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Clive Palmer ordered to pay bulk of defamation costs from Mark McGowan court battle

Clive Palmer will bear the vast majority of the prices from his defamation battle with Mark McGowan however West Australian taxpayers stay on the hook for some bills.
Federal Courtroom Justice Michael Lee on Thursday ordered Palmer to cowl the prices of the WA premier‘s cross-claim from December 22 final 12 months, round when the billionaire had rejected his rival’s supply to settle the proceedings.

He ordered that each events cowl their very own bills incurred previous to that date.

Clive Palmer from the United Australia Party ahead of his address to the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Thursday 7 April 2022. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Clive Palmer will bear the vast majority of the prices from his defamation battle with Mark McGowan. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

McGowan, whose trial barrister Bret Walker SC is reported to cost as much as $25,000 per day, on Thursday informed parliament he did not know the complete quantity however there can be some price to taxpayers.

Justice Lee final week discovered Palmer and McGowan had defamed one another in 2020, after they feuded over Western Australia’s COVID-19 response and a damages declare involving certainly one of Palmer’s mining initiatives.

He ordered Palmer to pay $20,000 to McGowan, who was in flip directed to pay $5000 to the Queensland businessman.

In a letter despatched to Palmer’s attorneys final December, McGowan’s authorized workforce proposed discontinuing the proceedings with each side bearing their very own prices.

Palmer didn’t reply to the proposal, the court docket heard.

Justice Lee mentioned the billionaire had been obliged to resolve the proceedings as rapidly as doable, having launched them within the first place.

“The notion that Mr Palmer and Mr McGowan are equally accountable for these proceedings having consumed vital personal and public sources can’t be reconciled with the target details,” the decide mentioned.

WA Premier Mark McGowan  addresses the media at a doorstop interview after a visit to Bentley Hospital in Perth, WA, on Monday 16 May 2022. fedpol ausvotes22 Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
WA Premier Mark McGowan. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

“Each males went too far of their political jousting, and each males litigated, however just one was prepared to attract again and keep away from a protracted and dear listening to.”

It ought to have been evident in December that the price of the litigation was “disproportionate to any profit it was prone to produce”, Justice Lee added.

Palmer’s lawyer Barry Dean earlier mentioned the supply had been made late in proceedings and would have disadvantaged his shopper of the court docket’s vindication.

“The principle level is that finally my shopper did succeed on his declare,” Dean informed the court docket.

Palmer had sought as much as $30 billion in damages over a 2012 determination by the previous Liberal state authorities to not assess his proposed Balmoral South iron ore venture.

The McGowan authorities in 2020 rushed by extraordinary laws to dam the declare.

Talking underneath parliamentary privilege on Thursday, McGowan claimed Palmer had sought to “pressure his hand” by the defamation lawsuit.

“His actual frustration was my authorities’s laws that stopped him taking us for $30 billion,” the premier mentioned.

“I consider his actual motivation was to get billions of {dollars} from taxpayers … by the assemble of suing me for defamation.”

The premier added that the $20,000 in damages he had been awarded can be returned to state coffers.

Justice Lee final week discovered McGowan’s insults in opposition to Palmer – together with labelling him an “enemy of the state” – weren’t trivial however finally prompted little or no injury to his repute.

Palmer’s assaults on McGowan had most likely solely enhanced the premier’s repute and recognition inside his house state, the decide mentioned.

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