several bestsellers as well as having the ear of the Prime Minister.

Just don’t ever call her an “heiress”. I innocently made this incursion recently, only to be swiftly dealt with by Rinehart’s team of “communications specialists”, one of whom wrote to inform me she was hardly of the ilk of Paris Hilton.

Rinehart was disputing the term “heiress”: “When Lang Hancock passed away his estate was bankrupt, which is publicly available information. “In addition, Hancock Prospecting which he’d largely sold out of was in an extremely bad financial situation at time of his death in March 1992 with the few remaining assets under threat of litigation or heavily mortgaged. Tenements to Roy Hill were not in the company when Lang was alive – these were acquired after his death.”

I returned serve by pointing out that for years it had been reported that Hancock Prospecting was worth about $75 million at the time of her father’s death, which included the old Rio Tinto royalties, reportedly worth roughly $12 million a year.

Today, Rinehart, at $22 billion-plus, is worth about 300 times that amount. No one disputes that she has clearly eclipsed her father in business success. But Gina wasn’t having a bar of it. Her minions responded that the term heiress is a “negative slur” and that her father “left a bankrupt estate, which is public knowledge, hence impossible for Mrs Rinehart to inherit, and hence your mention of ‘heiress’ is incorrect.

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