Lang Hancock, “‘Hark to madmen’ call by Lang,”
The Australian, January 10, 1983, p. 6, as a letter to the editor.
SIR — We have become a nation of fearful people whose energy is drained by taxes and tariffs, whose enterprise is forever tangled in rules and regulations and whose character is being sapped by the belief that there is no way out of the depression for Australia. Admittedly neither the present Government nor the Labor Party have advanced any practical formula for recovery, nor will they be able to do so while they look to orthodox methods.
I believe the answer lies in the opposite direction and what is more I believe that I have the answers. Before you dismiss this statement as being the ravings of a madman please remember that history shows that most great discoveries, mineral and technological, were made not by trusted and diligent officials but by “madmen, hermits, mavericks, dreamers, rebels and sceptics.”
All new ideas are first held by a minority, often a minority of one. And the greater the potential impact of the new idea the more difficult will be its acceptance by the ignorant, who fear change, and the experts in that field, who resist it. Such committees of the expert and the ignorant rejected the telescope, electricity, pasteurisation, antiseptics, the incandescent lamp, the telephone and radar. Today they sit in judgment on the computer, telecommunications, genetic engineering and future energy systems.
There is no evidence that super-specialisation is conducive to significant discoveries. The inventor of the dial telephone was an undertaker; that of the ballpoint pen a sculptor; and one of Australia’s most prolific engineering inventors, Richard Ifield, had no formal engineering qualifications.
SIR — If the recent election has proved nothing else, it should have demonstrated once again the axiom that politicians can fool most of the people most of the time.
Elections do nothing to change governments in Canberra — they only change the politicians.
The four real arms of unchanging government are:
(a) The enormous central bureaucracy forever expanding according to Parkinson’s law.
(b) The semi-permanent heads of some of the more disruptive trade unions.
(c) The firms with high pressure lobbyists, enabling them to keep their hands constantly in the till, obtaining subsidies, quotas, monopolies and tariff protections for industries declining in efficiency.
(d) The media which does the thinking for the unthinking majority.
If you consider the above you will see that the control of these four main arms of government does not vary with elections irrespective of which party is in power or who become Prime Minister.
For instance, the four press barons, like departmental heads, do not change with each succeeding government — neither does the utter futility of the elected representatives of the people because politicians don’t act, they only react to public opinion as formed by the media.
The media in all its forms was particularly influential in selling Fraser a pup in going to the polls early.
In short, an Australian election is nothing more than one of the greatest con games in history, which is being made even more farcical as television exerts its ever-increasing power over the public mind.
This was forcibly illustrated in the last election when charisma on the idiot box, rather than policies, decided who should fill the plum jobs and ride around in Commonwealth cars.
Seeing that the power of Parliament has been usurped by the four farms of government that I have mentioned, the only remaining function left to the politicians by which they could serve the nation would be to reject every piece of legislation put before them and revoke the thousands of unnecessary laws that have got this great country bogged down by legislation which interferes and restricts every conceivable area of industry.
After all, there is quite some truth in the statement that ever since Moses carved some fundamental laws in stone, all subsequent legislation merely adds power and benefit to the already over-powerful bureaucracy.
In the face of the above, only the knaves who created the Hawke myth and the naive who believe it will fail to admit that neither Mr Hawke nor the mob that he is assembling for the grand corroboree can do anything about getting Australia out of the mess which the permanent real government has got us into.
At all corroborees there are some who suffer the agonies of initiation ceremonies — unfortunately, in the case of the summit corroboree, the victim to be circumcised might well be Australia.
Lang Hancock, “The powerhouse West is going to waste,”
The Australian, June 16, 1983, p. 8, as a letter to the editor.
SIR — When reviewing his first 100 days, the Premier of Western Australia, Mr Burke, said the major difficulty was the overwhelming number of reasons that were advanced for not — repeat not — proceeding with any proposal.
This confirms what I have been trying to emphasise for years
I think the Premier’s short answer to the knockers should be:
“If you don’t like the proposition, propound a better one. If you can’t, then shut up and let’s get something moving.”
I think I should re-emphasise that because of the previous government’s indecision, bungling and fear of the knockers, WA has already lost the following iron ore contracts:
1. 10 million tonnes per year (MTPY) to Brazil;
2. 3.5 MTPY to LKAB (Sweden) from Krakatau;
3. 3 MTPY to Taiwan (first expansion).
Unless both State and Federal Governments get their perspectives right, WA now stands to lose:
(a) 25 MTPY to Italy or part thereof;
(b) 9 MTPY rising to 30 MTPY for China (their figures not mine);
(c) 2 MTPY rising to 9 MTPY to Middle East, which I think India or Brazil will get if we do not move quickly.
(d) 3-4 MTPY for Sabah, Malaysia. Thailand which Brazil is at the moment favoured to supply unless there is a quick positive 180-degree change from the past WA government thinking.
I hate to see opportunities like the above wasted and I would not like to see Brian Burke pass up the chance to steer WA to a giant leap forward.
Never in my life has a Premier been given such a chance to act as a statesman rather than as an ordinary run-of-the-mill politician hiding behind the bureaucracies skirts.
As well as sitting on a resource bigger in value than the Saudi oil, namely the underdeveloped Hamersley ironfield, he has probably the best untouched source of tourist revenue in Australia lying idle at Wittenoom.
In addition, there is a change to become the mineral powerhouse to the Western world if Russian infiltration of Africa is successful in cutting off the world’s life-sustaining mineral flow from the Dark Continent.
Because the WA Liberal Party has forgotten its philosophy and is without a dynamic leader in either the political or lay wings, and because its coalition partner has disintegrated, the Burke Government can expect a minimum of 12 years of unbroken rule.
In view of the above circumstances and in view of Burke’s latent potential, the present Government can ignore everything except that which is best for Western Australia.
It can ignore the knockers, the public, the media, the lobbyists, the minority groups.
It can row against the tide with complete confidence, because the majority is nearly always wrong.
A Premier is meant to think and rule, not be an overloaded mule. The fact that he works 16 hours a day instead of eight is an admission that most of his time is wasted in trivia which should never reach his desk.
This failure to sort out priorities applies equally to his ministers. They are far too busy dealing with tin-pot matters to concentrate on constructive items of a major nature. Admittedly, in normal circumstances it is concentrating on parish-pump trivia that wins elections, but being re-elected is the last thing Burke has to worry about.
The problem stems from two main causes:
(1) The Government is involved in far too many activities which shouldn’t be part of the taxpayers’ burden.
(2) There are not hundreds but thousands of unnecessary laws and regulations which tie up the Government in futile exercises, while at the same time strangling industry so that there are no jobs around.
Mr Burke would do WA a great service if he would unwind most of these laws; laws that defeat the very purpose for which they were designed.
Lang Hancock, “Hancock’s step by step to an energy crisis,”
The Australian, July 4, 1983, p. 8, as a letter to the editor.
SIR — The tragedy of the Australian Government’s interference in the Tasmanian dam is a typical illustration of how governments go about causing an energy crisis. Here are some other horrors favoured by governments which could add to Australia’s general paralysis:
Make frequent changes to the tax laws, especially retrospective changes. Harass foreign investors and inhibit the promotion of new exploration companies. For the renegotiation of mining agreements after exploration has been successful. Impose super-profits tax on successful explorers. Delay offshore exploration for several years while royal commissions consider the safety of offshore drilling. Make secret arbitrary decisions wherever possible. Maintain confusion as to mineral rights in Aboriginal areas.
Then supply a stifling network of taxes, rules and regulations covering every aspect of production and trade in energy products.
These can usually be justified if they can be related even vaguely to “safety,” “health,” “national security,” or “concern for the environment.” In which case they can insist on numerous inquiries which fail to reach a conclusion.
Prohibit the use of high sulphur fuels without considering the costs and benefits. Limit open-cut mining for cosmetic reasons, even though it is the safest and most efficient method of extraction. Impose costly controls on underground mining that force the closure of many high-cost mines. Increase mining royalties and impost export levies. Impose windfall taxes on oil producers to discourage secondary recovery and reduce the life of marginal fields.
These moves will guarantee the sterilisation of reserves that can no longer be economically extracted.
If they want to encourage wasteful use of energy resources, this can best be done by fixing the domestic price of oil, gas or coal below the world price. This will accelerate the use of domestic fuels and discourage exploration and development. It will also reduce the amount that can be profitably extracted from existing deposits.
Unjustified tax concessions, power rationalisation schemes, export controls and petrol price equalisation schemes can also be used to encourage waste of fuel.
This will guarantee a rapid depletion of existing reserves.
In order to ensure a shortfall in the production of energy fuels and in the generation of electricity, delay the construction of new refineries and processing plants with environment inquiries, royal commissions and federal-State red tape.
Prohibit the import of foreign fuels. Criticise and threaten large, highly efficient producers. Prohibit the mining and procession of uranium. Delay the construction of nuclear power plants for years by making licence requirements uncertain or by outright prohibition. Allow unreasonable union demands to delay and defer the construction of conventional power stations.
The final step on the road to energy chaos requires the appointment of several committees of bureaucrats and academics to investigate the cause of the energy crisis. After three years of hearings and 100,000 pages of transcript, these committees will conclude that the energy crisis was caused by grasping energy companies and selfish consumers.
To avoid a lot of the above chaos, the Government could introduce a 10-year moratorium on new laws and regulations. They could also find useful jobs for those armies of intelligent highly educated experts who are now using taxpayers’ funds to produce solutions for which they are as yet no problems.
Lang Hancock, “It’s the Constipated Country,”
The Weekend Australian, October 29-30, p. 10, as a letter to the editor.
SIR — A prominent weekly paper took a whole page to ask the question: Why will Australia lose a $1.5 billion a year industry? I can answer the question in one line: “Because Australia is constipated with rules, regulations and laws.”
This strangulation of the economy is achieved by the three levels of government which make it impossible to start any iron mine or new business which would normally create jobs, earn foreign exchange and enrich the treasuries, as well as the population generally.
The world consumes 1.1 billion tonnes of iron ore a year, every year. The world’s iron mining business amounts to about $33 billion a year, every year.
The Japanese iron business is worth only about one-tenth of that amount and yet because of government policies, both State and federal. Japan has been given a virtual monopoly of the Pilbara iron field.
The West Australian Government’s big boo-boo started 20 years ago when it turned down the Ludwig proposal aimed at encompassing the whole world market (not just Japan).
Each succeeding government has endorsed the error by forbidding the building of a completely downhill railway leading to a jumbo port to service 250,000-400,000 tonne ships on a year-round basis — not just for three or four days of the year.
Because of restrictive government attitudes and needless strikes — mostly demarcation — Japan is safeguarding its future by cutting its intake from Australia by 2 per cent a year and building up Brazil with order which would normally have come to Australia at approximately 9 per cent a year.
Instead of being limited to Japan’s market only (because existing ports have been designed to cater for the short haul to Japan), Australia could, if freed of government strangulation, capture the bulk of the world’s much bigger consumption which is 10 times that of the Japanese market.
Seeing that most of the Pilbara is lying stagnant and undeveloped, the Treasury should remember that the tax on nothing is nothing and implement my scheme of an income-tax-free north with a re-investment clause of 40 per cent applicable to capital only.
Workers would be exempt from having to re-invest, which means that they would get the benefit of this in their first pay envelopes.
Under such circumstances the militant union leaders would find it hard to persuade men to go on strike and leave such a bonanza.
In short, we have passed up the right to the title of The Lucky Country and should now be more fittingly described as the Constipated Country.
Lang Hancock, “Too many laws incur Hancock’s wrath,”
The Australian, December 16, 1983, p. 8, as a letter to the editor.
It is a welcome sound to hear something practical coming out of the Liberal Party at long last; I refer to Andrew Peacock’s statement, in Perth, that we have too many laws and too much government.
Seeing the Leader of the Opposition has backed his statement with statistics, there is no need for me to repeat them.
Since the Menzies Government nationalised the banks under the guise of not doing so, the Reserve Bank has had sufficient power to break every or any union in Australia that defies the law — just as it can, if it so wishes, break any citizen who obeys the law — having regards to the governments’ (both sides) hunger for retrospectivity; so why pass more laws? They haven’t lessened strike incidence.
Seeing that the power of Parliament has been usurped by unions, the bureaucracy, media and lobbyists, electing members and incurring the cost that goes with the maintenance of Parliament is a burden which this country should not bear; that is, unless we can find some useful purpose for Parliament.
To this end, members could serve a constructive purpose if they would gradually repeal all the laws that have been passed, since World War II.
If anybody doubts the wisdom of this, I suggest they try to remember any law that has been passed in recent times which achieved what it set out to do and which the country would not be better off without.
This must be done without the costly business of debate and selection; it must be done on the broad principle of the last to come, the first to go.
I am sure that upon close examination people will find the purpose and end result of formulating and passing this unending stream of legislation is to create and expand government departments; if the laws were repealed, a host of needless government departments that has sprung up over the years would pass into oblivion, without Cabinet’s having to pluck up sufficient courage (which it will never do, irrespective of which party is in power) to wipe out unnecessary departments.
Until Members of Parliament examine their consciences and relieve our constipated country of unnecessary restrictions, it is utterly futile to talk about finding jobs for young people or reducing the unemployment statistics, because under the mountain of rules, laws and regulations that stems from the three levels of governments working overtime to promulgate them, there is no way anybody can start a major business — from which all worthwhile jobs stem.
To start a major mine now takes 30 different approvals.
- 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
- 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