More featuring Lang Hancock»

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.

(in order of appearance on
  1. Ron Manners’ Heroic Misadventures
  2. Hancock's Australia
  3. Hancock on Government Help
  4. Wake Up Australia: Excerpts Part 1
  5. Wake Up Australia: Excerpts Part 2
  6. Lang Hancock's Five Point Plan to Cripple Australia
  7. Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
  8. Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
  9. Jump on the Joh bandwagon
  10. John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
  11. Governments — like a red rag to a Rogue Bull
  12. Lang Hancock's Pilbara-Queensland Railway Proposal
  13. Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
  14. Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
  15. New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
  16. Small and Big Business Should Oppose Government, says Lang Hancock
  17. A Condensed Case for Secession
  18. Hancock gets tough over uranium mining
  19. Hancock's threat to secede and faith in Whitlam
  20. PM's sky-high promise to Lang
  21. Lang Hancock: "a catherine-wheel of novel suggestions"
  22. Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
  23. The spread of Canberra-ism
  24. Govt should sell the ABC, says Lang Hancock
  25. 1971 Monday Conference transcript featuring Lang Hancock
  26. Aborigines, Bjelke and the freedom of the press
  27. The code of Lang Hancock
  28. Why not starve the taxation monster?
  29. Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
  30. Party Promises to Abolish Tax
  31. Right-wing plot
  32. "The best way to help the poor is not to become one of them." - Lang Hancock
  33. WA's NCP commits suicide
  34. "You can't live off a sacred site"
  35. Hancock: King of the Pilbara
  36. Bludgers need not apply
  37. New party formed "to slash controls"
  38. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  39. Workers Party is born as foe of government
  40. Government seen by new party as evil
  41. Ron Manners on Lang Hancock
  42. Does Canberra leave us any alternative to secession?
  43. Bury Hancock Week
  44. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  45. Lang Hancock on Australia Today
  46. Hancock and Wright
  47. Lang Hancock on Environmentalists
  48. Friends of free enterprise treated to financial tete-a-tete: Lang does the talking but Gina pulls the strings
  49. Lang Hancock, Stump Jumper
  50. Lang Hancock: giant of the western iron age
  51. The Treasury needs a hatchet man
  52. We Mine to Live
  53. Get the "econuts" off our backs
  54. 1971 Lang Hancock-Jonathan Aitken interview for Land of Fortune (short)
  55. Gina Rinehart, Secessionist
  56. 1982 NYT Lang Hancock profile
  57. Enter Rio Tinto
  58. Hamersley and Tom Price
  59. News in the West
  60. Positive review of Hancock speech
  61. Lang Hancock International Press Institute General Assembly speech, Canberra, 1978
  62. Australia's slide to socialism
  63. The Great Claim Robbery
  64. Why WA must go it alone
  65. Lang Hancock in 1976 on Public Picnics and Human Blights
  67. Resource Management in Australia: Is it possible?
  68. The gospel of WA secession according to Lang Hancock
  69. Crystal Balls Need Polishing
  70. Minerals - politicians' playthings?
  71. John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
  72. Boston Tea Party 1986 style, hosted by Lang Hancock and Bob Ansett
  73. Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
  74. Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
  75. Tactics change by Hancock
  76. Lang Hancock complains to Margaret Thatcher about Malcolm Fraser
  77. 'Phony crisis' seen as 'child of politics'
  78. Lang Hancock on nuclear energy
  79. Lang Hancock beats the left at their own game on civil liberties
  80. Lang Hancock's Favourite Books
  81. 1977 Lang Hancock Canberoo poem
  82. Hancock's playing very hard to get
  83. Hancock proposes a free-trade zone
  84. An Open Letter to Sir Charles Court
  85. John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
  86. Lang Hancock in 1984 solves Australian politics
  87. Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
  88. Lang Hancock asks what happened to Australia's rugged individualism?
  89. Precis of Ludwig Plan for North-West
  90. Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
  91. Lang Hancock's March 1983 attempt to enlist "former presidents of nations and heads of giant companies" to save Australia
  92. Lang Hancock asks us to think how easily environmentalists are manipulated for political purposes
  93. Invest in free enterprise
  94. Democracy is dead in Australia and Lang Hancock's education
  95. Lang Hancock Incites Civil Disobedience
  96. Hancock sounds call to battle Canberra
  97. Mining policy a threat
  98. Over Whitlam's head
  99. Lang Hancock suggests that newspapers don't give space to politicians unconditionally
  100. Lang Hancock on saving Australia from socialism
  101. Secede or sink
  102. Australia can learn from Thatcher
  103. John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
  104. How Lang Hancock would fix the economy
  105. Lang Hancock: victim of retrospective legislation
  106. Lang Hancock supports Joh for PM
  107. Hancock seeks miners' tax haven in the north
  108. The Ord River Dam
  109. Why Lang Hancock invested in Australia's film industry
  110. Lang Hancock's 1983 letters to The Australian: Lang's precedent for Steve Jobs, renaming the Lucky Country to the Constipated Country, and more
  111. Australia's biggest newspaper insider on manipulating the media
  112. 1980 Lang Hancock-Australian Penthouse Interview
  113. Canberra: bastion of bureaucracy
  114. Pilbara can be the Ruhr for South-East Asia
  115. 1982 Lang Hancock-John Harper Nelson Interview
  116. Australian elections are one of the greatest con games in history
  117. Our leaders are powerless
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