The remarks of Australia's richest woman, Gina Rinehart, over the social life of minimum wage workers as well as her suggestion to lower the current weekly minimum pay has become viral.
Her column in an industry paper where she suggested that Aussies earning minimum wage should smoke and drink less but work harder to improve their lot has generated more comments from Australian politicians and labor unions.
Besides a criticism from Health Minister Tanya Plibersek who said her comments is an out-of-line attack on minimum wage earners, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and current Treasurer Wayne Swan joined the growing number of politicians and other groups outraged over the comments of the mining magnate.
Mr Rudd said Mr Rinehart's view of what causes people to be poor is plain wrong since life is more complex than vices and work linked to a person's wealth. He also disagreed with her other suggestion that the current minimum wage of $606.40 a week be cut.
"Everyone in this country deserves a decent start in life and everyone in this country deserves decent, basic social protections, and one of these social protections is the minimum wage," Courier Mail quoted Mr Rudd.
Mr Swan used his reaction to Ms Rinehart's comments to hit as well Opposition leader Tony Abbott. He said the tycoon's remarks 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."
"The big question is whether Tony Abbott will endorse Gina Rinehart's social policies as he's endorsed her tax, industrial relations and environmental policies," Western Australia Today quoted Mr Swan.
"Tony Abbott is Gina's knight in shining armour when it comes to fighting for tax cuts for her and Clive Palmer," he added.
Mr Palmer himself advised his fellow billionaire to first try out the hard life of minimum wage earners by spending three weeks in his nickel refinery before criticising the lifestyle of poor Australians. He expressed apprehension that her remarks created a larger gap between billionaires and the rest of the world.
North Queensland MP Bob Katter chose sarcasm to express his disagreement with Ms Rinehart.
"Gina told us to get out of the pubs, stop smoking, don't go to the football, work on the weekends, and then you can get rich like her . . . She left out the bit about Daddy being a cattle station owner and the biggest magnate in Australia, that helps as well," News.com.au quoted the MP.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union National President Tony Maher said her comments indicate Ms Rinehart's twisted logic.
"To start, Gina Rinehart was born into a mining fortune. She didn't get there through her initiative," he said.
Mr Maher said with a mining fortune behind her, Ms Rinehart did not find it hard to build on it particularly in a period when Australian commodities benefited from record-high prices. He added Ms Rinehart is actually preventing Aussies from benefitting from the mining boom with her opposition to the mining tax.
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