There is already speculation in the Northern Territory that Barnaby Joyce will end up employed by another rich friend , billionaire Gina Rinehart, with vast mining and pastoral interests . It is being repeatedly pointed out that the former Country Liberal Chief Minister of the Northern Territory , Adam Giles , who lost his Alice Springs seat at last year's election , unexpectedly became general manager for external affairs pastoral , in Hancock Prospecting. At the time , it was said this swift appointment highlighted the "blatant " revolving door between politicians and mining companies .
Apart from holding pastoral interests in the Territory , Hancock Prospecting has gas exploration licences over a large area and fracking is a hot political issue in the north , a contentious report issued as the result of an inquiry . The entrance of one pastoral property over which the Hancock company has gas permits , owned by a millionaire , firmly declares NO FRACKING . It is a kind of range war situation as in the 1960s western TV series, The Big Valley , with Barbara Stanwyck as the tough matriarch.
There is no doubt that Gina Rinehart has a soft spot for Barnaby Joyce . He was one of three Coalition MPs she flew to India in her private jet for a lavish Bollywood type wedding . Then, last November , she presented Barnaby with her inaugural $40,000 award on National Agriculture Day for " championing agriculture" . As he was the Minister for Agriculture , there were howls of disbelief , and the cheque was handed back .
Now , the scuttlebutt in the Territory is that the former Deputy Prime Minister is a Monty to end up on the payroll of Ms. Rinehart , who also has coal mining interests in the Galilee Basin , Queensland .