31st Aug 2012 8:37am | By Jahn Vannisselroy
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart should try living on the minimum wage before calling for it to be cut, federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek says.
Ms Rinehart, Australia's richest person, says those who are jealous of the wealthy should start working harder and cut down on drinking, smoking and socialising.
In her regular column in Australian Resources and Investment magazine she writes it is billionaires like herself who are doing more than anyone to help the poor by investing their money and creating jobs.
She also suggests the government should lower the minimum wage of $606.40 a week and cut taxes to stimulate employment.
But Plibersek says Rinehart is out of line attacking those on the lowest wages.
"I think it's pretty easy for Ginehart Rinehart to say that people on the minimum wage should get paid less," she told the Seven network on Thursday.
"I think she should try living on the minimum wage."
Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, told Seven she respected success but Rinehart was not self-made.
"She's accumulated wealth from her family."
Senator Rhiannon said workers were out there creating the wealth.
North Queensland MP Bob Katter said Rinehart would be more believable if she did not want to import foreign workers for coal mines in Queensland's Galilee Basin.
"So thank you for your advice Gina, but this demonstrates the most burning question before the Australian people today," he said.
"Are we going to give the 200,000 jobs that are coming with the coal expansion in the Galilee Basin ... and in iron ore to foreign workers as Gina Rinehart wants?
"Bringing in the foreign workers is not about her being unable to get Australians to do those jobs, it's about cutting back pays."