Clive Palmer is launching yet another lawsuit against the West Australian government, while vowing to continue the fight against the state’s border closure all the way to the High Court.
A day after a Federal Court decision dealt a blow to Mr Palmer’s chances of forcing WA’s border to reopen, the mining billionaire announced fresh legal action over a separate dispute related to his iron ore interests.
Mr Palmer said he would launch proceedings in the High Court against WA Premier Mark McGowan and Attorney-General John Quigley, “for contempt of the High Court of Australia”.
That lawsuit follows the extraordinary legislation passed by WA’s Parliament to terminate Mr Palmer’s $30 billion legal claim against the state government.
“All Australians must be free to have access to our courts,” Mr Palmer said in a statement.
“Free from intimidation, fear or threats.
“Free from vitriolic abuse and violent rhetoric. Free from injury and damage should they seek to rely on the rule of law.
“They must be free from intimidation by government.”
Mr Palmer has labelled that legislation unfair and unconstitutional and is fighting it on multiple legal fronts, including the Federal Court, the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and Queensland and now the High Court as well.
Mr Palmer was seeking around $30 billion in damages, costs and interest from the state government, over an earlier decision to refuse development approval for the Balmoral South iron ore project in the Pilbara.
The Queensland businessman’s fresh legal action follows the Federal Court decision yesterday that WA’s hard border closure was the most effective health response at keeping COVID-19 out of the state.
In that decision, Justice Darryl Rangiah warned there could be “catastrophic consequences” if the virus was reintroduced to the WA community.
That was a victory for Western Australia in its fight against Mr Palmer’s constitutional challenge to the border closure.
But Mr Palmer said he would continue that fight to the High Court.
“Of course we will. That is why we lodged the challenge,” Mr Palmer told 6PR radio
“The propaganda we get in Western Australia on this issue is not balanced at all.”
The Federal Court only considered the health aspects of the border closure, while the High Court will have broader considerations — including the social and economic consequences of the policy — in considering its legal validity.
Experts have said while the Federal Court decision was a win for WA, there was still a possibility Mr Palmer could win in the High Court and force the state to reopen its border.