WA Premier Mark McGowan has launched his own defamation lawsuit against mining magnate Clive Palmer, adding to the legal saga between the pair.
WA Premier Mark McGowan has launched his own defamation lawsuit against mining magnate Clive Palmer, adding to the legal saga between the pair.

Palmer gets ‘taste of his own medicine’

WA Premier Mark McGowan is counter-suing mining magnate Clive Palmer for defamation, which one legal expert says gives the billionaire a "taste of his own medicine".

The Premier alleges in his Federal Court claim he was defamed on at least seven occasions by Mr Palmer in interviews, online posts and advertisements, causing him "hurt and embarrassment", as well as "loss and damage".

Among the allegations is that the Queenslander suggested the Premier was open to multimillion-dollar bribes from Chinese interests.

"He called me a criminal, he compared me to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein and Richard Nixon, he said I was corrupt. I mean, it's pretty defamatory stuff," Mr McGowan told reporters on Wednesday.

"I've been advised to put in a cross-claim against him … any money that comes out of this defamation proceeding will go directly to the state."

Mr McGowan said it was standard procedure for him to use taxpayer money to defend himself.

"I, of course, won't get a cent out of it … I suspect the taxpayers will get a big cheque," he said.

The state opposition has been critical of the Premier's legal move, but University of Western Australia law school senior lecturer Michael Douglas says a cross-claim makes sense.

"Clive has provided the Premier with more than enough ammunition for a defamation action," he said.

"Just because barbs were thrown in each direction won't necessarily weaken the Premier's case.

"This whole episode is probably a neat illustration of why politicians should not be suing one another in defamation. The Premier is giving Clive a taste of his own medicine."

WA Premier Mark McGowan has launched defamation proceedings against Clive Palmer, who has already launched defamation proceedings against the Premier. Picture: Colin Murty/The Australian
WA Premier Mark McGowan has launched defamation proceedings against Clive Palmer, who has already launched defamation proceedings against the Premier. Picture: Colin Murty/The Australian

The Premier said Mr Palmer repeated his allegedly defamatory comments numerous times and took out ads that "annoyed the hell out of everyone".

"His conduct has been really, really woeful," Mr McGowan told reporters.

"I've had to defend the state now on eight occasions against Mr Palmer … we will fight him for all we're worth."

The bitter legal stoush between the parties has gone on for months.

Mr Palmer is challenging WA's allegedly unconstitutional COVID-19 border closure and has an estimated $30 billion claim against the state over the stalled Balmoral South iron ore project.

In August, the WA government passed unprecedented legislation to kill that damages claim by blocking arbitration and any liability by the state, but Mr Palmer is fighting that too.

NCA NewsWire has contacted Mr Palmer for comment.

Originally published as Palmer gets 'taste of his own medicine'