Famously one of the most private of family business heads, Gina Rinehart is unlikely to be pleased by the news that her life is to be dramatised on Australian television screens from 2014. The executive chairwoman of Hancock Prospecting and Australia’s richest person will be the main character in the tentatively titled Mother Monster Magnate.
The two-part four-hour series will focus on the acrimonious and ongoing legal battle between the Australian mining tycoon and three of her four children: John, Bianca and Hope.
The trio wish to remove Rinehart from her role as the sole trustee of the family's multi-billion dollar trust – which was set up by Rinehart's father, Lang Hancock, for his grandchildren in 1988.
The family feud is extra ripe for dramatic adaptation since the mining tycoon’s youngest daughter, Ginina, has sided with her mother rather than her siblings in the disagreement.
Mother Monster Magnate stems from the work of investigative journalist Steve Pennells, who in 2012 uncovered the story of Rinehart’s previously very private dispute with her children.
Rinehart, whose father once described journalists as either “socialists or communists”, is unenthusiastic about the Australian press. Her unhappiness about the forthcoming series may be compounded by the knowledge that Pennells has been signed as a consultant to the project.
Political intrigue may also feature in Monster Mother Magnate. Rinehart is known for her hard lobbying on tax reform and shoulder rubbing with members of the central-right Liberal party, the opposition party in Australia.
Tony Abbott, leader of the opposition, is reportedly considering a policy suggested by Rinehart, which would make Australia’s north a special economic zone in which companies pay less tax and foreign workers are employed on cut-rate pay.
“I think that we should be prepared to listen to everyone and obviously Gina has made a terrific contribution to northern development with some of the mines that she has pioneered,'' he said on 8 February.
Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision – Rinehart’s lobby group – says northern Australia should move towards tax freedom, with no resources, payroll or income tax collected.
Rinehart enlivened her vision for Australia with the 2012 poem Our Future: "Develop North Australia, embrace multiculturalism and welcome short-term foreign workers to our shores / To benefit from the export of our minerals and ores."
Our Future, which is a kind of ode to mining, was described by one critic as “the universe’s worst poem”.
In January Forbes valued Rinehart’s net worth at $17 billion (€12.65 billion).