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House Of Hancock - Transcript

PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT: Monday, 2 April , 2012

CAROLINE JONES, PRESENTER: Hello. I'm Caroline Jones. The court case involving Australia's richest
person and three of her four children has shed uncomfortable daylight on the feuding among the
heirs to the Hancock mining billions. The dispute is complex but at its centre is a trust set up in
l988, by Gina Rinehart's father, Lang Hancock, for the benefit of his grandchildren. Mrs Rinehart
rarely consents to interviews and, as her wealth and influence have grown, so too has her apparent
aversion to media coverage of her personal life. However, in 1997, with her son John, she did agree
to an Australian Story profile, which provided family insights that may be as relevant today as
they were at that time. This is Gina Rinehart's story as she saw it then.

GINA RINEHART: I am terribly fortunate my oldest son John and I have a very, very good
relationship. We enjoy each other's company, I certainly like his mind, I like his comments on
things. This is a family company, it's owned entirely by the children and myself and ultimately it
is in his interest to learn more about the company so that if anything happens to mother, there'll
be him and also staff members to, you know, to try and keep things going.

JOHN RINEHART (NOW HANCOCK), SON: My mum's a very genuinely caring person and I respect her values
and strong character. Well I've been away for five years and I think it's good if I'm sort of
around her day to day, sort of show that there's somewhere there by her side to give her a little
bit of support. Sometimes I feel a bit like a bodyguard but I'll have to put some more weight on
for that I guess.

GINA RINEHART: The last five years in particular I've found it very, very difficult at times. There
have been, you know, a lot of pressures and a lot of strains and stresses, so yes, there have been
times that, you know, I felt things extremely difficult.

JOHN RINEHART (NOW HANCOCK), SON: My interest in the business came from just being around my
grandfather and seeing the passion that he had for developing this region and just the sheer scale
of some of his ideas. He thought on not just small terms but the world scale.

LANG HANCOCK, FATHER: Well in November of 1952 I was flying down south with my wife and going
through a gorge when I noticed that the walls looked to me to be solid iron.

(Excerpt from 'Dig a Million, Make a Million', 1969)

VOICEOVER: Lang Hancock's wealth has come principally from his company's 2.5 per cent royalty on
the export value of all Hamersley Iron production taken from leases he prospected in the late 50s.
That's worth between $15 and $20 million a year.

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: I think the contribution my father's made to Western Australia and indeed even
Australia has been absolutely unique and extraordinary and I don't think it's a contribution that
is recognised as much as it should be. Our family just for generations has been a pastoralist
family up here. My father was the first one who went from the pastoralist scene into the mining
industry and I'm the next generation after that and my children are interested in the north too
because they've also had experiences up here from babyhood.

GINA RINEHART (age 12): I think my father's nearly perfect. He's pretty- he's awfully good at
sport, mainly table tennis and swi- I mean football and cricket. He's good at swimming and the rest
of them too. He's not very good in the house though, he hates washing up and he'll never do it. He
never makes his bed, he always leaves it for us. He's awfully untidy. He doesn't like animals much,
especially horses. I think he's quite handsome, except a bit fat.

GINA RINEHART: I don't think I was wrong when I said what I I said and that was that I felt dad was
close to perfect. You know, as a father he was a a very excellent father. I guess what I shouldn't
have said was how he was fat because (laughs) now I can just imagine my children saying that about
me. My father and I were very, very close. I was the only child and dad seemed to be rather pleased
to have a, well I think he'd probably preferred a son, but anyway, he ended up with a daughter so
he was pleased to have a child. You know we spent an inordinate amount of time together. Well this
was our original homestead at Mulga Downs, this is where I spent my earlier years, but
unfortunately it's no longer with us today because it was demolished in a cyclone and as you can
see the station just uses it now to put windmill parts on.

(Excerpt from 'Man of Iron', BBC TV, 1967):

VOICEOVER: In the holidays she can chase kangaroos, swim in rock pools and ride for a whole day
without coming to the boundary of her father's station. For the rest of the year she is
disciplined, subject to petty restrictions, her horizons the four walls of a classroom.

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: I hated going down to boarding school. I just thought my life in the bush was
fantastic. It was a very close family life. I meant, you know, there really wasn't anyone else
apart from your family. The times that we'd return to the homestead, yeah they were great. The
absolute joy as you'd be approaching the Pilbara and so dad and I would be singing the, singing in
the airplane and carrying on, so yes we both really enjoyed returning up here. I'd like to show you
the Hope Downs north deposit. What I'd like to do is take you up onto the top of the deposit and
show you a spot that we all call Breakfast Tree. The reason it's called Breakfast Tree is that this
is where we have breakfast, my father and I when he brought the first land exploration party to
what is now the Hope Downs deposit and going back 30 odd years ago when I was about 14. My father
chose to name this deposit and in fact a series of deposits after my mother, Hope Hancock. I'm very
pleased of course that he did so. It certainly has turned into the most major project for our
company and so I think it's very fitting that it is, has been called after my mother.

ALIX MELLOWES, HOPE HANCOCK'S SISTER: Very smart. Really. But I would have like my father's name on

GINA RINEHART: My mother's side of the family were also pioneers. She came from a very close and a
very loving family, they just adored each other.

ALIX MELLOWES, HOPE HANCOCK'S SISTER: I was Hope Hancock's sister. Most perfect person and she was
very private person but she was- I miss her daily. Gina and Hope had a very good relationship. Most
people think that it was Lang and Gina. They did have a wonderful relationship, Lang and Gina, but
Hopey was such a gorgeous creature and she was fun to be with.

GINA RINEHART: Mother was very, very family orientated. I found her to be at all times the most
ladylike person I've ever known and, you know, her behaviour was such I just felt she was a saint.
You know, she was a truly wonderful person in every single way. I'd say my mother and father had a
very excellent marriage. I think my father was extremely lucky to have someone as wonderful as my
mother. I would certainly say it's one of the best marriages I've ever seen.

ALIX MELLOWES, HOPE HANCOCK'S SISTER: When she became ill, which she was for many years really, she
wished that she could live for Gina to be married. When she was married she wished that she could
live to the time when she had children. And when the first, John first came and then Bianca, it was
simply heaven. She had her two wishes.

GINA RINEHART: My mother was certainly the most wonderful mother and grandmother and unfortunately
she suffered from something that I absolutely hate and it's cancer. Cancer can be something that
you have those respites from in between, so yes she'd had cancer since I was, I guess about one,
aged one and that's why I had to spend much of my time in boarding school.

(Excerpt from Four Corners, 1975)

REPORTER: Lang Hancock is now 66 years old. It may not be too long before Gina Hancock finds
herself permanently in the driver's seat.

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: When I first went to work for my father, I was very junior, where I certainly didn't
seeing him as being what could be termed a rich and a powerful man, no I didn't see him in that
light at all.

(Excerpt continues)

REPORTER: On a purely emotional basis, how does it feel to look at all that iron ore lying in the
ground that is one day is going to be yours?

GINA RINEHART: Bloody good.

REPORTER: Is she as tough as you?

LANG HANCOCK, FATHER: Oh tougher, yeah by a long way.

REPORTER: Does she have to be ruthless?

LANG HANCOCK, FATHER: No she is not ruthless, I don't think, but I think you'll find she's very,
very fair and that's all you need.

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: He certainly taught me a lot of things, which I'm very grateful for. He had a lot of
drive and so I guess people could say that was being a rogue but he had immense internal drive.
Then premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen will talk to you about the proposed West Australian to Queensland
rail link. We did for dad's birthday the Wakeup Australia Flight, which the media, some of them
didn't like because they saw that as far too right wing and they were grizzling and saying things
like, or the ABC was anyway, that oh my god, this airplane, it even flies in the, you know, in a
right wing direction, I mean it does these right wing turns.

(Excerpt from Four Corners, 1975)

REPORTER: But where do you think you stand personally on the political spectrum?

GINA RINEHART: On the self-governing side I'd say because I'm very much a secessionist.

REPORTER: It's not surprising that listening to Gina talking about secessionism and private
enterprise, it's rather like a chip off the old block.

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: I think if you scratch any West Australian you might end up finding a secessionist
underneath. I'm not currently running a secession program but I think, you know, Canberra always
needs to know that if you don't treat us right, there's WA people over here that'd love to secede.
I was delighted when John Grey Gorton came over to Perth for my 21st and he gave a lovely speech.

(Excerpt from ABC TV, 1975)

JOHN GREY GORTON (speech): It's going to be tough in 10 years or 15 years. You know, Lang will be
sort of doddering around in 10 or 15 years.

REPORTER: Mr Hancock, you obviously don't have any worries about entrusting it all to a girl?

LANG HANCOCK, FATHER: No because she'll inherit it eventually and I, just as well that she has a
look at it now rather than have the whole pile, whole lot piled on her plate later on when she
might make a mess of it.

JOHN GREY GORTON (speech): And it's going to be pretty hard for somebody to take over a big control
like that and run a husband, or be run by a husband.

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: I was married um firstly when I was quite young and about when I was 18 or 19 and
then afterwards I was divorced and then I remarried. My husband, Frank Rinehart was a very private
person. I feel that I could tell you that we did meet through Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. My mother
absolutely adored my husband and my husband thought my mother was absolutely wonderful. They truly
adored each other. My father, however, I suspect he didn't want to have my time diverted away from
the company, he wasn't quite so keen. When my mother did pass away and my father was absolutely
devastated he couldn't have had a better friend than my mother and you know he was you know rightly
very, very devastated.

(Excerpt from The National, 1985)

ROSE PORTEOUS, LANG HANCOCK'S WIFE: The first time I met Langley George was in a hotel foyer at the
Miller Hotel and he was scrambling about like a blind mouse looking for the lift and I showed it to
him, that's how.

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: I didn't find out that my father had married Rose until after they were married. I
was told after the event. I certainly didn't think my father would have any long term association
with her.

(Excerpt continues)

REPORTER: It was a marriage that couldn't escape the front page. Australia's rogue bull iron ore
tycoon weds beautiful Philippine socialite half his age, and in true Hancock style the wedding cake
came decorated with a model crane loading real iron ore into a model dump truck.

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: I did go to America with the children but we went there all the time, you know, we'd
stroll to and fro between America and Australia. I didn't leave and not see him again.

(Excerpt continues)

LANG HANCOCK, FATHER: Well I'm very glad that Rose has taken the step and because I travel all over
the world and I've travelled on my own since Georgina went away and I don't like it.

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: I was always concerned about my father and I don't know what else I can say my
reaction was but I was certainly concerned for dad. I wanted somebody in his life that, you know,
would love him and would be a very good trustworthy friend and companion for him. In approximately
October of 1985, my father did decide to remove me as a director of the company. I don't think it
was so much being overseas that was effecting dad's and my relationship, it was more the fact that,
well there were two things, it was more the fact I was very concerned about the way the company was
heading. He was hearing from me my concerns about company funds being removed from the company and
it wasn't until 1991 that he reinstated me as a director.

(Excerpt from ABC TV, 1991)

ROSE PORTEOUS, LANG HANCOCK'S WIFE: What we have, what you see we don't owe one cent, it's all on
cash. All our assets are assets, cold hard cash.

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: Well I think that really the less I say about Rose the better. I don't have a
relationship, you know, with Rose at all. What I'm sad about is the difficulties my father went
through. In 1987 he did confide in me about not being happy and how difficult his life was and he
told me that I had no real understanding and I think that's right. In 1987 he in fact wrote some
very unusual clauses in his wills and that is that if his wife had had anything to do with
hastening his death that she be disinherited. Now there was not just one will like this but there
was apparently a number of them. Now I wasn't aware of this until late last year. I've been accused
of pressuring my father to get him to write such a will. I had no knowledge that he wrote such a
will and in fact a series of such wills until, you know, late last year. You know the sad part is
that I was only there, properly there in the last few months and I saw that dad had very few people
around him he could trust. I'll never forget a Wednesday morning that I, after dropping my children
at school, you know, I walked in to see dad and he looked terrible. He had, his brow was very
deeply lined and the whole brow was sort of skewiff, you know, it was just contorted and, you know,
he's just laying in bed as though he is absolutely exhausted. And, although I wasn't there the
previous night, there'd apparently been an awful row the previous night and, you know, dad said me,
to me words that you know I'm simply never going to forget either and the words that you know dad
said to me is "Rose nearly killed me last night". Dad was very ill at the time and couldn't cope
with the stress of arguments. We decided that we'd ask dad well what did he want us to do, you know
how could we help.

(Excerpt from ABC TV, 1992)

REPORTER: A disbelieving Rose was told by lawyers last night that her husband had obtained a
restraining order preventing her from seeing him.

ROSE PORTEOUS, LANG HANCOCK'S WIFE: First I couldn't believe it and I was shocked. I mean I just
said what, what have I done? Why?

(End of excerpt)

GINA RINEHART: Eventually a restraining order was granted and this gave dad a lot of relief.

(Excerpt from ABC TV News, 1992)

REPORTER : Early today a phalanx of media crews staked out the Hancock mansion waiting for the
lawyers to arrive. The ambulance beat them to it. Lang Hancock died at 10 o'clock this morning.

REPORTER 2: Perth detectives arrived at the Riverside mansion immediately after Mr Hancock's death.

MARTIN BENNETT, ROSE HANCOCK'S LAWYER: A major crime squad received an anonymous so-called tip from
Sydney, or it's said to be from Sydney, that Mr Hancock would be killed by narcotics and there was
some innuendo that it would be by Mrs Hancock.


REPORTER 3: Just down the ramp behind me is the state morgue. Inside lies the body of Lang Hancock,
the body which is now at the centre of a bizarre tug of war between his widow Rose and only
daughter Gina.

ROSE PORTEOUS, LANG HANCOCK'S WIFE: I can't sleep at night thinking my husband is like a criminal,
lock in the freezer in the morgue.

REPORTER 3: The brawl over funeral arrangements came after a week-long media feeding frenzy and
speculation over who would get what in the corporate carve up.

REPORTER 4: About 200 people attended the much publicised mass organised by Mrs Hancock. Here at
Gina Rinehart's private address in Dalkeith, 600 people paid their respects.

REPORTER 5: Finally today Lang Hancock, away from the legal sound and fury was laid to rest.

(End of excerpt)

JOHN RINEHART (NOW HANCOCK), SON: Well my mum, I don't think you could get a closer father and
daughter type relationship. I was actually in my grandfather's house there the night before he
died, they were very close. I think although they had their differences of opinion in certain
things there was throughout their lives still the very, very, very deep bond between them that
really nothing could penetrate.

ON SCREEN CAPTION: In 2002 an inquest found Lang Hancock died of natural causes. Rose Porteous was
cleared of any involvement.

ON SCREEN CAPTION: In 2003 Mrs Rinehart and Mrs Porteous jointly announced their legal disputes
over the estate had ended.

GINA RINEHART: The best friends I've had in my life have been my mother and my father and my
husband, you know I've certainly been privileged having each of them as people that I've known. In
my father's will, although there was a mention of a heart foundation, there was absolutely nothing
left in his estate for such a foundation and so what I've done is I've started a medical foundation
and later on a breast cancer foundation. One of the nicer things about the breast cancer foundation
is some of the people who have helped. You know it's just so lovely to find people who will give up
time on their weekends, I mean those sorts of people I think are wonderful. When I did take over
the company, it was in so many difficulties and we were putting out bushfires left, right and
centre so it's good that we have been able to make some progress in the last few years. You know
we're basically looking ahead, although there are still these wretched legal things going on. Dad
very rarely gave me any form of compliment but in the last few months he told me that I was like
his own father, George Hancock. Dad told me that I had the same strengths as his father, which I
thought was, you know, a very lovely compliment. I think anybody who's been raised in the Pilbara
as much of my early life I was, it does get inside you, you know. One thing my father did for me
when I was 16, is he took me on a compulsory tour of certain mines around Australia so I thought
aha, I'm going to learn from that, I'm going to do that to John. So John went on the compulsory
tour too when he was 16 to make sure that interest was there and we showed him a lot of mines and
things like that.

JOHN RINEHART (NOW HANCOCK), SON: Because my grandfather was very passionate about the mining side
and all the iron ore reserves that he found and that's of course is a mainstay of the company but
we're starting to get involved with more interesting for me type developments. We're looking at
some tourism developments and aerial survey company, Australian Aerial Surveys. Now what I'm
basically doing is being a bit of a fly on the wall and watching what's going on. The learning
curve's quite dramatic. I think my mum will want to carry on with the company for quite a few years
yet, sort of queen bee position. If I can be a worker bee alongside her then that'll be good.

GINA RINEHART: This family has come from a very strong family base and I have nothing other than
good feelings about the company and I think that it's going to go forward in very good directions.
The House of Hancock will definitely be surviving.


Over the last decade Gina Rinehart is credited with shrewd strategic decisions that have built the
value of her private Hancock Prospecting company to about $17 billion, putting her among the
richest thirty people in the world.

In 2010 she started to extend her interests into the media with stakes in the Ten Network and
Fairfax Media.

The trust set up by Lang Hancock for his four grandchildren owns 23.6 per cent of Hancock
Prospecting. The dispute between Gina Rinehart and three of her four children, including John
Hancock, is being conducted in the NSW Supreme Court.

Gina Rinehart and John Hancock were approached in relation to tonight's rebroadcast but preferred
to make no comment.