Deborah Light, “Governments — like a red rag to a Rogue Bull,” The Sydney Morning Herald, June 6, 1991, p. 2. Including lots of Hancock quotes.
What do you give a man who has everything? If it’s Lang Hancock, nothing, as Brian Burke found. In fact, the famed octogenarian millionaire gave the former WA Premier hundreds of thousands of dollars to do exactly that: nothing. Simply keep the other bastards out of power.
Hancock appeared before the royal commission yesterday exhibiting several traits rare among witnesses to date. For a start he sought to appear; he wanted to clear up all this fuss about his political donations. Next, he wasn’t shy about how much and to whom he gave. And he showed that, if this commission is about establishing whether big business cosied up to government in funds-for-favours deals, don’t look to prove it through Lang.
Burke didn’t have to promise Hancock anything, he said. In fact, he contributed plenty over the years; about $2 million since the early 1980s, almost all of it to the Labor and National Parties, no strings attached.
Any why not? It was his money, he said. He could do with it what he liked. And there’s another turn up — most others gave generously from their shareholders’ funds. Lastly, age notwithstanding, he proved to have one of the best memories so far exhibited by commission witnesses.
Business doesn’t come much bigger than Lang. Worth $150 million by BRW magazine Rich List standards, this man earns $70,000 every week from iron-ore mining royalties, just for being himself, or rather for being what he once was. It was Lang, known as Rogue Bull, who opened up the vast Pilbara region in WA and, with it, the world’s largest iron-ore deposit.
Dressed in runners, safari jacket and slacks, with a slim cane in one hand and elegant wife, Rose, on the other, Hancock slowly made his way into the commission yesterday. He might be a bit slow on the pegs, his voice creaky with age, but the Hancock mind is still sharp enough to break rocks and the resolve and vision are as strong and arrogant as ever.
He gave to the Labor Party in WA because, “at least they can’t do any harm. They can’t do any good, but they can’t do any harm,” he said.
This legendary right-winger was simply afraid that the Liberals, with whom he’d had an acrimonious split under the previous Charles Court Liberal Government, would return to power in WA. That was bad news for him and bad news for Australia. “My political philosophy is particularly free enterprise and none of them have that.”
But Bob Hawke’s Government is a different matter when it comes to Lang’s largesse. Asked if he provided funds to the Federal Labor Party, he said: “Not that I remember … I get these letters and they just go in the waste basket.”
In a spare 20 minutes in the box, Hancock read a five-page statement: “Answer to Question: Why Did You Support the Labor Party” (which included a plug for his 1979 book Wake Up Australia), sharing his theory: “I have always believed that the best government is the least government.” And: “Although government do not and cannot positively help business, they can be disruptive and destructive.”
He’d spent millions of his own money on Eastern Bloc countries — he was, after all, a backer of he Ceaussescu Government — in order to provide jobs, foreign exchange and royalties.
“So far neither I nor my companies have made large profits out of these ventures,” he said. Indeed, foreign-exchange earnings of $7 billion a year from his planned Eastern Bloc projects were possible. Then he was helped from the box and handed to his wife. “Don’t scum my husband,” she warned journalists gently.
Outside the commission building, embedded in the broad pavements of Perth’s St Georges Terrace, are bronzed plaques which mark the great West Australians of history to whom the city pays gratitude: the gritty Duracks who opened up the Kimberleys; the great Lee-Steere pastoralist family, and the explorers and politicians, the Forrests. One pays tribute to Lang Hancock, Prospector. There is none for Yossie Goldberg or Laurie Connell, or even Brian Burke.
- Ron Manners’ Heroic Misadventures
- Hancock's Australia
- Hancock on Government Help
- Wake Up Australia: Excerpts Part 1
- Wake Up Australia: Excerpts Part 2
- Lang Hancock's Five Point Plan to Cripple Australia
- Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
- Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
- Jump on the Joh bandwagon
- John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
- Governments — like a red rag to a Rogue Bull
- Lang Hancock's Pilbara-Queensland Railway Proposal
- Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
- Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
- New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
- Small and Big Business Should Oppose Government, says Lang Hancock
- A Condensed Case for Secession
- Hancock gets tough over uranium mining
- Hancock's threat to secede and faith in Whitlam
- PM's sky-high promise to Lang
- Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
- The spread of Canberra-ism
- Govt should sell the ABC, says Lang Hancock
- 1971 Monday Conference transcript featuring Lang Hancock
- Aborigines, Bjelke and the freedom of the press
- The code of Lang Hancock
- Why not starve the taxation monster?
- Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
- Party Promises to Abolish Tax
- Right-wing plot
- "The best way to help the poor is not to become one of them." - Lang Hancock
- WA's NCP commits suicide
- "You can't live off a sacred site"
- Hancock: King of the Pilbara
- Bludgers need not apply
- New party formed "to slash controls"
- Workers Party Reunion Intro
- Workers Party is born as foe of government
- Government seen by new party as evil
- Ron Manners on Lang Hancock
- Does Canberra leave us any alternative to secession?
- Bury Hancock Week
- Ron Manners on the Workers Party
- Lang Hancock on Australia Today
- Hancock and Wright
- Lang Hancock on Environmentalists
- Friends of free enterprise treated to financial tete-a-tete: Lang does the talking but Gina pulls the strings
- Lang Hancock, Stump Jumper
- Lang Hancock: giant of the western iron age
- The Treasury needs a hatchet man
- We Mine to Live
- Get the "econuts" off our backs
- 1971 Lang Hancock-Jonathan Aitken interview for Land of Fortune (short)
- Gina Rinehart, Secessionist
- 1982 NYT Lang Hancock profile
- Enter Rio Tinto
- Hamersley and Tom Price
- News in the West
- Positive review of Hancock speech
- Lang Hancock International Press Institute General Assembly speech, Canberra, 1978
- Australia's slide to socialism
- The Great Claim Robbery
- Why WA must go it alone
- Lang Hancock in 1976 on Public Picnics and Human Blights
- MILLIONAIRE PUTS MONEY BEHIND SECESSIONISTS
- Resource Management in Australia: Is it possible?
- The gospel of WA secession according to Lang Hancock
- Crystal Balls Need Polishing
- Minerals - politicians' playthings?
- John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
- Boston Tea Party 1986 style, hosted by Lang Hancock and Bob Ansett
- Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
- Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
- Tactics change by Hancock
- Lang Hancock complains to Margaret Thatcher about Malcolm Fraser
- 'Phony crisis' seen as 'child of politics'
- Lang Hancock on nuclear energy
- Lang Hancock beats the left at their own game on civil liberties
- Lang Hancock's Favourite Books
- 1977 Lang Hancock Canberoo poem
- Hancock's playing very hard to get
- Hancock proposes a free-trade zone
- An Open Letter to Sir Charles Court
- John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
- Lang Hancock in 1984 solves Australian politics
- Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
- Lang Hancock asks what happened to Australia's rugged individualism?
- Precis of Ludwig Plan for North-West
- Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
- Lang Hancock's March 1983 attempt to enlist "former presidents of nations and heads of giant companies" to save Australia
- Lang Hancock asks us to think how easily environmentalists are manipulated for political purposes
- Invest in free enterprise
- Democracy is dead in Australia and Lang Hancock's education
- Lang Hancock Incites Civil Disobedience
- Hancock sounds call to battle Canberra
- Mining policy a threat
- Over Whitlam's head
- Lang Hancock suggests that newspapers don't give space to politicians unconditionally
- Lang Hancock on saving Australia from socialism
- Secede or sink
- Australia can learn from Thatcher
- John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
- How Lang Hancock would fix the economy
- Lang Hancock: victim of retrospective legislation
- Lang Hancock supports Joh for PM
- Hancock seeks miners' tax haven in the north
- The Ord River Dam
- Why Lang Hancock invested in Australia's film industry
- Lang Hancock's 1983 letters to The Australian: Lang's precedent for Steve Jobs, renaming the Lucky Country to the Constipated Country, and more
- Australia's biggest newspaper insider on manipulating the media
- 1980 Lang Hancock-Australian Penthouse Interview
- Canberra: bastion of bureaucracy
- Pilbara can be the Ruhr for South-East Asia
- 1982 Lang Hancock-John Harper Nelson Interview
- Australian elections are one of the greatest con games in history
- Our leaders are powerless