Culture

Gina Rinehart Has Pulled $15M In Sponsorships Instead Of Denouncing Her Dad’s Racist Comments

Her father, Lang Hancock, suggested a plan to sterilise First Nations people in 1984.

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Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has pulled a $15 million sponsorship deal with the Australian Diamonds and Netball Australia after players raised concerns about the partnership.

The issue came to a head last week when Donnell Wallam — a Noongar woman who is only the third Indigenous woman in history to compete at this level in netball — reportedly raised an issue with wearing the Hancock Prospecting logo over racist comments made by founder Lang Hancock.

Hancock Prospecting’s Founder Suggested Sterilising First Nations People

For those unfamiliar, in 1984 Lang Hancock — founder of the mining group Hancock Prospecting, and Gina Rinehart’s dad — infamously suggested that First Nations people should be sterilised to “breed themselves out”.

“Those 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,” he told a news broadcast at the time.

“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.”

Despite the fact that Hancock quite literally proposed the idea of ethnic cleansing, it seems as though the Diamonds — and Wallam, specifically — have copped more criticism in the aftermath of the boycott than Hancock or Rinehart.

Jacqui Lambie Slams “Picky” Netballers Who Had An Issue With It

On Monday, Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie labelled the netballers as “picky” and asserted that Rinehart was left with no other choice than to pull the much-needed funding.

“I am not really sure what other options she had, I would say that those girls are going to be doing a lot of sausage sizzles at Bunnings and a lot of chook raffles,” Senator Lambie told the Today show on Monday.

“I think one should have been grateful they were getting the money. If they have backup and someone else is going to pick up that tab, that is good for them.

“I am not sure what Gina was supposed to do in the meantime, whether she was just supposed to sit there and be quiet, not say anything, take it. It was obviously starting to get quite political, so she has withdrawn it.”

While Rinehart is absolutely free to spend her sponsorship money where she sees fit, Lambie’s assertion that she was somehow backed into a corner on this contradicts what players claim is the reality of the situation.

Gina Rinehart Was Reportedly Given Multiple Options To Resolve The Problem

The ABC reports that players made several proposals to Hancock Prospecting to resolve the issue, including allowing Wallam to have a personal exemption from wearing the dress, and inviting the company to make a statement distancing themselves from its founder’s comments.

The individual exemption was not granted, and Hancock Prospecting did not take the invitation to distance themselves from Lang’s comments.

While Lambie acknowledged that Hancock’s comments were “horrific”, she rejected the notion that Rinehart should have to acknowledge them.

“The comments that Rinehart’s father made back in ‘84 were horrendous, racist, and horrific,” Senator Lambie said on Monday.

“But how far back should you take someone’s responsibility? Why should Gina Rinehart pay for the sins of her father from almost 40 years ago?”

But considering the company is still named after Hancock — and his name would be branded across the uniforms of players — an acknowledgement is not that far-fetched of a suggestion.

Instead Of Distancing The Company From Lang’s Comments, Hancock Prospecting Pulled The “Virtue Signalling” Card

But instead of acknowledging the comments, a statement from Hancock Prospecting branded the players’ move as “virtue signalling” and suggested that sport should not be politicised.

“Hancock and its executive chairman Mrs Rinehart consider that it is unnecessary for sports organisations to be used as the vehicle for social or political causes,” the statement read, despite the fact that sport is inherently political and always has been.

“There are more targeted and genuine ways to progress social or political causes without virtue signalling or for self-publicity.”

While there is no assertion that Rinehart — or anyone else at Hancock Prospecting — shares the same beliefs that Lang publicly declared back in the 80s, the decision not to pull the much-needed funding rather than condemning the comments is certainly controversial.

The withdrawal of the Hancock Prospecting sponsorship comes after Netball Australia suffered losses of more than $7 million in recent years, which puts the sport back in a dire financial situation.