More featuring Lang Hancock»

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.”

(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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