Clive Palmer’s nearly $ 30 billion claim for damages against the government of Western Australia will cause the mass closing of hospitals and schools, argued the Premier when making an unprecedented attempt to block the suit.
Mr Palmer’s Mineralogy business is seeking WA for damages from the then-Liberal government’s decision in 2012 to refuse to formally examine its planned Balmoral South Iron Ore mine in the Pilbara area.
WA Attorney-General John Quigley told state parliament late Tuesday that Mr Palmer and his related Mineralogy and International Minerals firms were seeking a total of $27.7 billion minus expenses-a figure Mr Palmer denies.
Premier Mark McGowan has called the move “obscene” and encourages the state opposition and crossbenchers to back unprecedented legislation to block the motion.
“He is trying to take our money and if he’s successful that would mean mass closures of hospitals, of schools, of police stations, mass sackings … it is an extreme risk to Western Australia,” Mr McGowan told reporters on Wednesday.
“I will not risk selling Western Australia down the drain to Clive Palmer.”
Mr Palmer argued that he and the WA government had already agreed to mediate the conflict, adding the new legislation that would end arbitration between the two parties would harm the credibility of the State.
“The attorney-general really says that he thinks ‘we’re guilty and we’re going to have to pay up’,” he told Perth radio 6PR.
“I think it would be very bad to do. Western Australia’s been a very successful state based on the sanctity of its state agreement and its sovereign risk.
“If it passes this act, all that’s out the window. Its credit rating’s liable to go down and people that have invested in this state will be worried about what’s going to happen.”
Mr Palmer said the damages were yet to be assessed, labelling talk of a $30 billion claim “bulls***”.