This is an excerpt from From Red Tape to Red Carpet…and then some, a 2015 book by Gina Rinehart which features speeches, articles and stories from throughout her career. Ron wrote this piece in 2002, at the 50th anniversary of Lang Hancock’s iron ore ‘Discovery Flight’. These words were used to describe why politicians and Australian corporate leaders envied Lang Hancock…
But most of all, Lang was himself. He could do that; he could be himself, whereas most of us couldn’t. Whether you are from Rio Tinto, the Labor Party or the Liberal Party, you can’t be yourself. You have to ‘toe the line’ or the ‘party line’.
I think this individualism used to drive them nuts with absolute, sheer envy. They didn’t envy lang for his money, which only came later in life; they envied him for his free spirit. He could be himself and they couldn’t.
Now, thirteen years later, I’m enjoying reflecting on how Lang’s daughter, Gina Rinehart, has outpaced her father in assembling these thoughts on our great mining industry and its contribution to Australia. Why have we so few mining leaders who can capture the spirit of our industry and inspire our next generation?
We asked that question last year in an essay contest at our Mannkal Foundation organized in conjunction with the WA School of Mines (Curtin University). The essay title, Leadership in Mining, sought specific examples of true leaders from the Australian industries, forcing the students to look beyond the shallow PR spin of too many corporate executives.
I expected a response of four or five essays but the judges were overwhelmed with 34 entries. Among the handful of leaders identified was Gina Rinehart and many remarked that her comments captured the ‘creative’ aspects of our industry. ‘Creative’ is an appropriate word for an industry that, through discovery and production, has lifted Australians to a level of civilization far superior than the bleak future our earlier settlers faced.
Nobel Prize winner, Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi once described discovery with these words:
“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.”
One of the essay students spoke appreciatively of Gina Rinehart expressing her passion for out industry:
“Mrs Rinehart doesn’t have to do this; she could keep her head down, just like so many other mining executives, but we are glad that she makes this effort as we get a clearer idea of what the mining industry is all about. It’s about people seeking, striving, working hard, so that we can all achieve our true potential.”
It is my pleasure to write this comment to Gina’s latest book. I have known Gina since I first met her, as a 17-year-old, when she accompanied her father, Lang Hancock, on so many of his interesting journeys. it has been fascinating watching her emerge as possibly Australia’s best known individual on the international stage whilst still having the time and ability to inspire Australia’s upcoming generation of leaders.
These are the people on whom we will rely to maintain our nations momentum.