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J.F. Moyes, Hancock and Wright (self-published, 1973), pp. 34-36, ch. 5.
With thanks to Gina Rinehart of ANDEV.
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Traditionally Western Australians buy only two newspapers — the only two available to them. The West Australian in the morning and the Daily News on the way home.

But there are people — and their number is growing — who realise that more than the Nullarbor Plain separates the West from the East. There’s also a communications gap which results, largely, from the West Australian Newspapers’ comfortable monopoly.

Neither The Australian nor the Australian Financial Review arrives in time to compete with the West — they’re not on sale until around lunchtime. But their readership is growing as more and more people become increasingly aware that the West tells them only what it feels they should know.

Take the Minsec business, for instance.

The West Australian, on January 25, 1972 reported a Press conference given by the official liquidator of Minsec, Mr J.H. Jamison. The West reported:

He (Jamison) asked unsecured creditors to be patient till Robe River’s new iron reserve totals were disclosed — which he expected within three months …

“When the ore reserve position is settled a sale may be possible at a price in excess of $1.15 a share.”

Readers of the West could be excused if they read this to mean that Robe River was re-assessing its reserves. Only if they read The Australian or the Australian Financial Review would they know that Robe River was going to get ADDITIONAL reserves.

The Australian reported:

Mr Jamison is pinning his hopes on getting $1.15 for the Robe share, and he bases this figure on the expectation the Robe River venture will be awarded new iron ore reserves within the next few months.

The Australian Financial Review reported:

Mr Jamison told reporters he would ask creditors to be patient until the company got the new reserves.

“I expect to hear about these reserves within three months,” he said.

“This is not based on just a thought of mine, but on information gleaned from proper sources — naturally one cannot anticipate a Cabinet Minister’s decision.”

Maybe this was just another instance of bad reporting by the West Australian. But people who watch these things say that the West is often guilty of indifferent reporting — or whatever it is. And maybe there is no connection with the fact that Hancock and Wright own a Sunday newspaper and could, by using their iron royalties, perhaps compete in the daily newspaper field.

Take another example. On December 3, 1971, the West carried a banner headline on its front page, “Court: Hanwright used mafia tactics.”

The story of Court’s attack on Hancock and Wright occupied 28 inches on the front page and continued with 27 inches on page 10. A total of 55 inches.

A week later the Premier (Mr Tonkin) said in the Legislative Assembly, “there was no known evidence in any Government department of mafia-like tactics having been used against the former Premier or any Ministers in the former Government.”

Tonkin’s statement appeared on page 13 and it occupied only six inches.

And apparently the West didn’t believe Mr Tonkin. A few days later, in a leading article, it said: “The State Government has evaded its responsibilities in deciding against appointing a royal commission to investigate allegations that the mining partners Lang Hancock and Peter Wright had used standover tactics and intimidation in their dealings with the previous Government.”

In the article the West did admit that:

It is surprising that the Leader of the Opposition, Sir David Brand, and some of his former Ministers were opposed to a royal commission …

It is astonishing that the Brand Government did not have the whole matter thoroughly investigated when it was in office.

Its failure to do so is no reason why the Tonkin Government should sweep the matter under the carpet. It should think again. On one hand the rights and responsibilities of Government are involved; on the other, the reputation of two internationally known men …

One wonders, if the West was so concerned about the “reputation of two internationally known men”, why Mr Tonkin’s denial of their mafia-like tactics didn’t receive the same prominence in the West as Mr Court’s original and unsupported allegation.

One wonders, too, why other statements in the Legislative Assembly failed to find room in the West. Here, for the record, are a few, taken from Hansard:

Mr Grayden (Lib. South Perth): Has the Minister (Mines Minister May) experienced mafia-like tactics from Hancock and Wright?

Mr May: Definitely not.

Mr Young (Lib. Wembley): I am not making this speech on behalf of the Leader of the Oppositon. My own belief is that the inquiry should be made on all facets.

Mr Graham (Deputy Premier): Including whether the Deputy Leader of the Opposition threatened overseas firms that if they held talks with Hancock and Wright they would be investigated too?

Mr Young (Lib. Wembley): The last Government did everything possible to get Hancock and Wright to the table.

Mr Graham (Deputy Premier): Are you sure of that. For months the Minister (Court) could not even talk to them.

None of this appeared in the West.

An article in Nation in 1969 explained:

W.A. Newspapers has always been sceptical and uninterested in the colossal growth in the State’s North-west. This stems from an official news attitude within the organisation that has been expressed as: “What the average housewife in Perth doesn’t understand, we don’t print.”

In 1969 Hancock and Wright began publication of the Independent, a Sunday newspaper. A major reason for the partners moving into the publishing business was one which Nation included in its May 1969 article:

The trigger that set off the Hanwright train of thought of establishing a newspaper was remote from the world of printer’s ink. Mr Hancock, a station owner near the present Mount Tom Price operations, was once the operations manager for Australian Blue Asbestos, Colonial Sugar Refining’s operating company at the Wittenoom Gorge asbestos mine. When CSR closed the mine as uneconomic in 1966, Hanwright bought the mine, the town and the equipment for an undisclosed price, believed to be around $1,600,000 and announced plans to reopen the mine for iron.

Hanwright proposed to build a railway, port facilities and beneficiation plant. A journalist, Lloyd Marshall, working for W.A. Newspapers’ evening daily, the Daily News reported and commented on this signficant development.

Mr Marshall was summoned to the office of W.A. Newspapers’ chairman of directors, Mr S.J.F. Hocking, to be told that there was no iron at Wittenoom. Mr Marshall came from an old-established Western Australian literary family, he had done extensive work on developments in the north-west, and many of his view coincided with those of Mr Hancock.

Mr Hocking, who also runs the Kalgoorlie Miner in the Goldfields, is said to have had what he believed to be reliable information from a geologist that the iron potential of Wittenoom was nil.

Mr Marshall told Mr Hancock of his employers’ views, and this was apparently the straw which broke Mr Hancock’s toleration.

Later, when Mr Marshall announced his resignation, he was given an hour to clear his desk and told never to be seen in the building again.

Hanwright’s Independent is, as yet, no threat to Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times and, of course, it does not yet compete with the Melbourne Herald-owned West Australian or Daily News.

But Hanwright have said that the Independent will, one day, become a daily. This prospect of competition does not enhance the Hanwright partners’ popularity with the newspaper Establishment. But it has given them a voice, even though it’s cost about $2 million to date to do so.

(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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