Joyce's 'dangerous' Rinehart email

01 Jun, 2015 06:45 AM
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Australia needs strong families and Hope we need, really need, yours to be strong
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

THE son of billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart has lashed out at Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce's "dangerous" intervention in the court battle over a $5-billion trust, and questioned whether the potential Nationals Leader is fit to serve as a cabinet minister.

Mr Joyce did not respond to repeated requests for comment on his highly personal email to one of Mrs Rinehart's children, urging her to drop her legal action.

The Opposition has called for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to haul in his minister and demand an explanation for the "extraordinary" intervention.

John Hancock, the estranged son of Australia's richest person, last week won an epic legal battle over control of the family trust, with his sister and ally Bianca Rinehart appointed trustee.

NSW Supreme Court Justice Paul Brereton appointed Bianca, 38, trustee of the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust, set up by her grandfather Lang Hancock. In handing down his judgment, Justice Brereton said he had "never seen such pressure exerted, so persistently, on a litigant", as in this case.

Some measures "closely approached intimidation", Justice Brereton said.

The judgment cited two letters sent by Mr Joyce and the now retired Liberal MP Alby Schultz to Mrs Rinehart's other daughter, Hope Welker.

In the email Mr Joyce wrote: "Australia needs strong families and Hope we need, really need, yours to be strong".

"Your family are good people, if they were not I would not care as much about you and your mum," the email continued.

"You are a family Australia needs. All good families have their problems but before it gets really out of hand, I would try to get it back in house and out of public view."

The note was sent from Mr Joyce's parliamentary email address and describes how his family had been racked with conflict over his decision to marry his wife. "I was the one who had been flicked because I had the temerity to choose my own wife away from the New England stud book," he said.

He suggested lawyers would not have her interests at heart. "Lawyers get you to say nasty things. They stir you up then turn the account clock on and watch the money flow," he said.

Mr Joyce also criticised the media. "Hope, I live in the public gaze, a lot of my life I do not enjoy because every move is on television and in the press. But Australia asks different things of different people."

He went on: "Hope, once the public interest starts looking into your private life then every mobile phone is one step away from you being on YouTube. You can not control it."

Mr Hancock said on Friday that Mr Joyce had questions to answer and raised doubt over whether he should continue serving as a minister.

"Is this the type of person who should be sitting in federal cabinet?" Mr Hancock asked Fairfax Media. Mr Hancock said that, by using his government email address to send an email urging Mrs Welker to drop the court action, Mr Joyce had involved the Abbott government in the dispute.

"This character sits three chairs down from the Prime Minister. To have someone so easily manipulated, or alternatively so naive, is dangerous in such a position," he said. "By doing so he endorsed the conduct of Gina Rinehart and involved the Australian government."

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Rob Moore
1/06/2015 7:56:40 AM

I used to defend BJ thru hell and high water. Lived just up the road& a star member of my blogsite. My issue is using Govt letterheads - not the content as that was all fair enough among friends. When he became AG min- and after I devised the PPP plan (Nov 2013)- I didn't exp special treatment BUT he & staff have treated me with contempt for near 2 yrs. I have forgotten more than he knows abt livestock marketing- he only takes adv from the "rusted on country clubbers" who are puppets for the big end of town & multiNats. He has backed me into a corner and his true colours will be his downfall...not me
Hilda Hereford
1/06/2015 8:20:18 AM

Good Question, I have serious doubts about Barnaby and the Nationals. On the one hand he commits to an overdue Senate Inquiry into grass fed beef cattle transaction levies, and on the other when the Senate comes up with seven excellent recommendations he then does nothing and it would appear he was shocked by the outcome of the Inquiry. Did he intend for the inquiry to shut the grass fed levy payers up? I don't think that is working!!
Chick Olsson
1/06/2015 8:26:16 AM

Why is it dangerous to have an opinion? Is this Nazi Germany?
1/06/2015 8:44:57 AM

Personal letter (sensible advice)...shouldn't have Gov. letterhead.
1/06/2015 9:07:24 AM

Getting there Chick, quicker than most realise.
Chick Olsson
1/06/2015 9:33:56 AM

Agree Harold. What ever happened to the notion of free speech? While its ok for media to print what they like, heaven help any individual who does the same.
1/06/2015 9:40:08 AM

Rob You have identified standard National practices. Best buddies to bush folk till they get elected. Best buddies to the city elite after they get elected. I've seen it over and over. Just fail to understand why the sheeple keep voting for them.
Rob Moore
1/06/2015 10:46:45 AM

I will not play politics with this - Joyce is paid $346Kpa to do something for his portfolio. Every senator gets $21K in the back pocket to sit on these Inq! Not to mention aLL staff trav/accom. It is laughable just how many senate Inq and "white papers" that are 8 months o/due-this is just to be "seen " to be doing something while the real intention is to do nothing. and hope it rains and prices go up. LNP in 2003 under McGuaran ignored all this same old same old and we have suffered another 12 years for no reason. PRODUCERS must BOYCOTT paying the levies until we get satisfaction & a say in our fate!
Ted O'Brien.
1/06/2015 12:28:26 PM

Well, it seems John Hancock does not see Barnaby as a friend, anyway. This doesn't seem to bode well for the future of the Hancock mining business. Greed rules. And BJ was not a minister on $384k in 2011. Don't whiteant him, because he is the only hope you've got.
Chick Olsson
1/06/2015 12:51:49 PM

Agree with Ted
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