“If women want to go fur­ther THEY NEED TO WORK

De­spite the in­tense pub­lic fas­ci­na­tion in Gina Rine­hart, the rich­est per­son in Aus­tralia, she re­mains fiercely pri­vate. In a rare in­ter­view, she talks to Stel­lar about fam­ily, phi­lan­thropy – and her ad­vice to other women

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page -

In­ter­view by LANAI SCARR

ruis­ing down the Thames on a vin­tage um­pire’s boat be­hind the Aus­tralian row­ing team, Gina Rine­hart is in her el­e­ment. Perched at the front of the wooden- decked Ulysses in a flo­ral pantsuit, gold heels and her sig­na­ture pearls, with the wind whip­ping her hair in the wake of the women’s eight heat, Aus­tralia’s rich­est per­son can’t wipe the smile off her face.

“It was such a thrill,” the no­to­ri­ously pri­vate 64-year- old beams as she sits down with Stel­lar shortly af­ter her ad­ven­ture on the iconic river. Time is of the essence when it comes to the world’s sev­enth wealth­i­est woman – while she talks to Stel­lar on a makeshift barge that has been cleared out for her, a char­ter jet awaits to fly her to yet an­other Eu­ro­pean city di­rectly af­ter­wards.

Yet she says she al­ways has time for the ath­letes she sup­ports through her epony­mous Ge­orgina Hope Foun­da­tion. “I think it is im­por­tant that we back young peo­ple who are striv­ing for ex­cel­lence, striv­ing to rep­re­sent our coun­try at the top lev­els,” Rine­hart says as she looks out over the river at the ath­letes com­pet­ing below. “I think they form good role mod­els for a lot of other peo­ple. [In] sport there is no such thing as self­en­ti­tle­ment. It is re­ally how much you put in as a per­son, be you a male [or] a fe­male,” she says.

Sports, and es­pe­cially Olympic ones that pro­mote women, are a pas­sion of Rine­hart’s, and through Han­cock Prospect­ing, the com­pany that made her fam­ily bil­lions (Rine­hart her­self is es­ti­mated to be worth $24 bil­lion), she has do­nated tens of mil­lions over the years to the Aus­tralian swim­ming, vol­ley­ball, syn­chro­nised swim­ming and, most re­cently, row­ing teams. Yet there are those who ac­cuse her of us­ing phi­lan­thropy to ad­vance her per­sonal pro­file.

The only child of trail­blaz­ing West Aus­tralian iron ore mag­nate Lang Han­cock has been a po­lar­is­ing fig­ure in Aus­tralian busi­ness, so­ci­ety and pol­i­tics – and even her own fam­ily – for years. She rarely speaks to me­dia and is guarded in many of her rare in­ter­ac­tions with se­lected press; when she speaks to Stel­lar she’s softly spo­ken, po­lite and en­gag­ing – but clearly on guard. Even her most se­nior staff re­fer to their boss as “Mrs Rine­hart” at all times.

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