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.
- 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