More featuring Lang Hancock»

Jenny Archer, The Australian, June 21, 1982, p. 9.

One of Australia’s success stories of the century is a warm-hearted family man who’d like to shred communists, dessicate ecologists and radically lobotomise academics. JENNY ARCHER went to a Lang Hancock Family Free Enterprise Sydney seminar to winkle out the secrets of the Hancock aura.

He has been described by leading politicians as “not only disgustingly rich but quite disgusting”, and is often presented as a cold, ruthless, money-grabbing tycoon who exercises his tongue more than his brain.

But Lang Hancock couldn’t give a damn.

As Australia’s outspoken defender of free enterprise and resource development for 30 years, Mr Hancock has heard it — and done it — all before.

A self-made, wealthy Western Australian, he brought down widespread wrath on his head last year when he suggested painless sterilisation of a group of Australians; 10 months ago he proposed that the Federal Government hand over the ABC to the chief executive of News Corporation, Mr Rupert Murdoch; nine months ago he underwent open heart surgery; last week he announced plans to challenge BHP’s domination of Australian steel production; and now the director of Hancock Prospecting plans to write an Australian constitution to limit the power of the government.

It all seems quite feasible when you meet the Hancock team.

Although the controversial, 73-year-old Mr Hancock is one of the warmest, most family-oriented men you would meet in any iron-ore mine, the dynamo behind him, his 28-year-old daughter and business assistant, Gina Hayward, knows exactly where she plans to manoeuvre her Pa — right to the top. And a radically conservative constitution is the way to do it, according to Ms Hayward who is not one to pull punches.

At this point in time she sees the central Queensland coal-fields as a means of realising her father’s dreams. She’s had just a little help from the close ties between her father and the Queensland Premier, Mr Bjelke-Petersen, who continues to support his big mining ventures.

With typical lobbying flair, Ms Hayward says she has decided to name the proposed $155 million coal port for Queensland’s Cape Clinton as Port Petersen. How could Mr Bjelke-Petersen not be putty in the lady’s hand.

Her father is. He thinks she’s “just brilliant.” Asked why he has not yet retired, he answers simply: “I’m doing it all for Gina.”

Although Mr Hancock openly praises his daughter, she has remained an enigma in the public eye. Her eight-year marriage broke up last year and she refuses to discuss her private life, except to say her former husband is now driving a taxi.

Money, she says, doesn’t mean all that much to her.

But by material standards, Mr Hancock is a fortunate man and Ms Hayward, as his sole heiress, a fortunate woman. Through his discovery of huge iron ore deposits on Mt Tom Price in 1952, the Hancock mining companies earn $1 million a week before tax. The family has huge property holdings in Sydney and has stacked not an inconsiderable amount of their dollars in the Australian film industry.

But Ms Hayward’s hands aren’t out for the money. She’s too busy organising her father to make more.

Take, for example, last week’s Hancock Family Free Enterprise Seminar at the Wentworth Hotel in Sydney. Fifteen dollars to secure a seat and not a drink or sandwich in sight.

Although Mr Hancock took the stage along with his two guests — Mr George Roche, synonymous in the United States with new-wave conservatism, Reaganomics and the politics of minimum government and maximum freedom, and Professor Petr Beckmann, a dynamic advocate of energy resource development — it was obvious Ms Hayward ran the show.

Mr Hancock couldn’t have organised the seminar better himself. His two guests slammed socialism and pleaded for the mining of uranium to the obvious pleasure of the capitalist audience. Even Ms Hayward and her mother, who bear an uncanny resemblance right down to the same orange lipstick, were chafing at the bit.

A tanned Mr Andrew Peacock, also on the platform, seemed less impressed.

Mr Hancock admits two fears to his friends: the lack of cheap energy and the headlong rush to “socialism”. Asked if he were chairman of a world multi-national corporation, how much he would invest where and in what, Mr Hancock replied he would acquire one of the four media chains in Australia in an attempt to educate the public to the fact that a “golden era” awaits them.

“All they would have to do is move from the present climate of stagnation — forced on them through bureaucratic economic dictatorship — to an age of minimum government,” he enthuses.

Also preying heavily on his mind is World War III, and he says to nip it in the bud Australia has to take decisive moves on behalf of humanity right now.

The obvious course of action was to internationalise the Iranian oilfields under a scheme whereby the oil-dependent nations such as France, West Germany and Japan, agreed to receive but not exceed a quota in exchange for their help with the internationalisation. Prompt action would guarantee success because of the disarray of the Iranian armed forces, which would not be more than 20 per cent efficient while under “rabble” control.

Mr Hancock isn’t a man to mince words. He wants to sell Australia and he plays an American-made tape recording to prove it. (Even if it is a comparison between the US and Russia, he gets the idea across.)

Basically, he says the US doesn’t have one “john” for seven families (as, we are apparently to assume, do the citizens of the Soviet Union); owns 90 per cent of the world’s bathtubs; has enough food; and its people are free to leave.

The tape tends to stir Mr Hancock to memories of Winston Churchill who once delcared socialism to be the “philosophy of failure”.

Just behind Churchill, in Mr Hancock’s good books is Professor Beckmann who insists it’s more dangerous to leave uranium in the ground than to mine it.

At the seminar, Professor Backmann blasted the Premier of Victoria, Mr Cain, as a “hypocrite” and an “ignoramus” for allowing nuclear wastes from hospitals but not from power plants in the State, when clinics actually produced more low-level nuclear waste than plants.

Mr Hancock’s other good mate and president of Hillsdale College, Mr George Roche, a tall, well-groomed man and the only one who gave Mr Peacock a run for his sartorial elegance, abused inflation and spoke of the negative impact of big government which “consumes wealth — it does not create it”.

But Mr Roche said there was hope for both the US and Australia. The latter had Mr Hancock and the US a new American Revolution which began in the autumn of 1980. Mr Hancock says the capitalists will win the “battle” before the year 2000. No question about it.

Andrew Peacock was looking lost. “I don’t really know why I’ve been asked here,” he confided.

Indeed, the mutual hospitality was rather unusual given their extreme political differences. Mr Hancock’s far-right, free-enterprise views are quite at odds with Mr Peacock’s small “l” Liberal posture.

But the MP did score some that’s-my-boy-grins from Mr Hancock when he said to leave Australia’s uranium in the ground was “irresponsible.”

Why it was only in February that Gina, Lang and Andrew toured the vast iron ore deposits at Pilbara in the north-west of Western Australia in a Hancock aircraft. There had been dinners too. But yes, he did have warm feelings for Lang and his family.

None, however, could be warmer than those of Sydney media personality, John Singleton, who wonders if Mr Hancock will have to die before Australia recognises him rather than deride him for so promptly breaking Australia’s 11th Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Succeed.”

But one has to admit Mr Hancock does manage to rub a few people the wrong way. Take his favourite recipe:

  • Take a communist trade union leader who is disrupting Australia and feed him through a chaff-cutter feet first.
  • Melt oil from the frozen body of an econut and add one pint.
  • Spice with added brains of publicity-seeking academics who sign anti-nuclear petitions for the sole purpose of having their names published.
  • Serve to all politicians at election time in the hope it helps them when making promises they cannot keep.

In a nutshell, it’s the Hancock recipe for success. As the man himself says, you can like it or lump it.

(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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