Peter Rosendorff, “‘You can’t live off a sacred site’,” New Internationalist, July, 1979, p. 20, with many of Lang Hancock’s own words.
Almost 30 years ago Langley George Hancock — “Lang” to everyone — stumbled over a heap of iron ore rocks in outback Australia, and is now the country’s richest man. In this interview with Peter Rosendorff, Hancock argues strongly that as the nation’s biggest taxpayer he is entitled to more government protection for mining in the face of opposition by minorities such as Aboriginals.
“Hands off the mining industry … and while we’re at it the government must protect the companies from any sorts of claims by Aborigines, by minority groups in the form of trouble-makers like environmentalists … mining must be paramount.”
Lang Hancock is pleading self-interest; but the tone is flinty, commanding, and it fits the image of a rugged outdoor type used to getting his own way. If Hancock sees the paradox in pleading priority for the multi-million dollar multi-national mining industry ahead of the relatively destitute Aboriginal tribes-people, he makes no apology for it.
“The fundamental issue is to make people understand that their very existence depends on mining.”
Twelve hundred miles to the north of Perth, Western Australia, where Hancock is speaking in his office, the elders of Aboriginal tribes are arguing with mining company representatives in exactly contradictory terms; that their continued existence is threatened by mining.
But Hancock is unimpressed. “If you don’t mine you can’t have any civilisation other than what the blackfella had. So irrespective of what rights you think this or that group has or what other theoretical rights that somebody has — the fundamental and paramount right that must be upheld is the right to mine in anybody’s land.
People are number one consideration
“It’s people who are the number one consideration, and their very existence — the very existence of any civilisation — depends on mining. The people who argue for land rights forget this,” Hancock said.
“They also forget that if we don’t break out of the present stagnant economic situation in Australia — and it’s getting worse and worse — the land rights question and all other questions will be settled automatically by someone coming in here and taking what we must produce for the rest of the world.”
He sits forward in his big, black executive swivel chair, and shoots out cufflinks made of polished haematite (iron ore), saying:
“Suppose you do give the Aboriginals land rights … what would happen if you gave them the whole cake? Gave them the whole of Australia? You must remember that Aborigines neither tilled the soil, nor mined it, and therefore they could only live on what nature provided. Under these circumstances Australia could support today a population of less than 400,000 — that’s roughly equivalent to the total number that existed in Australia before European settlement. In those days there were certain groups of Aboriginals living round a waterhole. When there were too many picaninnies (infants) for the waterhole, the elders of the tribe got together and they hit the babies on the head. That’s perfect birth control. That made the absolute number that could live in Australia for I don’t know how many centuries.”
To live like a blackfella
“The problem is that we can’t do that. With our population of 14 million now we can’t simply live on what nature provided either. We would go broke. Mining is paramount, and it must be made so — otherwise we’ve got no economy. The question is: do you want to live, or do you want to die? Do you want to live like a blackfella, or do you want to enjoy the standard of living which mining brings you?”
“I believe that it’s fundamental that the discoverer of minerals should be given first rights to his discovery. Now he can sell it for a bottle of whisky, a loaf of bread, millions of dollars — that’s his specific right … and that right must be respected from the discovery to the development stage, and nothing must be allowed to interfere with it.”
“But what has happened? The government in the Northern Territory has departed from that principle by granting Aboriginals mineral rights without having to discover them — and in the process they have given away the rights to about two-thirds of the Northern Territory. This is the most ridiculous thing you could ever think of. The Aborigines have no obligation to find the ore. This puts them in a privileged position. Aboriginals should have exactly the same rights as any other citizens of Australia — they should not have exclusive rights … you can’t live off a sacred site.”
- 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
- Lang Hancock: "a catherine-wheel of novel suggestions"
- 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