Up the lad­der HARDER”

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page -

Per­son­ally, on­go­ing bit­ter le­gal stoushes with two of her four adult chil­dren – John Han­cock, 42, and Bianca Rine­hart, 41 – haven’t helped. There are also dis­putes with the heirs of Lang Han­cock’s for­mer busi­ness part­ner Pe­ter Wright, along with a close friend­ship with for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce.

Last year Rine­hart con­tro­ver­sially awarded Joyce the Na­tional Agri­cul­ture and Re­lated In­dus­tries Day award and a sub­se­quent $40,000 cheque (which was given back).

“It wasn’t given un­der the ta­ble. It wasn’t given be­hind closed doors. It was given not only for ev­ery­one there to see, but all the me­dia present to see,” she says in her first pub­lic de­fence of the money. “He is a good man.”

Those who or­bit in Rine­hart’s cir­cle say she is mis­un­der­stood. “Be­fore I met Gina all I had heard was neg­a­tive things about her and I thought she was a mean bitch,” says renowned neu­ro­sur­geon Dr Char­lie Teo, whose foun­da­tion has re­ceived fund­ing from Rine­hart. “But now we’ve formed a re­la­tion­ship and she has been in­cred­i­bly gen­er­ous not only with her money, which has been given un­con­di­tion­ally and with­out the de­sire for ku­dos, but also with her time and per­sonal sup­port. She has got a good soul and she very much is mis­un­der­stood. She’s got a heart and a big heart at that.”

Rine­hart says she has not overly pub­li­cised Han­cock Prospect­ing’s and her own phil­an­thropic un­der­tak­ings – from sports and school schol­ar­ships to hos­pi­tals and can­cer char­i­ties – be­cause she was raised not to ex­pect ap­plause. “When I was grow­ing up it was not proper to talk about phi­lan­thropy, so al­though we have qui­etly been build­ing our phil­an­thropic en­deav­ours over the years there is still a lit­tle bit of that cul­ture,” she says.

Mean­while, Rine­hart’s el­dest son John and his sis­ter Bianca have been en­gaged in an ac­ri­mo­nious seven-year le­gal bat­tle with their mother re­gard­ing the multi­bil­lion- dol­lar Hope Mar­garet Han­cock fam­ily trust, and say that their mother’s phil­an­thropic ef­forts are mainly to im­prove her pub­lic im­age. John Han­cock is clearly an­gry. “It doesn’t mat­ter if you’re a swim­mer or a son, the mo­ment you don’t do some­thing she wants or give her ad­vice she wants you’re dumped,” Lon­don­based Han­cock tells Stel­lar while on a fam­ily hol­i­day in the At­las Moun­tains in Mo­rocco. “When you read your own mother’s hand­writ­ing in the mar­gins of le­gal doc­u­ments… it makes fa­mil­ial re­la­tions a tad try­ing. ”

For her part, Rine­hart says she has worked hard her en­tire life to pro­vide for all of her chil­dren but would not be drawn on the le­gal dis­putes or who should take over Han­cock Prospect­ing once she steps down. “I cer­tainly have done enough to keep my chil­dren com­fort­able all their lives,” she says. “It wouldn’t be fair on my chil­dren to com­ment [on who should take over the com­pany].”

Love or loathe her, no- one can dis­pute her steely de­ter­mi­na­tion or work ethic. Her ipad never strays far from her hand and she ad­mits to “never not work­ing”.

And Rine­hart is clearly not one for flow­ery sen­ti­ments. When asked what ad­vice she’d of­fer other women, she does not mince her words. “If you want to go fur­ther up the lad­der what you should be do­ing is work­ing through lunches, work­ing later,” she says. “Will­ing to, even on hol­i­days or pub­lic hol­i­days, be avail­able. Be­cause what you should be want­ing is that you’ve achieved that po­si­tion your­self – you are wor­thy of that po­si­tion. I don’t think [gen­der] quo­tas can do that. It’s got to al­ways be, if a woman wants an ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tion… they should put in that ex­tra, put in more than their col­leagues.”

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