Blog by Senator Lee Rhiannon
Gina Rinehart’s utterances are often a reminder that wealth too often goes hand in hand with arrogance and greed.
Writing in her regular column in Australian Resources and Investment magazine Australia’s wealthiest person said that people who are jealous of the rich should start working harder and cut down on drinking, socialising and smoking.
Ms Rinehart’s comments are another example of the crude self interest that has become her hallmark. She is out of touch with the life of most Australians who are working to pay off their mortgage, manage health costs and ensure their children are happy and secure.
The attack Ms Rinehart launched on ‘taxes, green tape and socialist policies’ is the latest corporate push to remove regulations that have been won by workers and unions over more than a century of struggle. Regulations to protect our environment and ensure on the job safety need to be strengthened not weakened to suit mining companies.
It is the so called red or green tape which distinguishes Australia from developing countries where low wages are accompanied by poor safety at work, job exploitation, and long hours for low pay.
We need better distribution of wealth accrued from our mineral resources which are owned by all Australians. Academics, unions, church and welfare groups are all calling for a more caring society and a government which looks after workers, provides essential services like good public schools, hospitals and affordable dental care.
Australia is becoming a wealthier nation but that wealth is becoming more unevenly distributed. The top 50 per cent of Australian own 90 per cent of the wealth, with the other half owning less than 10 per cent.
Hopefully what comes from Ms Rinehart’s out of touch comments is a public conversation about how we build a fairer society. Right now the nation’s wealth grows in the face of persistent poverty.