Billionaire packaging tycoon Richard Pratt, one of Australia\’s richest men, is reported to be gravely ill, suffering from what is believed to be prostate cancer.
Federal Victorian Labor MP Bill Shorten, a family friend, said he had met with the Pratt family on Monday night.
He said Mr Pratt was in a serious condition.”I can explain, but I\’m going to leave that for the family out of respect,” Mr Shorten told the ABC.
Under further questioning about the nature of Mr Pratt\’s illness, Mr Shorten said “gravely ill” was the only way he would describe it.
The controversies surrounding Mr Pratt in recent years had been tough, Mr Shorten said, but he is a strong man.
“I can\’t claim to see into his mind and his morale at the moment and he is ill, and he has and is a big contributor to public life.
“I think it\’s fair to say that Richard Pratt is currently held in very high respect by many many people in Victoria and Australia, he employed thousands of people in good jobs.
“And his family do great social work, not only in Australia but overseas.”
Mr Pratt was an actor, businessman, involved heavily in the community and is worthy of the nation\’s respect, Mr Shorten said.
As one of Australia\’s richest men and biggest philanthropist, Mr Pratt is worth more than $5 billion.
He built up the Visy packaging company into an international empire, but came into strife over alleged price fixing.
The Federal Court is currently deciding whether the evidence Mr Pratt gave in a 2007 civil case can be used in a criminal trial against him.
He faces four charges of giving false or misleading evidence to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) at a hearing in 2005.
At the time, he denied a conversation he allegedly had about price fixing with Amcor chief executive Russell Jones at a hotel in Melbourne in 2001.
It is believed Mr Pratt has prostate cancer and is resting in his home in the wealthy Melbourne suburb of Kew.