Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan has urged Clive Palmer to end legal action against himself and the state as costs continue to rise.
A defamation case brought by Mr. Palmer was again brought before the Federal Court on Monday in connection with the discovery of certain documents.
But just before the hearing, the Prime Minister described a series of actions brought by the mining tycoon as “misdirection of resources”.
He said defending business was costly, but he and the state were obligated to do so.
“I would advise it or I would like it to stop and that way we could all get back to more important things,” McGowan told reporters.
State budget documents released earlier this month put the cost of Mr. Palmer’s defense claims at $ 1.47 million so far, with an estimated additional spending of $ 3.25 million. dollars over the next two years.
The Prime Minister said on Monday that he would not be surprised if costs were to rise further.
“But each of these cases is not ours. It is Mr. Palmer who is pursuing legal action against us which we then have to defend,” he said.
In court on Monday, Judge Michael Lee ordered the state government to produce any relevant documents it may have regarding the defamation case.
The court also learned that a date for mediation in the case has not yet been set, ahead of a scheduled trial which will begin at the end of January next year.
Mediation has already been delayed due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
Judge Lee said he would prefer all witnesses at the trial to appear in person, but he was told the border closure between WA and NSW would still have to be in place until March, making attendance difficult. of the Prime Minister without being forced to quarantine. on his return to Perth.
Last year, Palmer lodged a complaint against the prime minister, saying his public comments, including calling him “an enemy of Western Australia”, had damaged his reputation.
Mr. McGowan filed his own defamation counterclaim a month later.
A separate High Court case between Mr Palmer and the State of Western Australia is pending.
This is extraordinary legislation passed by the Washington State Parliament in August to amend a 2002 state agreement with Mr. Palmer’s mineralogy society and end arbitration between the two parties. .
The legislation is designed to prevent Mr. Palmer from claiming up to $ 30 billion in damages from the state.
The defamation case will return to court in November for another case management hearing.
Associated Australian Press