Why has Australia’s richest woman, who inherited and built her fortune from digging up iron ore, bought 10% of the Ten TV network?

According to columnist Andrew Bolt, who says his information is based on a “strong and not entirely uninformed hunch”, the mining billionaire wants to influence the national agenda. “Rinehart is on a mission,” Bolt writes today. “Channel 10 is just the vehicle.”

According to Bolt, Rinehart is “a woman rightly alarmed that people in the eastern states have got complacent, living fatly off industries they despise and in their ignorance now threaten … this smug and deadly mindset is one you might find any week on Ten’s 7PM Project from the likes of eyes-of-fire green activist Todd Sampson …”

Rinehart herself hinted at such a motive in her statement explaining the Ten share purchase:

“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.”

It is unclear precisely how a mining billionaire with a 10% stake in a youth-oriented television network hopes to assume the power to change the “smug and deadly mindset” of some Australians. Maybe she’s read too many Packer books by Paul Barry.

But the fact that she seems to think she can buy influence for a few hundred million dollars is a sad commentary on the state of our polity.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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