PERTH, AAP – Clive Palmer has predicted he will win his High Court battle with the state of Western Australia, claiming he has been subjected to “layers of persecution” that threaten the rule of law.
The full bench has reserved its decision and will reconvene on Tuesday, having concluded a four-day hearing in Canberra.
It relates to extraordinary legislation to prevent Mr Palmer and his company Mineralogy from claiming up to $30 billion in damages from WA taxpayers.
WA’s parliament last August passed a bill to amend a 2002 state agreement with Mineralogy and terminate arbitration between the two parties.
The legislation, introduced by the McGowan Labor government and hastily passed with bipartisan support, is designed to block Mr Palmer from suing over a decision by the former Liberal state government not to assess one of his mining projects.
Mr Palmer, who represented himself, has described the legislation as unconstitutional, “repugnant to justice” and “an abomination masquerading as a law”.
The billionaire mining magnate used his closing submissions to describe the passage of the bill as “a bad day for Australia”.
He said governments were seeking to disempower the courts and citizens.
“Fear is a dangerous element. State and Commonwealth intervention in these proceedings and their support for the amending act must be viewed against this background,” he said.
“Such interventions sound an ominous warning for Australia and Australians not yet born that they must defend the rule of law and the values embodied in the Australian constitution.
“I respectfully submit that the development of law in Australia has reached a crucial juncture.”
Mr Palmer has argued against the legislation on several fronts, including that it discriminated against him as a Queensland resident.
Stephen Free SC, representing the West Australian government, said the bill would have had the same effect upon Mr Palmer if he lived in WA.
“It is perfectly clear that there is no disability or discrimination of the relevant kind imposed on Mr Palmer or anyone else,” he said.
The state submits that the legislation was passed “in order to protect Western Australians from the crippling effects” of a $30 billion damages claim.
In a statement on Friday, Mr Palmer said the legislation had caused “a great deal of pain”.
“Our best arguments have been put forward this week and I believe we are in a strong position,” he said.
“Ultimately I believe the High Court will find in our favour and declare the act invalid.”
The High Court last year struck out Mr Palmer’s constitutional challenge to WA’s hard border closures during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Palmer also has a defamation claim against Premier Mark McGowan before the Federal Court, with the pair recently ordered to undertake face-to-face mediation.