Following the successful outcome of my seven year dispute with the Australian Tax Office (1970’s), I was happy to be ‘back at work’.
There were two reasons why I decided to rejoin conventional society. The first was my four children said that they were embarrassed at school when all the other children were able to answer the question of what their father did. (The Rotary Club allocated me the profession/classification of “wandering minstrel”.)
The second was that there were signs of a stirring in the gold industry after so many years of paralysis, and I felt I should be part of this stirring.
Our family company had soldiered on bravely during all my “misadventures” many of which were detailed in my book Heroic Misadventures – Australia: Four Decades, Full Circle.
Since we had Volvo (trained in Sweden) mechanics for the big Kiruna underground diesel trucks, we were approached by Volvo Truck and Volvo Car to see if we would handle their products. So for seven years we were also Volvo distributors, until the Liberal State Government put us out of that business. Why? Because we wouldn’t join the “protection racket” they were operating, called the Motor Vehicle Dealers Licensing Board.
The Minister for so-called Consumer Protection, Ray O’Connor, took us to court for being the State’s leading independent unlicensed car dealer.
We asked the well-known Labor lawyer, Julian Grill, to defend us, and he had me explain to the magistrate how proud I was of not requiring government protection against competition and how we were successful because of continuing support from our clients. The magistrate asked if there were any victims, i.e., disadvantaged clients.
When it was clear that the answer was ‘no’, he threw the case out.
Interestingly enough, a few years later, our persecutor and subsequent State Premier, Ray O’Connor, had a few problems of his own.
Having cleared the deck of this minor irritation, we expanded our family companies into the gold prospecting business. This led to a series of joint-ventures with major companies, where they earned interests in our mining properties by following up our first-pass prospecting work and continuing with exploration.
This also led to a series of public company board appointments for me. This was all part of life’s continuing adventure.
The following pages brought back many memories of my experiences with the ‘Bureaucratic Buggers’.
This story was recounted in Heroic Misadventures – Australia: Four Decades, Full Circle which can be downloaded for free here.
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