OPINION: Why won’t Gina Rinehart condemn her father’s racist words?

One of my biggest concerns with the Uluru Statement from the Heart is that Truth Telling does not come first.

We need to recognise our colonial roots and work towards dismantling them.

We need to recognise just how much Australian magnate Lang Hancock benefited when he laid claim to lands that Aboriginal people had occupied for thousands of years.

We need to recognise just how wrong he was when he said, “Mining in Australia occupies less than one-fifth of one per cent of the total surface of our continent and yet it supports 14 million people. Nothing should be sacred from mining whether it’s your ground, my ground, the Blackfella's ground or anybody else’s. So the question of Aboriginal land rights and things of this nature shouldn’t exist.”

And when he said in his infamous 1984 interview, “[Aboriginal people] that have been assimilated into, you know, earning good living or earning wages amongst the civilised areas, those that have been accepted into society and they have accepted society and can handle society, I’d leave them well alone.

“The ones that are no good to themselves and can’t accept things, the half-castes - and this is where most of the trouble comes - I would dope the water up so that they were sterile and would breed themselves out in future and that would solve the problem.”

Read more: The Diamonds took a stand to support a teammate. Now Gina Rinehart has ripped up their $15m sponsorship.

We need to recognise that Hancock’s daughter Gina Rinehart has never publicly condemned the racist words of her father. You can do that when generational wealth makes you Australia’s richest person. When you have a net worth of $31 billion, you can do pretty much anything you want.


But that doesn’t mean you should. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make reparations for the hurt caused by your family. It may not have been Rinehart’s words, but her silence now speaks volumes.

I’m about as good at netball as Kimberly Diane "Kim" Craig (née Day) but just like Aboriginal Diamonds player, Donnell Wallam, I’ve had to compromise my moral compass in the workplace. Wallam tried to privately negotiate with Netball Australia about representing Hancock Industries on the Diamonds uniform, and the CEO of the Netball Players Association revealed that she was planning to wear the uniform in the end.

Knowing this, Rinehart still pulled her $15 million sponsorship. It has had far-reaching consequences for the Diamonds, and for netball in Australia as a whole.

Watch Tony Armstrong speak on racism in Australia. Story continues below. 

Video via The Project.

And then for Rinehart to have the audacity to state that “it is unnecessary for sports organisations to be used as the vehicle for social or political causes.”

Sports organisations have always been a part of social and political causes; it’s only in recent years that these issues have come to the forefront with AFL and NRL clubs working with Aboriginal people to make changes.


We should be proud that Netball Australia promised to change under the Declaration of Commitment in September 2020, which requires the entire netball system to understand and then resolve the issue of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander under-representation at elite levels. It came after Jemma Mi Mi - the league's only First Nations player at the time - was left off the court in the Indigenous Round.

It’s the “walking your talk” attitude that Australians love and you would need a big set of buugalaas (that’s “balls”, of course!) to stand up to a woman like Gina Rinehart.

Within all sporting codes, workplaces and homes, we are all collectively working towards becoming a country that can acknowledge the past. You cannot have big corporations making commitments to its First Nations people, or big retail outlets who continue to sell Aboriginal collections, or use our culture for tourism without condemning the words of Hancock.

We can all reflect on what changes we can make in order to dismantle inequality, racism, and injustice.

It is these moments in time that will be remembered by Aboriginal people. This might just be the hot topic of the week for others, but the actions of the Diamonds, Donnell Wallam, and those to stand with her, will go on to empower many other First Nations people in speaking our truth.

And the truth will always prevail.

Feature Image: Getty/AAP.

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