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