This essay proves that Gina Rinehart is overly-generous, too tolerant and hyper-conciliatory, the opposite of the popular misperception of her as arrogant, brutish, controlling, difficult, radical, stubborn, tactless and uncompromising. In addition to the arguments in this essay, there’s also the argument of it: rather than commissioning such a project and going on the offensive, she self-effacingly turns the other cheek to her critics, such is her magnanimity.
I hope the weaponry in this essay will give people the confidence to stick up for Gina Rinehart and attack her critics. It is often rumoured that people refuse to talk about her because they are scared to criticise her, but the commentariat’s actions say otherwise. The only thing anyone appears to be afraid of is praising her!
This is understandable. She has never expressed any interest in forcing people to fund or subsidise her projects. She only wants control over her own property. So because her critics do not feel at risk of reprisals, they feel free to continue greedily, selfishly and cowardly calling for her rights and property to be confiscated. Another reason she faces swarms of critics is that she has never offered them a handout for doing nothing but vote for her.
Gina Rinehart is up against vested interests who have far more resources than she has. She is punching way above her weight. These big vested interests threaten and use force to get their way, rather than attract capital through voluntary means. They grow in power every year. Who are they? They are, in the words of Viv Forbes and Lang Hancock, “the taxation industry — the largest extractive industry in the world.” If the taxation industry thinks it is useful and justified, then it should rely on voluntary mutually consensual payments and investments, rather than its current protection racket model.
When criticised about wishing to employ foreigners, Gina Rinehart tries to appease her critics by saying: that she wants to employ many more times as many Australians (despite the unwillingness of many Australians to work in remote locations) and that she’ll spend $26 million training them. This is a very soft and caring response to the egos of her critics, making them feel that their argument has some merit. The reality is that those who criticise the employment of foreigners have not given the matter the slightest thought. Here are some knockout punches that Gina Rinehart could have used if she wanted to stand her ground and be stubborn and uncompromising, rather than diplomatic and forgiving:
- You are ignorant of where your own arguments lead. Why not argue that only workers born and bred in the Pilbara be allowed to work there? And why not say that all food available in the Pilbara must also be produced in the Pilbara?
- You are ignorant of geography. It is ridiculous that Sydneysiders complain about the employment of foreigners in W.A. when the capital of Indonesia (Jakarta) is closer to Perth than the capital of Australia (Canberra), and Sydney is further still. Sydney is closer to the capitals of New Zealand (Wellington), Fiji (Suva), Vanuatu (Port Vila), Solomon Islands (Honiara) and Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby), than to Perth.
- You are ignorant of customer interests. The more efficiently and cheaply that mines operate, the more affordable will be the resources mined and the more capital there will be to invest in more mines and other projects that increase the standard of living for everyone, making luxuries like cars and computers the necessities of tomorrow that everyone can afford.
- You are ignorant of price signals. If you can’t compete with the quality that foreign labour provides for the price they charge, then you should take the lesson and repeal Australia’s labour laws and try to greatly improve the efficiency of Australian workers. Or, find work elsewhere with someone you don’t need to force to employ you, you self-important big-noting populist ignoramus. You haven’t even given the matter the few minutes required to watch this short fun video on the minimum wage. And if you think that employers must be forced to pay more to their employees than their employees consensually agree to work for, then equally all readers of this essay should pay me, as I agree to make this essay available to you for free, and given the low price of “free”, it must mean that you should be forced to pay me more. After all, there are far more of you than there is of me, so I am at a great disadvantage in my negotiations with you.
- You are ignorant of who is risking their capital in these projects. Foreign investors are risking their capital in the Hancock Prospecting projects that Australian investors neglected, and now the same Australians who did not invest in the project are hypocritically complaining that they will not be employed there!
- You are ignorant of property rights. It is the right of Gina Rinehart to enter into mutually consensual employment contracts with anyone. By wanting to use force to stop her you are inciting crime.
And the issue of foreign labour fits nicely into a call for secession; that way Sydneysiders could try to get those jobs. But here again we see the ever-accommodating and placating Gina Rinehart showcasing her diplomatic prowess.
Rather than calling for secession (as she did when she was younger), Gina Rinehart is calling for the Pilbara (and the rest of Northern Australia) to be made a Special Economic Zone. Here again her modesty shines through, for the following five reasons.
- Even if the Special Economic Zone is exactly synonymous with secession, it is not secession down to the individual level, which would be the principled uncompromising position.
- And even if it is secession down to the individual level that she is promoting, she wants it to be legislated for by the Canberra Kremlin, as though the authority of Canberra is of some legitimacy. In short, Gina Rinehart is not proposing any civil disobedience, unlike such significant Australian political and business leaders as Hugh Morgan, Neville Kennard, Bert Kelly, John Singleton and Ron Manners.
- Lang Hancock and Gina Rinehart have only ever asked for a 20 year income tax holiday, when a better compromise from her point of view, and a more proportional one, would be 70 years, because that is how long the federal income tax has already been around. And it is not proportional that her ideas should have sunset clauses, when the government, even when they do something only for wartime, emergency or temporary measures (like, say, the federal income tax!), see fit to continue it permanently.
- She is only asking for part of Australia to receive less government interference, even though she knows that her arguments are equally applicable to all of Australia. Wherever government interference decreases, productivity increases.
- She is asking for less than what she and millions of other Australians have already achieved far more radically when it comes to marriage. Why is it that people are allowed to divorce themselves from their marriages, which actually involves saying in front of witnesses “till death do us part”, but are not allowed to divorce themselves from the political bonds that there was never any evidence they consented to?
Speaking of which, she is too modest and humble to hijack the feminist movements to attract sympathisers in her push for less government interference and secession. In addition to her support for the right of marital and political divorce, there’s a far broader tradition to tap into of women separating themselves from politics. For example, William Faulkner’s Boyard Sartoris said:
Father’s troop and all the other men in Jefferson, and Aunt Louisa and Mrs Habersham and all the women in Jefferson were actually enemies for the reason that the men had given in and admitted that they belonged to the [so-called] United States but the women had never surrendered.1
A young Southerner could plausibly believe this at the end of the American Civil War. Today there would be nothing more ridiculous. Women have surrendered, as G.K. Chesterton observed:
By the beginning of the twentieth century … the woman has in public surrendered to the man. She has seriously and officially owned that the man has been right all along; that the public house (or Parliament) is really more important than the private house; that politics are not (as woman had always maintained) an excuse for pots of beer, but are a sacred solemnity to which new female worshippers may kneel; that the talkative patriots in the tavern are not only admirable but enviable; that talk is not a waste of time, and therefore (as a consequence, surely) that taverns are not a waste of money. All we men had grown used to our wives and mothers, and grandmothers, and great aunts all pouring a chorus of contempt upon our hobbies of sport, drink and party politics. And now comes [these so-called feminists] with tears in [their] eyes, owning that all the women were wrong and all the men were right … If we ask these ladies ourselves what a vote is, we shall get a very vague reply. It is the only question, as a rule, for which they are not prepared. For the truth is that they go mainly by precedent; by the mere fact that men have votes already.2
This talk of secession and unthinking acceptance of political concepts like voting — what next, elections with Facebook “Likes”? — leads naturally to our next heading.
The Constitution of No Authority
Gina Rinehart’s diplomatic and moderate views are nowhere better on show than in her public attitude to the Constitution. She does not point out that the Australian Constitution is null and void as a contract and of no authority whatsoever by arguing:
- That no one signed it to say they are bound by it, as is expected by law in far more minor legal relationships! Nor has anyone even claimed to have shaken hands on it!
- That the secret ballot means that no individual can be held accountable and responsible for what they vote for. People complain about the faceless men running the political parties, but they ignore the faceless men who elect them!
- That if the vote on it was valid, then that only means it may have the support of the majority, which is no justification for oppressing the minority!
- That it is equal to the pact of association of a criminal band that outlines how to elect gang leaders and distribute the loot!
- That it is totally different to shareholders voting in a public company, because shareholders choose to be shareholders, consent to the voting arrangement when they buy the shares, and are allowed to sell their shares and keep the proceeds!
What amazing restraint she has to live under such tyranny so patiently, and not to go around endlessly quoting such Constitutional scholars as Lysander Spooner.
The Liberal Party Is Socialist
The popular press preposterously paint Gina Rinehart as being in agreement with the Liberal Party, when the truth is that she is on one side, and both the Labor and Liberal Parties are on the other. She is trying to mediate a compromise between the Labor-Liberal Party and such major business figures as Neville Kennard, former owner of Kennards Hire and founder of Kennards Self Storage. She is a moderate, not an antagonist; a peacemaker, not a lobbyist; a goodwill ambassador, not a Liberal Party overlord.
The Liberal Party has never had the free-market tradition it so often advertises. As Robert Haupt observed:
True, there has long been a free-market faction in the Liberal Party: for many years, its name was Bert Kelly. Kelly carried the standard against the trade-stifling policies of successive Liberal-Country Party governments, and he generally carried it alone. His party colleagues regarded him with amusement; his political career went nowhere. 3
Bert Kelly said of the Liberal Party:
Socialism has not been fostered so much by the Labor Party as by the Liberal Party encouragement of policies which are thought to be attractive to the people at election time. Once we have propounded them, these then became part of our doctrine, even if we know that they are in direct conflict with principles of self help and self reliance in which we say we always believe. The main plank in our platform is that it is essential to keep Labor out of government, which is a nicer way of saying keeping us in … I repeat, the main principle in which we believe is the utter necessity of keeping Labor out of government and in the pursuit of this end we are prepared to compete bitterly with the Labor Party in propounding socialist policies.4
And here’s Maxwell Newton, the first editor of The Australian and the daily Australian Financial Review, on the alleged freedom promoting “spirit of 1949” Menzies campaign:
There was a grand reforming zeal about the Liberals in 1949 with their talk about “free enterprise” and the need to revive the market economy, after years of “socialist controls”.
Things have worked out differently. Sir Robert Menzies has presided over a Government which in most important fields went in the opposite direction from that indicated by the brave words of 1949. The ratio of government spending to gross national product has risen half as fast again as it did during the wartime and post-war Labor administrations. (Between 1938-39 and 1948-49 the proportion of government spending to gross national product rose from 13 per cent to 14 per cent, an increase of less than 2 per cent over the ten years; under the Menzies administration, this ratio advanced to 19 per cent in 1964-65, a rise of 4.5 per cent in fifteen years.) So all the false promises about reducing taxation had to be thrown out the window. …
Ultimately, it is clear that for Sir Robert Menzies the great thing about holding supreme political power was to hold it. Questions of principle or political doctrine mattered only secondly, if there was a choice to be made between survival and principles. This is why Sir Robert’s campaign speeches during elections, his promises and grand visions have given such a series of field days to his opponents. In the process of holding supreme power, Sir Robert had to throw out virtually every major tenet of the “spirit of 1949”.5
Lang Hancock and Gina Rinehart know this as well as anyone. I don’t have any inside information or hard numbers, but I think you will find they have given more money to the Labor Party than to the Liberals, and Lang Hancock was not shy in comparing, unfavourably, successive Liberal governments to Whitlam. Even if you want to limit the area of time and policy under consideration to the carbon tax today, the Liberal Party’s alternative is just as bad, if not worse; they want to replace rather than repeal the carbon tax. Oh, and John Howard, wasn’t he a radical free-market advocate? No! Government increased under him.
Most commentators try to describe Gina Rinehart in terms grouping her with witches, ghosts, monsters and — far more slanderous — politicians and political parties. I don’t pretend that this essay will entirely change this, or that she will ever be seen as a mere ordinary human with ordinary powers. But I do hope that this essay will stop people from mischaracterising her as the Wicked Witch of the West, as seeing only black and white like Cruella de Vil of One Hundred and One Donations to the Liberal Party or as being even more dogmatic like the author of Mine Camp. Hopefully, people will start appreciating her generous, caring, honest, sympathetic, soulful and transparent nature and see her for what she really is: namely, Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Here is a clear example of her most recent understandably unauthorised biographer, Adele Ferguson, twisting words to make Gina Rinehart look like something she isn’t:
[Gina Rinehart] views the world through the same monochromatic prism with which [her father Lang Hancock] viewed it. There are no shades of grey. It is a one-dimensional view, and everything goes back to mining. Governments are, for the most part, short-sighted, unproductive and a heavy burden on business.6
Note how Ferguson says “for the most part” and “one-dimensional” and “no shades of grey” and “monochromatic”! This is funny for two reasons:
- Ferguson is mixing her metaphors. If something is “monochromatic” then it can have “shades of grey”. Perhaps Ferguson was unaware of the term “black and white” when she wrote “monochromatic”. This is petty, I know, but it indicates that she was trying to make her appraisal sound more impressive.
- Ferguson argues that Rinehart sees “no shades of grey” and is “one-dimensional”. Yet she then uses the qualifier “for the most part”. This is like saying that someone is a little bit pregnant, a little bit bankrupt or a little bit divorced. Some terms are absolute and do not admit of gradations, so weaker language should be used. If an undefeated boxer has lost two matches, then they should not be called “undefeated”. Why didn’t Ferguson read her own description of Gina Rinehart and explore it further, like this essay has done?
Pointing out oxymorons is important. Otherwise, before we know it, we’ll be living under a tyrant who claims to “represent” even those who voted against both the current government and the Constitution. Things might even escalate to the absurdity where no one who signed or voted on the Constitution is living, and yet it is still considered to be “unanimously” “consented” to by those living. What a ridiculous world that would make.
- William Faulkner, The Unvanquished (New York: Vintage, 1991), p. 188. ↩
- G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World, part three, ch. VII, in vol. IV of The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987), p. 132 and 134. ↩
- Robert Haupt, “This is the wall the Right built,” National Times on Sunday, September 7, 1986, p. 12 ↩
- Bert Kelly, One More Nail (Adelaide: Brolga Books, 1978), p. 207. ↩
- Maxwell Newton, “Life without father,” Nation, January 22, 1966, pp. 7-9. ↩
- Adele Ferguson, Gina Rinehart (Sydney: Macmillan, 2012), p. 329. My italics. In the interests of full disclosure, I hereby declare that the publisher posted me a copy of this book gratis. ↩