Speech by Mrs Gina Rinehart celebrating 125 years of St Hilda’s Anglican school for girls

Good morning and warm Greetings St Hilda’s family and special guests.

Thank you for the invitation to address on the wonderful occasion of celebrating 125 Years of St Hilda’s Anglican school for girls, and for many years now, for boys in kindy and pre-primary too.

My family has had members at your school for quite a number of those years, four generations, starting from my beautiful and much-loved mother, Hope Nicholas, who the original school building was named after.

And more recently, the Nicholas name is on your science building too. It was a huge privilege to attend St Hilda’s when my mother and her younger sister Alix, attended.

This was during depression years, and when Miss Parnell’s as St Hilda’s was then called, opened its doors, two thirds of its booked students couldn’t attend, as their families couldn’t afford to send them.

Of course, back then, St Hilda’s was surrounded by countryside, and my aunt said, my outstanding grandfather, James Nicholas of Cobb & Co, sent his daughter, Hope to school with her loved pony to keep her company, and a dairy cow, as her father wanted my mother to have fresh milk.

There was no swimming pool at Miss Parnell’s back then, and on weekends, my mother and other boarders particularly enjoyed going to the river, and the school arranged nice picnics for them by the riverside.

My mother excelled at the piano, gaining a lifelong love of music, especially the piano.

When it was time for me to board, as my father needed to be in the Pilbara, 1000 miles north, I boarded in grades two or three, back in the early 60s, our school was then called St Hilda’s. My daughters followed attending from either grade one, or kindy.

Apart from boarding school food, which frankly was truly awful back then, and gave me a lifetime of loving good food far too much! I’m grateful that I had a real education, not one based on propaganda, but facts, and rationale. I continue to believe that facts and rationale should provide the basis for education, it concerns me greatly that the current generation of school leavers and attendees, too often miss such important basics, as too often propaganda erodes these critical foundations.

It’s very important in my view that today’s parents or guardians, and grandparents, ask their children each and every day, what they are learning at school, counter any propaganda, and address their concerns with the teachers directly, and of course, the principal.

When my mother and I were at St Hilda’s, it was known as the leading girl’s private school in west Australia. I hope St Hilda’s will always endeavour to be this, and strongly guard against propaganda intruding on real education and rational thinking.

I’ll give an example, I’d heard that senior school students in a previous headmistresses time, were having to watch sometimes 4 times over for their various classes, even English lit, the ex-Democrat Vice President Al Gore film, “An Inconvenient Truth” catchy title, but sadly short on delivery as far as truth is concerned. Eg, the sad loss of polar bears, when actually their numbers have increased, but lots of emotional things like that to stir or frighten people, even a graph that looked like a hockey stick, part going backwards!

And despite the argument that human-induced climate change would cause the rising of oceans, as he propounded, using his global warming speech fees to buy a multimillion-dollar home, shoreside in California. So I brought Lord Monckton and Professor Ian Plimer, no speech fees, to address senior students and hopefully take away some of the emotional fear that was being spread around by such film and speeches. The first thing Lord Monckton asked the senior students, being aware “An Inconvenient Truth” had been shown repeatedly to students, was to put their hands up if they believed that climate change was human-induced.

About 70 per cent or more of students put their hands up. Lord Monckton and Prof Plimer were only given a comparatively short time to speak, during which they asked students to ask questions and check facts carefully, and then at the end of their speeches, the question re human-induced climate change was re-asked, and the hands changed, about 30 percent put their hands up.

If I may ask a question, for students to ask their teachers, and do their own independent research, and that is, “which comes first, global warming, or an increase in carbon?” It should help to point to four independent facts, which all come to the same conclusion, independently, including, what has been found in the geological record of ice, ocean floors, and separately chemistry principles.

Will leave you all to find the fourth, not so easy to find facts at times these days. Not helped when the government supports grants towards one side of the argument, making it less beneficial to consider the natural influences on our climate, distance from the sun as the earth orbits, which we should know influences summers and winters, volcanoes, including the many that erupt under the ocean, and other scientific facts that I had the benefit of learning while I was at school, indeed, that the earth lived thru many ice ages and global warming’s, pre man even being on this planet.

But if these four independent facts all support, global warming comes first, not increases in carbon, the rationale would ask, why does the media in general and those they influence, now call for reducing carbon? Why should taxpayers’ money be spent towards reducing carbon? The higher debt our government racks up, the higher your taxes will be forced to be. More questions spring to my mind!

Please be very careful about information spread on emotional basis, or tied to money, or egos, or power-seekers, and always search for the facts. Even if the tide is against you, and it’s not considered popular. Facts may not be popular, but that shouldn’t mean, they should be overlooked.

I was recently asked to write a foreword to a book, which is about great women. And there are many of these, Marie Curie, a scientist who used her intelligent mind to research, asking questions, checking facts, the tried and true scientific approach, and her efforts led to medicine that helped so many lives.

Of course, women were part of great adventure too, just think of Amelia Earhart, flying in her little plane, with primitive navigation equipment, across the oceans.

And of our own women pioneers, my goodness, these brave pioneers who helped to settle our outback, leaving behind city conveniences, and helping to build the sheep and wool industry, that supported Australia over decades, like our Pilbara and Australian mining industry do these days. I know something of the early Pilbara pioneers, as three members of the Hancock family, plus the husband of Emma Hancock, Withnell, set off in their little wooden boat, “sea ripple” sailing over a thousand miles to reach Cossack, and then walking inland to find fresh water and founding a settlement later town, of Roebourne.

They arrived to nothing, no homes, no electricity, no hospitals, no child care, no roads, no phones, no restaurants, no shops, etc, and the voyage up had not been smooth sailing, losing more than half their supplies, possessions and stock.

But these brave and hard-working pioneers, with no government support, and for that matter, no government tape, built the first buildings and established and grew the pastoral industry in the northwest, an industry which still contributes to our state today. And their buildings, built without government regulation, still stand today.

It’s become politically incorrect to quote what’s in their diaries, but if I could say something, their diaries showed they worked hard every day then took some rest each Sunday, their entertainment being, several hours of reading the bible together.

Great women, our pioneers. They had to cope with real stress in their lives, with little or less medicine, no doctors, no hospital, at times having to nurse their dying children in their laps.

And it doesn’t stop there, in this state we are home to the SAS, and despite some dangerous media endeavouring to undermine our finest, we are very fortunate to have such highly trained, dedicated people, defending us. At times as we all know, these men and women are sent by our government on dangerous missions overseas, to help to protect freedoms elsewhere. And it’s usually mainly men sent overseas, usually months at a time, leaving their wives behind with young children to look after. These women don’t have it easy, at times their husbands can’t even be home to support childbirth. I also admire them.

And, West Australia is home to great Olympians, who became such inspirations, through their hard work, most do not really know how hard they work, dedication, focus and self-discipline, as they endeavour to represent our country to the best of their ability, traits in my view, are important for us all, if we wish to succeed in life.

My time allocation doesn’t permit me to continue with other Australian women who inspire, so I will finish with quotes from a leader I do admire greatly, for her sense, bravery, leadership, duty to her country, and acting in its interests, even if not popular in noisy quarters, and I hope these quotes resonate, as we sure need better leadership in our country.

Quoting from former Prime Minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher.

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.”

“I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

“If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and would achieve nothing.”

“Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.”

“Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.”

“I am not a consensus politician. I am a conviction politician.”

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

“Socialists cry ‘Power to the people’, and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean – power over people, power to the State.”

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catch phrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.”

And, especially for the ladies and girls present:

“If you want something said ask a man, if you want something done ask a woman.”

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