“There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire,” she wrote in an industry magazine column.
“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.
“Become one of those people who work hard, invest and build, and at the same time create employment and opportunities for others.”
Rinehart blamed what she described as “socialist”, anti-business policies for the plight of Australia’s poor, urging the government to lower the minimum wage, as well as taxes, unless it wanted to end up like Greece.
Australian Treasury minister Wayne Swan replied, “These sorts of comments are an insult to the millions of Australian workers who go to work and slog it out to feed the kids and pay the bills.” Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called Rinehart’s comments about the minimum wage “just plain wrong” and an “odd thing to say.” Australia’s minimum wage is $15.96 per hour.
Rinehart is not the only one of the the world’s richest people to weigh in on public policy recently. Last month, Carlos Slim, whose $65 billion fortune makes him the world’s richest person, said countries that are struggling economically should raise their respective retirement ages to 70.