Odd News Show

A Rinehart-Knock Life: Fragile Australian Billionaire Takes Extreme Offense to ‘Unflattering’ Painting

We’re not saying she overreacted… but we’re not not saying it.

By Katie Compa · June 5, 2024

This gallery is in sooooooooo much trouble. Nick-D/Wikimedia Commons

Satirical opinion by Katie Compa, Odd News Show

A couple of weeks ago, we had no idea Gina Rinehart existed (nor really that Australia even had billionaires). But this week, we find ourselves fully up to date on her life story and going way over our word count through the magic of the Streisand effect. Buckle up, readers, we are about to do some reading.

Rinehart is Australia’s richest woman, worth about $22 billion. How did she make her fortune? Well, people have children for many reasons, one of which is to protect and transfer family wealth: A study recently found that all billionaires under 30—one hundred percent (there are only fifteen, but still)—did not succeed at business but instead inherited their money from their rich Boomer parents, with more to come. 

Millennials as a generation can’t currently afford to buy houses, but they are projected to become the “richest generation in history” as the elderly rich expire and pass on $70 trillion of assets over the next twenty years. That kind of money can buy you a lot of property, not to mention avocado toast.

Go ahead, add caviar and gold flakes. It's not going to break the bank!  Jami430/Flickr

Though a Boomer herself at 70, Rinehart is an heiress. An only child, she inherited her father’s global mining conglomerate when he died in 1992, taking over the business while also duking it out with her stepmother over the estate, accusing her of nagging him to an early grave. (This was never proven despite a fourteen-year court battle, but the stepmother did remarry a mere three months after her husband’s passing—to one of his friends. Money can’t buy class!)

Rinehart is seemingly on less-than-good terms with her two older children from her first marriage. She attended neither of their weddings and replaced her eldest daughter, who was supposed to be next in line to take over the family business, with her younger half-sister as director of two of her companies, Hancock Prospecting and HMHT Investments. It sounds like the groundwork is laid for an Australian reboot of Succession (called “Succission”).

Still, Rinehart is not a particularly offensive billionaire by American standards. Though she does cover the basics in keeping with her mining background (dismissing climate science as “propaganda” and funding a climate-denying think tank), as far as we know, she has neither bought a social media platform nor gone to almost-space for absolutely no reason. 

We will say only that it makes us long for the Oceangate Submersible.  NASA Kennedy/Flickr

Rinehart also engages in philanthropy and supports Australian swimming to the tune of $40 million - $60 million, the largest individual sponsorship of any Olympic sport anywhere in the world, along with other sports like rowing, beach volleyball, and synchronized swimming.

But none of that means she doesn’t share the big boys’ fragile egos, belief in the myth of meritocracy, and habituation to coddling in every area of her life. She used to sponsor the Australian netball team… until one player asked to leave her company’s logo off their kits due to their historical attitude toward the country’s Indigenous peoples (who her father once said should be sterilized to “breed themselves out”). Rather than apologize, she pulled the sponsorship. 

All of this might indicate a pattern of pettiness, culminating in her latest fit of pique, which resulted in her name being spread around the globe: The National Gallery of Australia in the capital city of Canberra recently exhibited 21 paintings of Australian figures, both living and historical, by the Aboriginal painter Vincent Namatjira, wherein Karen—sorry, Gina—objected to a portrait of her as unflattering.

Okay, while we actually do see where she might take issue, in the context of the other portraits, hers hardly stands out: the artist also included himself, King Charles III (we note he didn’t complain, though we’ve seen his latest official portrait and perhaps he knows better than to appoint himself as the arbiter of artistic taste) (although we personally like it) and his mother Elizabeth II (who couldn’t complain even if she wanted to, as she is deceased, but we all know she wouldn’t). 

These days, when you have Charles III looking comparatively calm and unbothered, the problem lies with you. Somehow, billionaires the world over have found the strength and resolve to ignore a barrage of caricatures, cartoons and close-ups. 

Have you tried drying your tears with your heaps of Australian dollars like this guy?  DonkeyHotey/Flickr

Obviously, since she and her minions lodged their complaints, the exhibit has been no less than mobbed. To add fuel to the fire, it came out even more recently that Rinehart evidently tried to donate a portrait to the National Gallery. The work is as yet not accepted to the collection, due to (shockingly) requesting specific conditions about where and how it would be displayed. 

Or perhaps a dingo ate it. Anyway, the portrait she tried to donate is by an artist named Alix Korte, who just happens to be married to the CEO of Hancock Prospecting, and is very clearly based on the Glamour Shot-style photo featured on Rinehart’s home page.

Rinehart denies that she offered the portrait unprompted and says the gallery asked her for it—she actually had her company issue a press release to that effect, which is very normal and chill as well as convincing. 

We could go on, but we have to stop writing now. Rinehart seems quite litigious, and we sort of hope she comes for us, even though this is a satire site where nothing should be taken seriously [thumbs nose in American legal system]; on the other hand, we’ve never been to Australia and would love the opportunity to wrestle Mrs. Rinehart in the courts, perhaps lubricated by some Vegemite.