A judge has ordered an ill Clive Palmer, who has complained he has a “problem with his memory”, to get off his sickbed to face Federal Court after failing to appear on Tuesday.
Mr Palmer had been due to face questions about the whereabouts of his globe-trotting nephew Clive Mensink but the court was told he was suffering pancreatitis.
His barrister, Andrew Boe, told Justice John Dowsett his client was too sick to appear on Tuesday morning and a doctor had confirmed his sickness in a sworn affidavit on Monday night.
Mr Boe also argued questions to be put to Mr Palmer relating to the whereabouts of Mr Mensink were “one step further removed of the scope of examination power”.
But Justice Dowsett was unhappy with the no-show and called Mr Palmer’s GP to give evidence on Tuesday afternoon.
“How is it that this matter has been listed for over a month and at 8pm you say there is some difficulty with Mr Palmer appearing?” Justice Dowsett said.
“It highlights, even more, the need for cross-examination of the doctor,” he later added.
During cross-examination, Gold Coast GP Reza Zabihi Madah said his patient had been diagnosed with gall stones and was hospitalised in March.
Mr Palmer continued to take the morphine-based medication Targin periodically for pain related to pancreatitis.
“His condition fluctuates,” Dr Madah said.
Mr Palmer had attempted to return to work part-time in April but was too sick, Mr Madah added.
“Some days he had a good day and he was OK, but he was weak and he complained that he had a problem with his memory and recollection of things,” he said.
“It could be the effect of the medication he was on.”
Mr Madah told the court Mr Palmer was physically capable of giving evidence but he could become confused when medicated.
Judge Dowsett denied an application by Mr Palmer’s lawyers to adjourn proceedings until his health improved, ruling that it was in the interest of the public and creditors to continue. He is now expected to face the court on Wednesday.
Despite his professed sickness, Mr Palmer was active on social media on Tuesday morning, tweeting memes about Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
Mr Palmer appeared on national television on May 1, boasting about his new healthy lifestyle that had seen him shed 58kg since leaving politics last year.
“What you put in is what you get out, that’s what it boils down to,” he had said.
The interview was shown during Tuesday’s hearing by lawyers representing special purpose liquidators as proof of Mr Palmer’s good health.
Mr Mensink has been overseas since June last year, putting him out of the reach of liquidators who want to question him about the collapse of Mr Palmer’s Queensland Nickel, of which he was the sole appointed director at the time.
Warrants were issued for his arrest earlier this year in an attempt to finally get him to attend court.