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Lang Hancock, “The Treasury needs a hatchet man,” The Courier-Mail, January 12, 1978, p. 4.

The outlook for ’78 has not been brightened by the coalition’s overwhelming majority at the last election.

Such a majority will encourage the Fraser Government to give us more of the same, the same being the fact that Mr. Fraser, like his predecessor Mr. Whitlam, has failed to get on top of the giant Canberra bureaucracy. They have failed to make Canberra understand that Australia’s very existence depends on mining.

Unless our mining industry prospers and expands, then we will see our Government borrowing thousands of millions of dollars and incurring heavy interest bills in the vain hope of supporting our currency instead of allowing industry to attract foreign investment for development, which could ultimately earn the required much needed foreign exchange.

What will happen when we run out of oil and we are faced with a staggering import bill?

The threat of a damaging highly irresponsible resources tax and the fear of more repudiations such as the Fraser Island horror have caused the Australian and overseas investing world to lose confidence in Australia. So much so that the Russian claim that “no uranium will leave Australia” is rapidly coming true.


The wholesale adoption of Labor’s policy (which is contrary to all Liberal principles) by our Government investing in uranium mining, management and the managing of sales of uranium is something horrific in the eyes of all genuine free enterprise people: especially as it means the establishment of new, and the enlargement of existing, Government departments.

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), which gives rein to Labor’s obsession against life-giving foreign capital, plus the Fraser Government’s other adoptions of Labor policy, such as Variable Ratio Deposits (VRD), unbridled expenditure on education and welfare, the failure to kill coal’s super tax and the Ranger Inquiry Day 1 of their administration, have left Mr. Fraser being stuck with a disastrous legacy from Labor and a series of unscientific and harmful Fox Reports.

Admittedly Mr. Fraser has made genuine efforts to cut down bureaucratic spending, but these have been aborted to some extent by benevolence to the States — this is inflationary.

As far as industry is concerned, the chief impediment has been the strangulation caused by bureaucratic interference and controls. This has been computed to cost USA business $50 billion a year. Australia must be proportionately worse.

We must all be aware that industry has been equally to blame by indulging in sweetheart deals to match the pace set by the civil service in initiating the wage spiral.

In short, if Australia, with its huge debt (which will assume astronomical proportion when the energy crisis hits) is to survive, we must reduce Canberra’s stagnating power and announce to the world that there will be no more Fraser Islands, no more VRDs, no more FIRBs and no resources tax.

Despite the fact that Mr Fraser said, just prior to the election, that about $6000 million worth of Australian natural resource projects were about to go, the real facts regrettably are that none of them can go unless there is a complete somersaulting of the policy of his Government and that of the predecessor because nothing can hide the fact that the mining industry, which is the basis of all civilisation, is in a state of crisis; a crisis which is largely made in Canberra.

We’ve seen gold mining cut back dramatically with the closure of Great Boulder, Hill 50, the Kalgoorlie Lake View’s Fimiston mines, and North Kalgurli base metal mines to close include Gunpowder, Kanmantoo, Carr-Boyd, Scotia, Mount Diamond, Mount Gunson and Mount Evelyn; mining for manganese and molybdenum has virtually ceased on the mainland of Australia; beach mining has ceased on Fraser Island and Jurien Bay.

As well as these closures we have seen cut-backs at Cobar, Tennant Creek, Kambalda, Aberfoyle and in the beach sand industry. The Warrego Smelter and the Bellambi coke plant have closed.


This dreadful state of affairs is due almost entirely to the misunderstanding and the mismanagement of Australia’s affairs in Canberra. In other words, too much government.

Let’s take copper as an example, knowing that the same principle applies to all export income — mining, agriculture and manufacturing.

In March 1970 the price of copper was 700 pounds Sterling per ton; in other words $1505.

Seven years later in July 1977 the price was against equivalent to $1505.

But the effective return to the Australian producers had falled from $1505 to $1075 through re-valutation, to which must be added inflation, bringing his 1977 return to $495.

And yet our government wonder why beef and wool are in trouble, why copper mines are closing down and why our iron ore is uncompetitive and unprofitable.

A good example of too much government can be taken from California’s experience where Dow Chemical abandoned its attempts to obtain approval to build a new petrochemical plant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dow spent $4 million over two-and-a-half years and was able to obtain only four of the 65 permits from the municipal, state and federal agencies.

In transferring this to the Australian scene, it is quite likely that the 22 projects listing by Mr. Viner involving a capital investment of $6875 million will not get off the ground because of the same type of frustrations.

Rather than blame their leader for the debacle of the last election, the ALP Caucus could well be advised to take heed of the real causes of their Party’s failure. For instance:

  • The public wants to experience lower taxes and is therefore frightened of a repeat of Labor’s profligate spending on education and welfare, etc, necessitating an enormous growth in order to finance.
  • It is useless quoting inflation statistics to the wage earner. The housewife wants to experience a rapid slackening of the inflationary spiral where it affects her; namely, in the supermarket every week.
  • The public is heartily sick of strikes, not so much because of what they do to the country, but because of the inconvenience and cost to themselves. They want to see elected a government which promises to curb the militant unions.
  • Unemployment is not a vote-catcher as far as the ALP voter is concerned. Those in a job could not care less; those out of a job (mostly unemployable) vote Labor anyway, so there is no added mileage in constantly voicing the unemployment theme.
  • Uranium is not a vote-catcher. In fact, nobody has done more harm to the Labor cause that the Uren-Cairns faction in saying that they will abrogate any agreement for the sale of uranium and other minerals written during the course of the Fraser Government, and further, to say that if elected in 1980 they will actually stop existing mines is suicidal.

The way to check inflation is not by quoting statistics which nobody but academics believe, but by halting it for the housewife and hence the wage earner where it hits hardest; namely, in the supermarket where it could be stopped in its tracks by introducing a negative sales tax on all items affecting the cost of living exactly equivalent to the amount of inflation.

To hold wages static, give a tax credit as a substitute for a wage rise.

To hold prices static, give a tax credit in lieu of a price wise to the producer.

Where does the money come from? Well! here is a chance for the big kill against inflation.

Install a hatchet man as the permanent head of Treasury with strict instructions from the Cabinet to cut down every government department, State and Federal, right across the board equally by say, 10 or 15 per cent or some such percentage as will balance the budget by the end of government’s three-year term in office.

By doing this you will have hit the main cause of inflation at its source; namely, government squandering of the taxpayer’s funds.

The Liberal CP coalition has fooled most of the public most of the time that they represent “Free Enterprise” whereas the ALP has been tainted with the socialist and militant union brush.

In review, one can only conclude that it may have been in the best interests of Australia if Mr Fraser had been returned to government with a majority of one only, and that one a West Australian member to exert the balance of power, because it should never be overlooked that this last election marks the fourth occasion on which governments have been elected to Canberra before a single vote was ever counted from W.A., a State which alone could correct Australia’s balance of payments if removed from Canberra strangulation.

(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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