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Speech by Lang Hancock to the Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management in Canberra in 1978, then published in their journal Purchasing and Supply (June 1978), pp. 12-13.

Resource-wise, Australia is one of the richest nations on this earth. Why is it then that its economic performance is one of the poorest?

Singapore, with no resources except leadership, has a GNP factor five times that of Australia’s. Of the eight main European countries, according to Euromoney’s assessment, Italy is the only one with a worse performance than Australia’s.

The answer lies in Canberra with its “Big Government”.

“Big Government” or socialism is not so much a system for redistributing wealth (it is certainly not a system for creating wealth) — but a system for controlling people and competitors. Socialism simply puts power in the hands of the government.

There is nothing much wrong with planning. The question is who is doing it. Founders of the Liberal Party once believed that people should be free to plan their own lives. Our Federal Governments, Liberal and Labor, now believe they must plan your life for you. It is a simple choice: Will you run your own life, or will you be forced to obey the dictates of bureaucrats, do-gooders, pseudo-intellectuals, failed journalists, tariff lobbyists and communist unionists?

Dangers of the UN
Canberra, with its socialist yen for planning everybody’s life, offers full support to the United Nations, i.e. forum of the Third World. It acknowledges that the “United Nations is the world’s highest authority” for governmental control over people.

The viewpoint voiced by many members of the Third World and socialist (that is, communist) countries using the UN as a platform, calls for a redistribution of wealth, whilst piously proclaiming that modern development should emphasise an equitable distribution of the fruits of progress.

In their remarks through this hierarchy of people planners, they make three main points:

  1. First, they echo the communist line that the rich must give their wealth to the poor.
  2. Second, that voluntary family planning is inadequate and call for “Big Government” to start dictating whether or not a couple is permitted to have a baby.
  3. Third, in calling for “moderate levels of consumption” in advanced nations voluntarily reduce their standard of living.

Socialism vs. free enterprise
None of these UN lackeys dares suggest, of course, that the difference between American and Australian agricultural production and the poverty levels of the so-called “have-not” nations is the difference between individualism, with its reliance on private property and free enterprise, and socialist-collectivism. It is the difference between incentives and planned economy; between efficiency and wasteful handouts; between a million salesmen pushing the “too much” and a million ration clerks dividing up the “too little”.

This is not to say America’s agricultural system is perfect. To the extent that they have subsidies, paying men not to grow food, they have suffered. Nevertheless, the success of American agriculture under freedom is a model the rest of the world should be encouraged to copy. But if more nations achieved independence in food production, much of the impetus for world government would disappear faster than a freeloader when the cheque arrives.

Ample room for all
All this, despite the provable fact that there is ample room on earth for all of us. But we are being led to believe that unless we give “Big Government” total power over people’s rights to have children, we will all be ankle deep in human beings within a decade. This is not to discount the possibility that overpopulation, particularly in backward nations, cannot be a genuine problem. But, if the United Nations were truly interested in curbing population growth without enslaving everybody, there is a much better solution.

When a country’s standard of living goes up, the birth rate goes down — voluntarily. Assist nations such as India and Red China to benefit by the adoption of free market, private property principles, and the abundance produced by such newly free peoples would astound the world. The United Nations however, are interested in more socialist controls, not fewer problems.

Socialism in Australia
With such glaring examples before their eyes of the pitfalls that American governments and others have fallen into, it passes all comprehension as to how our Australian governments can follow this path leading to socialism.

Let’s now turn to WA in which lies the Pilbara, one of the last great frontiers of the world and probably the richest part of Australia. In the words of the Russians, who cast covetous eyes on the area, it is “the pearl of Australia”; the springboard of Australia’s only practical means of defence — the fountainhead of our commodity power.

It includes, probably, the richest mineral resource area of the world, and this, if left undeveloped, constitutes possibly our greatest danger.

Free enterprise mining boom
It is here that the mining boom of the 1960’s got under way because initially there was little government interference. For instance, in starting Hamersley Iron the schools, gaols, customs houses, post office, hospitals, towns, railways, rolling stock, mining equipment etc, were all provided by private risk capital amounting to some $230,000 for every man employed. The result of this private investment is that Australia has gone from a position of being a potential importer of iron ore to the world’s largest exporter, so much so that it now provides some 50% of the Japanese steel industry’s requirements.

The various government contributed nothing in cash or know-how, yet despite such bonanzas, they couldn’t keep their muddling fingers out.

Energy crisis
Another Australian government foible is the belief that the secondary processing of our minerals is beneficial to the nation. They completely overtook the enormous energy drain that such a misguided policy involves. If all the bauxite that is exported from Australia was secondary processed into metal, it would consume the total known reserves of oil in Australia within twelve to eighteen months. If the aim is to develop secondary processing so that the maximum degree of skill is employed within the nation’s shores and restrictions placed on the export of raw materials until this is achieved, then you would see our giant iron ore export industries brought to a standstill except for the amount that could be made into Swiss watches within our shores.

Australia today
Because of socialist inroads, this is the position as it stands in Australia today:

  • No security of tenure.
  • An inflated cost structure.
  • A top heavy degree of government control.
  • The complete domination of our market outlets and our economy by Japan.
  • No hope of Australian ownership or control.
  • A vital need of foreign risk capital.

The last five years have seen more shutdowns, cut-backs, losses and deferments in the mining industry than at any time since the 1930’s.

We’ve seen gold mining decimated with the closure of Great Boulder, Hill 50, Lake View, North Kalgurlie and Mount Charlotte; 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 I am writing this, it has been announced that the Windarra nickel mine will close. As well as these closures we have seen cutbacks at Cobar, Tennant Creek, Kambalda, Aberfoyle and in the beach sand industry. The Warrego Smelter and the Bellambi coke plant have closed.

The losses are mounting daily at Greenvale, Mount Morgan, Mount Lyell, Duchess, Goldsworthy, Mary Kathleen, Savage River and North West Acid. The deferments include coal mines at Norwich, Hall Creek and Nebo, the uranium mines, several iron ore, aluminium and beach sand projects, the Central Australian and North West Shelf gas projects, the Townsville zinc refinery and the Gladstone aluminium smelter.

Exploration activity has halved since 1970 and last year not one oil well was drilled in Queensland.

This list does not include any mine which closed because of exhaustion of mineralisation. In most cases, political action or inaction was a significant reason for premature closure.

Fifth mine essential
In order to get a fifth great mine established in the resource-rich Pilbara, or anywhere in Australia, the governments, State and Federal (Liberal and Labor) will have to change course 180 degrees. They will have to understand that Australia’s very existence — in fact the whole of civilisation’s existence — depends on mining. As I have said many times before, everything comes from the earth; you either mine it or grow it and you can’t even grow it in Australia until you first mine the fertiliser to make things grow.

The government will have to understand that “governments consume wealth — they don’t create it” and that the tax yield on nothing is nothing (for example, ore lying on the ground). Hence it would cost the Treasury nothing to give a 100% tax holiday to get a big mine or project started.

The governments (State and Federal) will also have to agree to let the mining industry operate on economic lines without costly government interference and that the mining industry does a minimum of power-consuming work in Australia.

(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. 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
  66. MILLIONAIRE PUTS MONEY BEHIND SECESSIONISTS
  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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