Billionaire iron ore heiress Gina Rinehart has again ventured into the realm of public debate, publishing a wide-ranging think piece on post-WWII development, the carbon tax and the need for special economic zones in the July edition of Australian Resources & Investment magazine.
The fresh broadside from Australia’s richest individual was published online this morning and features Rinehart’s own analysis alongside extended quotes from good buddies ex-BHP chief Brian Gilbertson and Peabody Energy CEO Greg Boyce on the evils of the Gillard government.
After an extended intro discussing global growth trends (the world’s population increases by 212,500 people each day! 300,000 Twitter accounts have just been opened!), Rinehart returns to one of her pet topics — other, more efficient, countries that slack-jawed Australia should model itself on.
The prospecting queen states that we should shift our gaze to Hong Kong, which the British did a stellar job liberalising following the Opium Wars. Fifty years of free enterprise “that emphasised very low tax levels, free trade and an absence of bureaucracy and regulation”, was the secret to its success.
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The former West Germany is also an excellent template. Post-War finance minister Ludwig Erhard “believed in the potential of a citizenry freed from the burden of government planners and allowed to build wealth for themselves.” Britain, by contrast, ended up billions of dollars in debt because it “plodded on for decades under regimes…that relied on government intervention to guide the economy.”
(Rinehart give short shrift to other analysis that suggests the exact opposite — that it was Britain’s adoption of Thatcherite deregulation in the 1980s that emaciated demand and cruelled growth, while Germany’s “Rhineist” model of government intervention safeguarded its domestic economy).
Rinehart, whose father Lang Hancock was also active politically, then weighs in on global action on climate change, repeating the widespread mantra that other countries are losing interest while Australia plows ahead. But she saves her most strident call-to-arms for her fellow capitalists, demanding an immediate insurrection against Julia Gillard’s carbon tax and the Mineral Resource Rent Tax.
“Australian business needs to recognise that it is part of the problem. Not taking a bold enough stand against such investment deterring proposals as the carbon tax, and additionally the MRRT; costs that don’t just hurt selected business entities and their shareholders but Australia itself…,” she writes.
The Hancock Prospecting chair then repeats previous calls for a northern economic zone and offers a link to the website of her “Andev” ginger group, that appears not have been updated since April last year.
Rinehart’s deliberate strategy to influence public debate gathered pace last year when she paid $165 million for a 10% share in the Ten Network and then built a $100 million stake in Fairfax Media.
In the 1960s her father famously funded a number of magazines and newspapers in an attempt to bend minds, launching the Sunday Independent and the daily Independent, both of which failed. Lang Hancock also maintained a magazine division run by journalist Ross Louthean, who worked out of his office, with titles including Australia’s Mining Monthly and the annual Register of Australian Mining.
Rinehart has contributed feature articles to the last four editions of the quarterly Australian Resources & Investment, covering topics like the awesomeness of Singapore and Australia’s “unacceptable” crime record. However, editor Eden Cox told Crikey this morning that she didn’t, as yet, hold a financial interest in publisher Executive Media.