Rinehart sparks backlash over 'twisted' wage theory

MINING billionaire Gina Rinehart has again come under fire from Australian politicians, this time for arguing that the minimum wage should be cut and those without jobs should spend less time "drinking or smoking".

Lauren Barrett
Rinehart sparks backlash over 'twisted' wage theory

In the September edition of Australian Resources and Investment magazine, Rinehart uses her regular column to hit out at people who are doing nothing to stimulate wealth in Australia, and claims we need to celebrate hardworking and successful people like Lindsay Fox, David Flanagan and Carla Zampatti.

In the column, titled “Let’s get back to our roots”, Rinehart says that while Australia’s mines are producing wealth and prosperity within the country, it will not be enough to “subsidise class welfare, complacency, overspending and an increasingly expensive bureaucracy whose power lies in saying no”

However, it wasn’t these comments that created the media attention, it was her suggestion that the minimum wage, currently at $606.40 a week, should be cut.

“Let’s drop the class warfare and recognise that high-tax socialist policies don’t create jobs – business and investment do, and we need a lot more business, investment and reinvestment to continue to do that creating,” she wrote.

“Why not ask whether lowering the minimum wages and lowering taxes would make employers hire more people?”

The colourful and at times controversial mining magnate went on to give tips on how to become wealthier and support Australia’s economy.

“There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire,” she said.

“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain; do something to make money yourself – spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising and more time working,” she said.

Australia’s politicians did not take kindly to Rinehart’s comments, with Treasurer Wayne Swan slamming the billionaire for her ignorance, reportedly saying her words were “an insult to millions of Australians”

“The big question is whether Tony Abbott will endorse Gina Rinehart’s social policies as he’s endorsed her tax, industrial relations and environmental policies,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Swan as saying.

“The question for Tony Abbott today is does he agree with Gina Rinehart that Aussies are lazy workers who drink and socialise too much?”

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union national president Tony Maher said her comments revealed the “twisted” logic of our country’s richest person.

“At the same time as trying to import cheap foreign labour and avoid paying tax, Rinehart claims it’s millionaires and billionaires who are the greatest for social good. What planet is she living on?” Maher said in a statement.

“Gina Rinehart is not just an entertaining sideshow – she pursues a dangerous agenda that would damage Australia’s economy and social fabric.

“She should spend less time ranting and more time sharing.”


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