BRW has definitely taken a more conservative line with the 2007 Rich List, only proclaiming nine new billionaires: Kerr Neilson, Andrew Forrest, Solly Lew, Clive Palmer, Paul Ramsay, Bruce Mathieson, John Grill, Carlo Salteri, the Wright family, and the Roberts family.
The most frustrating aspect of the list is the utterly inconsistent approach to citizenship, residency and family connections.
The Murdoch family is once again excluded on the grounds that Rupert is an American citizen, running an American company living in New York.
Yet three different Australian arms of the family – Calvert-Jones, Handbury and Kantor – all have their own entries. Rather than wasting three spots and excluding the big one, BRW should be done with it and declare the Murdochs to be Australia’s richest family with a $12 billion fortune.
The inconsistency is best demonstrated by the entry of Len Ainsworth with $2.3 billion. Len broke up his empire into nine equal parcels for his seven sons and two wives when the pokies company Aristocrat Leisure was floated in 1996. The broader Ainsworth family is actually worth well over $3 billion, but they are just as broken up as the Murdoch family.
Other family inconsistencies sees two entries for the Fairfax, Liberman, Harvey, Morris, Eckowitz and Grollo families.
Then you have the ridiculous situation of business partners who have no family connection being grouped together. Salmat founders Peter Mattick and Phil Salter are proclaimed as members with a joint value of $281 million when clearly neither should be on it given their individual wealth of $160.5 million falls below the new $180 million cut-off.
The same applies to David Goldberger and David Wieland with a combined value of $675 million. They might be best friends, business partners and Toorak neighbours, but they should have their own listing given the lack of blood ties.
Others in this dubious double-entry category include Max Moar and Iris Lustig, Brian Singer and Doug Warbrick, Tony D’Antonio and Peter Hosking, Andrew Banks and Geoff Morgan and the MFS boys, Phillip Adams and Michael King.
The discrimination against Rupert Murdoch, whose mother and eldest son both live in Australia, is best highlighted by the inclusion of Monaco-based Ric Stowe and Dany Hill, Bermuda-based Reg Grundy, London-based Michael Hintze, Buenos Aires-based John Kahlbetzer, Geneva-based George Koukis and China-based Shi Zhengrong.
Apart from all of those inconsistencies, it’s quite a good read and well worth the $7.95 cover price.