Gina Rinehart

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Gina Rinehart, coal mining magnate, climate denier, on track to be world's richest person

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Georgina "Gina" Hope Rinehart, born February 1954 (age 60), is the Chairman of Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd (HPPL), and the daughter of mining magnate Lang Hancock (1909-1992). She became the world's wealthiest woman in 2012.[1]

A wholly owned subsidiary of HPPL is Hancock Coal Pty Ltd (HCPL), which is currently seeking to develop the Alpha Coal Project. Another wholly owned subsidiary, Hancock Galilee, owns the proposed Kevin's Corner Project in Queensland.[2] The combined output of the two projects would be 60 million tonnes a year of coal.[3]

Rinehart is a vocal opponent of a carbon tax and a promoter of climate sceptics and AGW deniers.[4] She is also a member of Australians for Northern Development & Economic Vision (ANDEV), a lobby group promoting major developments in northern Australia.[5]

Following the death of her father in March 1992, Rinehart became Executive Chairman of HPPL and the HPPL Group of companies.[6] She commenced an acrimonious legal fight in 1992 with her stepmother, Rose Porteous, over the circumstances of her father's death and control of the Hancock assets. The court cases and negotiations ultimately took 14 years to settle.[7]

Wealth

In 2012 BRW magazine named Rinehart the world's richest woman, with an estimated net worth at A$29.17B.[1] She is expected to become the world's richest person with a nett worth of $100 billion dollars.[8]

Rinehart has major coal mines under development, including Alpha Coal in Queensland, scheduled to start in 2014 at a rate of 30 million tonnes of coal annually, and Kevin’s Corner Coal in Queensland, scheduled to start in 2013 at a rate of 30 million tonnes of coal annually. She also has extensive iron ore prospects under development.[8]

Early life and awards

ABC TV's Hungry Beast on Gina Reinhart

Hancock lived with her parents at Nunyerry, 60 kilometers north of Wittenoom in Western Australia until she was four. Wittenoom is best known as the town where the workers from the nearby asbestos mine lived.[9] She later boarded at St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls in Perth, and afterwards studied economics for one year at Sydney University before dropping out.[10] Rinehart's father famously referred to her as a "slothful, vindictive and devious baby elephant".[11]

In March 2011 she was inducted into WA Women’s Hall of Fame. The announcement on the Hancock Coal website stated that Rinehart:

"...has transformed her family company, Hancock Prospecting, from a small prospecting company to a global mining company. She has contributed financially to a wide variety of causes, from swimming to health and medical research, including the Hancock Family Breast Cancer Foundation in 1993, Princess Margaret Hospital and the Bendat Family Comprehensive Cancer Centre. She has also worked with the Mannkal Economic Foundation, which mentors young West Australians, and has helped Pilbara women artists achieve their dreams. The Hope Educational Scholarship helps Cambodian women and she is a director of the South-East Asian Investigations into Social and Humanitarian Activities."[12]

Climate change denial

Funding denial

In January 2010 the organisers of a tour to Australia of climate sceptic Christopher Monckton revealed that part of the $100,000 costs of the tour would be met by Rinehart.[4] Rinehart also co-sponsored Monckton's 2011 visit,[13] and bankrolled global warming sceptic Ian Plimer's visit to Perth in 2011 to address the attendees at the Boao Forum for Asia Perth conference,[14] telling delegates that Plimer is a "reasoned source" of information on climate change.[15]

Statements of denial

Dennis Jensens letter

In 2009, Rinehart wrote a reference letter for former CSIRO nuclear physicist and Federal Coalition backbencher, Dr Dennis Jensens, backing his doubts that humans have caused global warming.[16]

2011 opinion piece

In an opinion piece, originally published in Australian Resource and Investment, Rinehart wrote of her delight at polls indicating majority opposition to the introduction of a carbon tax and specifically singled out the need to exempt at least thermal coal from it. She wrote:[17]

We are showing we can think for ourselves, and are not swayed by the global warming fear campaign. Remember when the mainstream media was running frightening commentary about carbon-induced global warming? We read and heard about how oceans would rise, flooding our homes, and how, over years, we’d be scorched due to the increasing heat. Have you noticed that we don’t hear much any more about global warming? The theme has now changed to carbon-dioxide induced ‘climate change’.

Let’s consider climate change – the world has constantly changed climate and will continue to do so. Even before human civilisation, the world went through ice ages and periods of global warming. There will always be changes that affect our climate, even if we close down all thermal-fired power stations, steel mills and other manufacturing operations, putting employees out of work and drastically changing our way of life. Furthermore, there will always be geothermal activity that spew out heat and ash and this activity does affect the climate. I am yet to hear scientific evidence to satisfy me that if the very, very small amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (approximately 0.83 per cent) was increased, it could lead to significant global warming.

I have never met a geologist or leading scientist who believes adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will have any significant effect on climate change, especially not from a relatively small country like Australia. I have, however, had the benefit of listening to leading scientists and reading their work.

How would a carbon tax or MRRT on thermal coal (used for most of Australia’s electricity generation) economically impact Australians? Electricity costs would go up, for a start. Almost every item that you can think of requires electricity at one point or another in its production, storage or distribution. It is not just the rich mining companies that would be affected, but every man, woman and child in Australia, not to mention blue collar workers whose jobs in steel mills, power stations and manufacturing facilities would suffer or disappear. The sooner we can, as a majority, let our politicians know that Australians are fed up with wasting taxpayers money and do not want a carbon tax or MRRT on thermal coal (at least), the better.

Let’s take a quick look at some estimated from third party sources – which our government is not telling us. If imposed at a rate of $26 per tonne the carbon tax would cost:

• 126 000 jobs in regional Australia (according to Access Economics);
• 10 000 jobs and 16 coal mines (according to ACIL economic consultancy);
• 24 000 jobs in other areas of mining (according to Concept Economics)
• 45 000 jobs in other energy-intensive industries (according to Frontier Economics)

And that is just for starters. And what for? It won’t stop China and India from continuing to emit carbon dioxide on their own account. These nations understand that you cannot raise a populations standard of living without also increasing energy consumption. ... Families and industries need to be told that carbon tax and the MRRT (on thermal coal at least) have been abandoned, so that we can all stop adding this burden to our increasing national debt. But to get to the position we must bother to turn up at the ‘No Carbon Tax’ and ‘No MRRT’ rallies, email our politicians, write to our media industry, take part in talk-back radio and support organisations and people with the guts to stand up on these important issues. We can’t wait any longer for Australia’s business ‘leaders’ to finally stand up on this issue! If we don’t stand up, we run the risk of seeing the consequences of such non-action in Australia and I sincerely hope we don’t. The sooner the carbon tax and MRRT are gone the sooner we stop wasting our time and money on these endeavours, and the easier it will be to finance for investment in Australia.

Opposition to carbon pricing

In December 2008 Rinehart was asked whether she supported the introduction of a price on carbon. "I think this has to be done very, very carefully, with full consideration of our economy," she said. "The other point is there is still a lot of, let's see, what shall I call it, sensationalism and uncertainty in relation to the scientific evidence. I mean some evidence is saying all that's happening is that, you know, our climate is warming, therefore we've got to look into these - do these sorts of things and there's other evidence still out there that says, well look the Arctic Circle is actually getting more ice and things like, well they've just had very cold winters recently in the Northern Hemisphere. I think there is a lot of uncertainty about how hardcore the science really is, but there's been a lot of media sensationalism making people frightened about it and concerned about it, therefore the politicians must act irrespective of consequence and I think we've got to be a lot more careful about acting on some of this sensationalist stuff, if you know we're going to be also hurting our own economy."[18]

Coal sellers party

In mid-June 2011 it was reported that an agreement had been reached for the Indian company, GVK Power and Infrastructure, to purchase the Alpha coal project and Kevin's Corner projects for $2.4 billion. It was reported that GVK would pay $1.25 billion at the time the agreement was formally signed off on in approximately mid-July with a further two equal installments. There was no mention of Hancock retaining a share in either project.[19] The agreement was signed for GVK by Sanjay Reddy, the company's vice chairman.[20]

One spin-off benefit of the deal making was that Rinehart was invited to attend a three day-wedding of the Sanjay Reddy's daughter. Not only did Rinehart attend but she took along the Liberal Party's deputy leader Julie Bishop and the Senate leader of National Party, Barnaby Joyce in her private jet.[21] Bishop is from Western Australia, where Rinehart's company has huge iron ore mines, and Joyce hails from Queensland, where the coal projects Rinehart was in the process of selling to Reddy's company are.

Sydney Morning Herald journalist Katharine Murphy noted that "a number of prominent Australian politicians attending the wedding would have reinforced Ms Rinehart's cachet in a country where connections are essential to doing business."[21]

A few months later Rinehart announced that GKV would pay her company, Hancock Prospecting, $1.2 billion for a stake in three of her coal mines — Tad’s Corner, Paul’s Corner and Kevin’s Corner — and the associated infrastructure works, to export the coal to India, where GVK will burn it in power stations.[22]

Hancock Prospecting Annual Awards

In a speech to the AEMC Annual Awards Dinner, Rinehart announced that Hancock Prospecting would fund a $50,000 a year Hancock Prospecting Annual Award to "to encourage brave souls who love our country and who recognise that the mining industry in Australia with its related industries is important for our future." The $50,000, Rinehart said, "is to be used standing up for our industry, and the rest as the winner would wish." Earlier in her speech she explained that "we need people, and we have some who are prepared to be unpopular, or very unpopular, in some areas of our media. We need people who are willing to be leaders, despite the detractors. To say things that should be heard, not avoided, in the interests of our industry and country."[23]

In her speech Rinehart complained that major mining projects were being shelved and "greenfield exploration continues to decline and investment in exploration and projects go offshore to more cost competitive and welcoming countries".[23]

"We can bury our heads in the sand and pretend this critical investment pipeline is secure, and attack those who explore and invest and risk, but we can’t rationally expect to address the decline in exploration and the investment pipeline unless we introduce policies to make investment in Australian projects and exploration welcome and enable them to be cost competitiveinternationally, and improve the approval risks," she said.[23]

Media interests

Channel Ten

Bolt interviews AGW denier Lindzen. The program constantly promotes doubt and scepticism about climate change

In November 2010 it was announced that Rinehart had bought a 10% shareholding in the television company Ten Network Holdings. Announcing the shareholding in a media statement, Rinehart's company stated that "our company group is interested in making an investment towards the media business given its importance to the nation's future and has selected Channel 10 for this investment."[24]

In a media release Ten announced that Rinehart would join the board following the company's December Annual General Meeting.[6]

In one of his columns, Andrew Bolt, a News Limited columnist and climate change sceptic, posed the question why Rinehart would invest in Ten. "It is because the shares are cheap? Because there's big money in Simpsons re-runs? Because Channel 10 is going places now that James Packer has an 18 per cent share, to be split with friend Lachlan Murdoch? If that were all, I wouldn't bore you. But my strong and not entirely uninformed hunch is that much bigger issues are at play involving our country's future and threats to the wealth we've taken for granted. I can't disclose just why I suspect that, but read for yourself a clue in the terse statement put out by Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting on Monday: 'Our company group is interested in making an investment towards the media business given its importance to the nation's future and has selected Channel 10 for this investment'. Rinehart is on a mission. Channel 10 is just the vehicle," he wrote.[25]

"I have no idea what Rinehart hopes now to do to Ten, if anything. Nor could I guess what chances she'd have of turning it into, say, an Australian Fox News, even if she wanted to. What would Packer say? What would Murdoch, son of the Fox News owner? But I do have an idea of what worries Rinehart about our future. The fact is that even in these green times 40 per cent of all we earn through exports comes from mines. That includes more than $50 billion a year from iron ore, and $55 billion from the coal trade that the Greens vow to phase out for being 'dirty'," he wrote.[25]

A few months later it was reported that Channel Ten had recorded a pilot program hosted by Bolt. Amanade Meade reported that "sources said a keen advocate of the show was Ten board member and Australia's richest woman, Gina Rinehart, who is a fan of Bolt's work. Ms Rinehart has also been heard to complain about the alleged left-wing bias of Ten's popular 7PM Project, and to say the network needs a right-wing Fox News-style show in its line-up."[26]

Bolt's program, The Bolt Report, first aired on May 8, 2011 at 10am. "It will be like my blog, made for television," Bolt said. "We'll be talking politics, the media and pop culture. We'll cut through the spin and have a laugh. We plan to be unpredictable."[27]

Fairfax Media

In December 2010 it was reported that Rinehart had bought a significant shareholding in Fairfax Media, which publishes the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and other newspapers and radio stations. It was reported that her shareholding was "well below the 5 per cent level that would require her to disclose her interest to the Australian Securities Exchange."[28] Subsequently she continued buying Fairfax shares, accumulating a parcel of approximately 4% estimated to be worth $120 million. The shareholding was bought by Hanrine Investment, a subsidiary of Hancock Prospecting.[29]

After her media investments became public, Rinehart was wary of commenting publicly. Writing for Forbes magazine, Tim Treadgold reported that Rinehart "declined several requests for an interview, saying in an exchange of e-mails that she might agree later, after assessing what was written about her and whether it was 'anti-mining'."[30]

Following criticism of Gina Rinehart's 2010 investments in major media companies Fairfax Media and Network Ten, Cheryl Edwardes, the former Western Australian Attorney-General and Environment Minister and now a senior executive with Hancock Prospecting, tried to downplay the motivation of her employer. "If she wants to influence debate she can use her website, so I don't see that as having been the prime mover," she said. She also claimed that Rinehart's media investments were "definitely a business decision".[31]

Controlling media coverage

In August 2011 Australian Financial Review journalists Jonathan Barrett and Neil Shoebridge recounted how journalists invited to attend an event promoting one of the company's coal projects were requested to sign a waiver. They declined but report that the waiver stated:

"There should not be reporting of other events which may inadvertently transpire on the day regardless of how newsworthy you may consider them - e.g. critical incident, unplanned or unscheduled event, or any information on other matters not related to the project or related to the project should they be overheard in converstaion."[32]

Opposition to Mineral Resources Rent Tax

In 2010 Rinehart joined a campaign with Andrew Forrest and others against the Federal Government's proposed Mineral Resource Rent Tax. Soon afterwards she took a 10% stake in Network Ten; James Packer had acquired an 18% stake in the same company soon before. Since then she has also acquired a substantial stake in Fairfax Media. This foray into media ownership is a major change from previous corporate activities.[33]

Articles and resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Gina Rinehart named world's richest woman. abc.net.au (2012 [last update]). Retrieved on 30 May 2012.
  2. Hancock Coal, "Hancock’s Galilee Coal Basin Projects – 'The Galilee is now open for business'", Hancock Coal & Hancock Galilee, March 2011, page 2. (Pdf)
  3. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, "Minerals and energy: Major development projects", April 2010. (Pdf).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Owen Jacques, "Billionaire backs Monckton tour", Noosa News, January 26th, 2010.
  5. "Industry Voice", Australians for Northern Development & Economic Vision website, accessed May 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ten Network Holdings, "Gina Rinehart to Join Ten Holdings Board", Media Release, November 26, 2010.
  7. "Australia & New Zealand's 40 Richest: #14 Gina Rinehart", Forbes Magazine, January 2, 2007.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Treadgold, Tim (2011 [last update]). Why Gina Rinehart is on her way to being the world's richest: Treadgold. smartcompany.com.au. Retrieved on 17 July 2011.
  9. "She Helped found an empire", Australian_Women's_Weekly, April 5, 1967, page 2.
  10. "Board and Senior Management", Hancock Prospecting website, accessed August 2012.
  11. THE BEAST FILE: GINA RINEHART. ABC. Retrieved on 2011-07-13.
  12. Hancock Prospecting, "WA Women's Hall of Fame", Media Release, March 9, 2011.
  13. Graham Readfearn, "Australia's place in the global web of climate denial", The Drum Opinion, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, June 29, 2011.
  14. Peter Klinger, "Rinehart outlines timetable for Roy Hill", The West Australian, July 12, 2011.
  15. Graham Readfearn, "Sceptics on the menu at Rinehart’s luncheon", Crikey, July 29, 2011.
  16. Australia's richest woman fumes over carbon tax | Latest Business & Australian Stock market News | Perth Now. perthnow.com.au (2011 [last update]). Retrieved on 17 July 2011.
  17. Jessica Burke, "Gina Rinehart urges Australians to fight against carbon and mining taxes", Australian Mining, May 5, 2011.
  18. Monica Attard, "Gina Rinehart", "Sunday Profile", ABC Radio, December 5, 2008
  19. Utpal Bhaskar, "GVK to buy 2 coal mines in Australia: Acquisition of Hancock Prospecting mines key to company’s plans of increasing capacity to 10,000MW by 2013", Livemint.com, June 16, 2011.
  20. Shivom Seth, "GVK Power to raise $1.2 bn debt for Hancock coal assets", Mineweb.com, July 5, 2011.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Katharine Murphy, "Gina Rinehart flew MPs to India for lavish wedding", Sydney Morning Herald, June 17, 2011.
  22. Gine Rinehart wedding in India: Rinehart takes federal MPs Barnaby Joyce, Julie Bishop and Teresa Gambaro to wedding in India | Rooted. blogs.crikey.com.au (2011 [last update]). Retrieved on 19 September 2011.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Gina Rinehart, Speech to the AMEC Awards Dinner, September 5, 2012.
  24. Colin Kruger and Barry FitzGerald, "Rinehart digs out a chunk of Channel 10", Sydney Morning Herald, November 23, 2010.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Andrew Bolt, "Mining magnate Gina Rinehart stakes a claim on Channel 10", The Australian, November 24, 2010.
  26. Amanda Meade, "Ten grooming Bolt for talk show debut", The Australian, April 05, 2011.
  27. Colin Vickery, "Bolt to make his mark on the box", Herald Sun, April 08, 2011.
  28. James Chessell, "Gina Rinehart buys into Fairfax Media", The Australian, December 7, 2010.
  29. James Chessell, "Gina Rinehart doubles her stake in Fairfax Media", The Australian, January 21, 2011.
  30. Tim Treadgold, Billionaires List: Miner's Daughter", Forbes Magazine, March 28, 2011.
  31. Andrew Burrell, "Rinehart 'not out to buy political clout', says executive", The Australian, June 03, 2011.
  32. Jonathan Barrett and Neil Shoebridge, "Gina's agenda", Australian Financial Review, August 6-7, 2011, page 46. (Available online but subsription access only.
  33. "Gina Rinehart buys stake in Ten", The Age, November 22 2010.

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

Speeches by Rinehart

External articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Gina Rinehart. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.