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Lang Hancock, “Minerals — politicians’ playthings?,” Investors Chronicle and Stock Exchange Gazette (London), October 1973, p. 44.

The past few weeks have not been without incident in Australia. We have had a worthwhile 25 per cent tariff cut; a further revaluation of our currency; the green light from both State and Commonwealth Government for establishing a new iron ore mine at Wittenoom in Western Australia. There has been a new chapter in the Minsec affair, with a speculative takeover bid for the Australian-owned portion of iron mining’s lame duck, Robe River, the worst Stock Market collapse for 12 years and a dwindling of our foreign exchange. Further onslaughts on the mining industry by the Commonwealth Government could result in the virtual demise of the gold mining industry.

Fourteen years ago mining was a dead duck politically, after having been the mainstay of Australia in the depression. Then came the giant discoveries of bauxite, iron ore and nickel. Now minerals are the playthings of Australian politicians.

Federal advisers now pick on minerals as the butt of their fiscal policies, identifying them as the primary cause of the surplus overseas balances that are in turn being blamed for Australian overspending and inflation. These federal advisers have made the unorganised mining industry their favourite whipping-boy. As a result of their activities, the special tax incentives that prospecting and mining first began receiving in 1915 have been swept away. The essentially high risk nature of prospecting and mining, which was the raison d’etre for these tax concessions, is no longer recognised. Many important discoveries have been made and continue to be made by independent prospectors.

Australian mining history is spiced with the names of Paddy Hannan, discoverer of Kalgoorlie; Campbell Miles of Mount Isa, Charlie Rasp of Broken Hill and many other historic names. In more recent times the Kambalda, Scotia and Windarra nickel deposits were found by Australian prospectors and subsequently sold to Australian companies.

One needs to ask if the Labor Government’s attack on the gold mining industry is intentional or merely short-sighted? Electorally, such a move cannot harm the Labor Party. Perhaps it is just an integral part of Canberra’s policies, which have already involved the Reserve bank’s 25 per cent retention of capital without interest; repeated revaluation’s; non-renewal of exploration licences; the freeze on farm-ins; the threat to use export licences to curtail mining; removal of partial exemption from income tax for certain minerals and, in particular, the removal of the exemption from income tax applicable to gold; and the removal of the 20 per cent investment allowance, thus increasing mineral processing costs and necessitating higher grades to make deposits viable.

These onslaughts on mining cannot hurt Mr. Whitlam politically, at any rate in the short term, because the State most affected by them is Western Australia, which did not vote for him at the last election anyhow.

To understand his Government’s policy one needs to compare him, as his closest journalistic admirers do, with that great “survival man”, Sir Robert Menzies.

The Menzies image was more glittering overseas than at home, and it appeals to Whitlam to outshine Menzies on the world stage. He certainly played brilliant politics by focussing worldwide on himself in protesting against the French nuclear test at Muraoa. At home inflation is causing over-full employment. Some hopes of saner practices was generated by the sensible decision to slash all tariffs by 25 per cent.

What is needed for industry, as well as the domestic consumer, is an across-the-board cut in all government department spending. The present state of affairs cannot go on indefinitely. But where will the remedy lie? Will Whitlam finally tame his left wing plus the trade unions, and repair the damage to Australia’s basic industries? Or will the Liberal Party finally get themselves a leader that the public will follow and oust the Whitlam government?

Or will the leader of the opposition in the Upper House (where Labor is without a majority), organise his party to throw out legislation, such as that proposing to give added socialist powers to the AIDC, central control of offshore minerals and the formation of numerous unwarranted Government departments?

Or failing any of the above, will Western Australia find a leader capable of achieving secession from the rest of 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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