Clive Palmer has filed $10 million lawsuits against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash over allegedly defamatory comments they made about the demise of Queensland Nickel.
Documents lodged in the Brisbane Supreme Court this week claim the prime minister and Senator Cash conveyed at a press conference on April 15, 2016 that Mr Palmer had used funds from the company for his own benefit.
It further stated the pair, who are being pursued separately, indicated Mr Palmer had acted to the detriment of QNI employees, their families and the Townsville community at large.
Their remarks conveyed the imputation that Mr Palmer is a “greedy self-serving entrepreneur who does not care for the welfare of his employees and ordinary Australians”, the documents state.
Mr Palmer is seeking $10 million in damages from both Mr Turnbull and Senator Cash plus interest. He says the published comments reached more than 330,000 readers and injured his personal and professional integrity, character and reputation.
They have 28 days to dispute the claim.
“(Mr Palmer’s) personal and professional reputations has been discredited and disparaged and brought into public disrepute and he has suffered ridicule and embarrassment,” the documents say.
“His business affairs have suffered financial detriment in the form of decreased revenue.”
Senator Cash said her and the government’s role was to protect the interests of Australian taxpayers who footed the bill for Queensland Nickel workers’ entitlements.
“We have a responsibility to recoup these funds,” she said on Friday.
The prime minister’s office declined to comment.
Mr Palmer had indicated on Tuesday that he would be pursuing the pair in court for besmirching his name.
“They’ve lied to people about Queensland Nickel and my role in it. They’ve said things designed to damage me, personally, in the public’s eyes, which were not true and they did that for political reasons,” Mr Palmer said on Tuesday.