Rinehart case reveals family emails
Court documents reveal Gina Rinehart's daughter, Hope Rinehart Welker, is down to her last $60,000 and cannot afford a cook, bodyguard or housekeeper.
GINA RINEHART'S ''plan B'' to ensure details of the acrimonious dispute dividing her family remain private has backfired after a court released intimate emails from the iron ore magnate's daughters, which reveal their concerns about not having enough money to support their young children.
Lawyers for Mrs Rinehart say reporting of her immense wealth and legal battles will expose her, her children and grandchildren to the risk of kidnapping, death threats and extortion, comparing her plight to that of the English footballer David Beckham and his wife, Victoria ''Posh Spice'' Beckham, the US talk-show host David Letterman and the late heart surgeon Victor Chang.
The NSW Supreme Court was told a risk assessment of the family by an international security firm, Control Risks, found reporting of the legal dispute over control of the multibillion-dollar family trust would increase the likelihood of abduction and kidnap for ransom, robbery, protest and harassment from ''criminals, deranged individuals and issue-motivated groups''.
But Justice Michael Ball said he saw no evidence why specific reporting of the feud would increase the risk when long-time coverage of Mrs Rinehart's extensive business activities had not.
''It seems to me if it were otherwise, a suppression or non-publication order would be justified on that ground in respect of any proceedings involving a person with a significant public profile,'' he said.
I would buy them myself but I'm down to my last $60,000 and your [sic] only paying my husband $1 a year
Mrs Rinehart's three oldest children, John Langley Hancock, Bianca Hope Rinehart and Hope Rinehart Welker, have started legal action to remove her as the trustee of the Hope Margaret Hancock trust, set up by their late grandfather Lang Hancock, alleging ''serious misconduct''.
Mrs Rinehart, who is supported by her youngest daughter, Ginia, 25, wants the dispute settled by confidential mediation or arbitration to prevent the details becoming public.
Despite winning an application in the High Court on Wednesday for a five-week extension of the stay on lifting suppression orders in the case, Mrs Rinehart's lawyers pursued their urgent application for a fresh suppression order in the NSW Supreme Court yesterday.
Documents tendered included an email from Hope Rinehart Welker, 26, to her mother on July 30 last year in which she asks for a cook, bodyguard and housekeeper for her birthday: ''I would buy them myself but I'm down to my last $60,000 and your [sic] only paying my husband $1 a year.''
Ms Welker, who lives in New York with her husband Ryan and two children, also complains of the ''peer pressure that comes from being the wealthiest one [offspring] in the country''.
''I don't think you understand what it means now that the whole world thinks you're going to be wealthier than Bill Gates - it means we all need bodyguards and very safe homes!! I should have enough money to have a bodyguard, housekeeper and cook. Even my friends who have nothing compared to your wealth have more staff.''
An email from Bianca Rinehart, who lives in Vancouver with her partner and child, says she fears she will be subject to a bomb hoax similar to that of the Mosman schoolgirl Madeleine Pulver.
''We are, by all accounts, the highest risk family in all of Australia for future similar attacks … I would like to have security personnel present as you have with Kevin. Unfortunately I do not have the financial means to achieve this and ask that you consider sponsoring such an arrangement or please makes funds available.''
The security report, code-named Project Tara, by a former Australian Army officer, Michael Humphreys, said reporting of the case would increase the family's profile. He said Dr Chang was murdered during a failed kidnap attempt after a newspaper described him as ''filthy rich''.
It also compared the coverage Mrs Rinehart had received compared to other mining magnates.
Sandy Dawson, for media organisations including Fairfax Media, told the court Mrs Rinehart's application was ''plan B'' in her quest to ''have a suppression order whenever she wants it''.
The matter will return to court today. The suppression order application was stood over until February 10.