Bedrock realities


From Lang Hancock‘s book, Wake Up Australia, 1979 on “how we can change the situation so as to limit the power of government”:

“It could be broken by obtaining control of the media and then educating the public,” he wrote.

There were several ideas on how to gain control of the press. One was for Australian retailers to refuse “to give advertisements to any paper which did not support a change in the constitution to reduce government to an absolute minimum”.

“Control of the press could also be obtained by several of the big mining groups banding together with a view to taking over one or more of the present giant newspaper chains which control the TV and radio channels, and converting them to the path of ‘free enterprise’,” he said.

It’d be a tough gig to persuade Australians to accept a major rollback of current taxation regimes on miners, given that those taxes underpin Australians’ current lifestyle and given that the mining industry is such a poor multiplier of domestic economic activity, except by means of tax revenues.

The Libs know this too. They are tasked with the problem of extracting sufficient taxes from the mining sector without looking too much like the ALP. As Howard demonstrated, when it was necessary to win elections, the Libs could tax and spend higher and faster than the ALP.

But if Gina Rinehart thinks she can change Australian minds via the pages of the Fairfax press, I’d be fascinated to watch how she approaches this task.

At the same time, [Lang Hancock] expected [Gina Rinehart] to be a decorative addition to business meetings. “He used to pick at her about her dress and her style and her behaviour,” remembers an old family friend. “He used to keep picking at her if she put on weight. He’d say, ‘Where’s my pretty girl?’ ” Much later, when father and daughter fell out over his marriage to Rose, Hancock taunted Rinehart about the kilos she had gained. In a vitriolic letter that surfaced during one of the court cases after his death, he said he wanted to remember her as the “neat, trim, capable and attractive young lady” she had been rather than “the slothful, vindictive and devious baby elephant that you have become”.

This is evidence of a troubling relationship between father and daughter. Evidently, Rinehart’s obesity coloured her relationship with her father, who ascribed her behaviour to her overweight condition. This presumption may or may not be correct. Nevertheless, the fact that Hancock uttered these words invites the world to contemplate the extent to which Rinehart’s being confronted by her father by this criticism of her obesity motivated her vindictiveness or her vindictiveness motivated her obesity.

Normally, these matters are of no public concern. However, Rinehart is one of the world’s richest persons. Her combative and confrontational behaviour and ideas merit explanation. On the face of it Lang Hancock chose the terrain of Rinehart’s body shape for his struggle to impose his power over her.



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