Mining magnate Gina Rinehart looked a million dollars as she stepped out in public for the first time since her $15million row with Netball Australia.
Australia’s richest person – who is worth about $36billion – turned up at an awards ceremony wearing a spectacular Paspaley pearl and sapphire necklace, with an estimated value of close to $1million, plus bejewelled $1,600 Dolce and Gabbana thongs.
Ms Rinehart last month pulled the plug on her lucrative netball sponsorship deal after a player revolt against the logo of her Hancock mining company on their uniform.
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart (right) looked a million dollars with her Hancock Prospecting CEO Garry Korte (left) as she stepped out for the first time since her $15million sponsorship row with Netball Australia
Gina Rinehart wore a necklace of rare oversized pearls, believed to be from Western Australia’s Paspaley in the Kimberley, and a giant sapphire jewel (left). She matched it with $1,600 Dolce and Gabbana jewelled thong flat sandals (right) which continued the white and sapphire theme combining brilliant blue gems and patent white leather
Indigenous player Donnell Wallam wanted an exemption from wearing the sponsored team jersey over racist comments Ms Rinehart’s father made 40 years ago, with teammates backing her decision.
The move sparked a furious response from Ms Rinehart who unloaded on Netball Australia for ‘virtue-signalling’ over her desperately-needed cash injection.
The $15million contract was set to be a lifeline for the organisation, which has lost $7million in the past two years as Super Netball costs ballooned.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews later stepped in with a new $15million deal from the Visit Victoria tourism board.
But on Wednesday, Ms Rinehart bounced back into the spotlight when she appeared on the arm of Hancock Prospecting boss, Garry Korte, at The CEO Magazine Executive of the Year awards in Sydney.
She smiled and posed happily on the red carpet with Mr Korte, who picked up a Highly Commended Award for CEO of the Year.
Although dripping with expensive jewellery including diamond and sapphire earrings, Ms Rinehart, 68, kept her outfit relatively casual for a black tie ceremony, with a lacy white poncho cape over a simple white top and a pair of white leggings.
The netball row blew up after comments from Ms Rinehart’s father Lang Hancock resurfaced from 1984 when he said authorities should taint water supplies to sterilise Indigenous Australians.
The netball row blew up after comments from Ms Rinehart’s father Lang Hancock (pictured with daughter Gina Rinehart in 1982) resurfaced when he said authorities should taint water supplies to sterilise Indigenous Australians
‘The ones that are no good to themselves and can’t accept things, the half-castes -and this is where most of the trouble comes,’ he said in a TV documentary.
‘I would dope the water up so that they were sterile and would breed themselves out in future and that would solve the problem.’
Mr Hancock died in 1992 at the age of 82, and said Indigenous Australians who had been ‘assimilated’ should be left alone.
‘Those that have been assimilated into, you know, earning good living or earning wages amongst the civilised areas,’ he said.
‘Those that have been accepted into society and they have accepted society and can handle society, I’d leave them well alone.’
The row sparked a firestorm until Hancock eventually ripped up the netball deal.
‘Hancock and its executive chairman Ms Rinehart consider that it is unnecessary for sports organisations to be used as the vehicle for social or political causes,’ Hancock Prospecting said in a statement.
‘There are more targeted and genuine ways to progress social or political causes without virtue signalling or for self-publicity.’
Indigenous player Donnell Wallam (pictured) wanted an exemption from wearing the sponsored team jersey over racist comments Ms Rinehart’s father made 40 years ago
Netball Australia chief executive Kelly Ryan admitted it was ‘very disappointing’ to have the sponsorship scrapped.
She added: ‘Obviously Mrs Rinehart’s views are hers and we fully appreciate them.’
Donnell Wallam emerged from the row to make her Diamonds debut off the bench against England and scored the winner with her first touch of the ball.
She missed the second game through illness but returned in the third game and scored a perfect 15-15, scoring at every attempt, in a 57-53 win to take the series 3-0.