* Controlled book launch reflects Gina Rinehart's insecurity
* Late mining magnate father Lang Hancock shadows daughter
* Rinehart echoes father's calls to back mining sector
By James Regan
SYDNEY, Nov 27 Australian mining magnate Gina
Rinehart, one of the world's wealthiest people, has displayed a
trait rarely revealed publicly among the super-rich: insecurity.
Rinehart's first book was eagerly awaited by an Australian
public enthralled and sometimes appalled by her story of big
business, family feuds and almost unimaginable wealth.
But the 58-year-old widow with a fortune estimated by Forbes
at $18 billion, played it safe at the launch of the book,
'Northern Australia and Then Some: Changes we need to make our
Media were hand-picked for events around the country and
Rinehart surrounded herself with hundreds of supporters mostly
from the mining fraternity, where she is revered for
transforming her late father's debt-ridden iron ore business
into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
There were no advance copies of the book and no questions
over a fractured family life that has left Rinehart wrestling
with three of her four grown children over control of a family
trust that rakes in hundreds of millions of year in royalties.
Nor was there mention of her contentious plan to hire nearly
2,000 foreign workers to help build a $10 billion outback iron
ore mine, at a time when Australians by the thousands are losing
their jobs across the sector.
"The way she went about controlling the launch of her book
shows a deep insecurity on her part given these types of things
are typically designed as promotional media events," said David
McKnight, an associate professor in Journalism and Media at the
University of New South Wales.
"This was Gina Rinehart controlling the media in order to
display her over-developed sense of hero worship for her
SHADOW OF LANG
Rinehart's book Northern Australia, a collection of essays,
speeches, and poems, calls on politicians, environmentalists and
the public to support Australia's miners, the nation's main
growth engine, or face the consequences of economic decline.
The book displays Rinehart's adoration of her
larger-than-life father, Lang Hancock, which can be touching,
but echoes much of Hancock's famed right-wing utterings.
Rinehart has spent much of her life in the shadow of her
mining magnate father, who also pressured Australian governments
to better support the mining sector.
It was Hancock, a prospector and one-time "jackaroo" or
Australian cowboy, who was credited with discovering the vast
iron ore deposits of far west Australia's "Pilbara" in 1952
while he was piloting his own plane though a storm.
Anxious to exploit his find, Hancock lobbied for years to
get a ban on iron exports over-turned and made a fortune when it
was. He also proposed using small nuclear bombs to help mine the
Pilbara, advocated secession for Western Australia state and had
business dealings with the brutal Romanian dictator Nicolae
Ceausescu. His disparaging comments on the unemployed and
Aborigines outraged many Australians.
A mountain range and a rail line hauling tens of millions of
tonnes of iron ore across the outback, destined for Asia's steel
mills, now bears the Hancock name, as does the private company
Rinehart now oversees.
Hancock often referred to his softly spoken daughter, his
only child, as his "right-hand man" or simply "young fella".
"I think he would probably have preferred a son," Debi
Marshall quoted Rinehart as saying in her 2012 biography: 'The
House of Hancock. The Rise and Rise of Gina Rinehart'.
Twenty years after Hancock's death, Rinehart heads a mining
empire hundreds of times bigger than her father's, but she still
appears fixated on gaining his approval.
"Thank you for doing this for Australia, Gina, and once
again you have outdone your dad," wrote John Singleton, a
well-known advertising executive and a family friend, in a
publicity flyer for the book.
One invited guest said the book showed "her lifelong desire
to meet and beat" the achievements of her late father, once
Australia's richest man.
"This will prove once and for all that she listened to her
father all those years ago and took his achievements a step
further," said the guest, requesting anonymity.
WAKE UP AUSTRALIA
Rinehart's relationship with her father deteriorated when he
married his Filipino housekeeper after the death of her mother
but was reconciled before his death in 1992. Rinehart has since
been engaged in a gloves-off war with three of her children over
a trust set up by Hancock.
She has described them as lazy and spoiled and warned their
security would be at risk if they persisted with the action. Her
daughter Ginia, the only one of her four children not suing her,
was seated beside her at the book launch, along with her fiance
Ryan Johnston, son of Beach Boys performer Bruce Johnston.
For hours at the book launch, giant movie screens rained
down recurring grainy images of a younger Rinehart courting
politicians and business people in 1979 aboard a chartered
Qantas 747 dubbed "Wake up Australia".
The trip was an early expression of the views of father and
daughter -- the need for recognition of the importance of the
mining industry, lower taxes and less red tape.
"We don't want to see Australia continue on a course with
too many heads buried in the sand, critical investors
discouraged by bad policies -- even hated -- too few
understanding the problems while Australia moves towards being
another Greece, Spain or Portugal," Rinehart said at her Sydney
Rinehart's poetry in the book reinforces the message, in one
verse she writes: "Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much
abuse is hurled. Against miners, workers and related industries
who strive to build the world."