20:16, August 13 108 0 theguardian.com

2020-08-13 20:16:50
Clive Palmer brands WA premier an 'outlaw' in fiery interview as state moves to block $30bn suit

Clive Palmer has labelled West Australian premier Mark McGowan an “outlaw”, described claims he is suing the state for $30bn as “bullshit”, and hung up on live radio when asked about a newspaper front page depicting him as a cane toad.

The extraordinary stoush between Palmer and the WA government continued last night, when the state passed laws designed to block Palmer’s potential $30bn claim against the state.

The overnight development, though, is unlikely to resolve the matter, with Palmer filing an application in the federal court seeking to force the withdrawal of the legislation.

A fiery Palmer spoke to ABC radio on Friday morning, swearing frequently before hanging up when the presenter, Hamish McDonald, continued to press him with questions and asked him to mind his “colourful” language.

Palmer claimed McGowan was trying to give himself immunity from criminal law.

“That’s what it’s about … so you can go to West Australia, he can murder, shoot you, raid your house, he is immune from criminal law,” Palmer said.

McDonald asked him about a front page of the West Australian newspaper, which depicted him as a cane toad.

“Goodbye, I’ve had enough of talking to you mate,” Palmer responded.

Palmer said claims he was suing the state for the staggering amount of $30bn were untrue.

“That’s just bullshit mate,” he said. “That is just rubbish. Do you think a court or anyone in Australia would award someone $30bn? It’s just an excuse so Mark McGowan can cover up …”

He said the WA government’s actions had undermined his rights and the justice system.

“They have eliminated my rights to appeal to a court and eliminated national justice and said at the end of the day if they’ve done something wrong, Mark McGowan or his attorney general, and there’s an order ever against them I have to pay for it,” he said.

Palmer earlier told Perth radio he wanted McGowan jailed and compared his government to Nazi Germany.

“The ultimate story that I want out there is jailing of Mark McGowan for what he’s been doing to Western Australia,” he said. “If you go back to Nazi Germany, their law was gradually eroded over seven years.”

The state government leader in the upper house, Sue Ellery, said the injunction, which also seeks further damages and costs, was doomed to fail.

“We are confident that it will not succeed,” she told parliament. “I’m told the action has never been taken in Australia before.”

Late on Thursday the legislative council approved unprecedented legislation to amend a 2002 state agreement with Palmer’s Mineralogy company.

It was intended to have the effect of terminating arbitration between the two parties and stopping Palmer seeking damages against the state.

Palmer earlier claimed a victory over the McGowan government, revealing the Queensland supreme court had formally registered his two arbitration awards.

He said this meant WA’s “draconian and disgraceful” legislation would now be invalid under the constitution.

The attorney general, John Quigley, has previously said any court action between the bill’s introduction and assent would be covered by the legislation, which was fast-tracked through parliament with the support of the WA Nationals and Greens.

The Liberal opposition and some crossbenchers had unsuccessfully sought more time to scrutinise the legislation.

Liberal MP Nick Goiran labelled the process a “pathetic charade for democracy”.

Palmer and his associated companies Mineralogy and International Minerals are pursuing damages over a 2012 decision by the former Liberal government not to assess his proposed Balmoral South iron ore mine in the Pilbara.

The government has calculated the total claim to be $27.7bn minus costs, an amount premier Mark McGowan said would cripple the state.

Palmer is also challenging WA’s borders in the high court, but it emerged this week he had offered to withdraw the bid if officials agreed to move arbitration hearings relating to the damages claim from Perth to Canberra.

Topics