WA Taxpayers Bear Brunt of Massive Legal Bills in Premier’s Ego Game

Aug 11, 2022 | Nick Goiran MLC, State News

Today’s decision by the Federal Court in the case of Palmer v McGowan (No 6) [2022] FCA 927 has left WA taxpayers funding massive legal bills of Premier McGowan with only a small proportion to be recouped from billionaire Clive Palmer.

“Make no mistake, we the WA taxpayers now have to cover the majority of Premier McGowan’s legal costs because he defamed a billionaire and elected to bring his own partially successful cross-claim”, said Shadow Attorney General Nick Goiran.

Justice Lee today made four orders dealing with the costs of this litigation which he had referred to as “not worth the candle”.

“While it is a relief to receive the good news that West Aussie taxpayers will not be required to pay for any of Clive Palmer’s legal costs in his successful defamation claim against Mark McGowan, the bad news is that we will still have to cover every cent of the Premier’s failed defence of that claim, all because he defamed the billionaire”.

“The other very bad news is that West Aussie taxpayers will also have to cover every cent of Mark McGowan’s cross-claim up until 11am on 22 December 2021 plus a portion of all his costs after that date.”

“Be under no illusion here, that the cost to West Aussie taxpayers is going to be minor – we will all be paying the majority of the Premier’s legal bills. Clive Palmer will be a mere contributor.”

During today’s interlocutory hearing to award costs, Justice Lee stated “Both men went too far in their political jousting” and that Mr McGowan had also defamed Mr Palmer.

“Had Mr McGowan acted like a statesman and refrained from engaging in these ego games, Western Australia wouldn’t now be left funnelling money better used fixing the hospital, housing and child protection crisis our State is currently facing.“

“There are no more excuses for the Premier. He can no longer hide and say he is waiting for this matter to be finalised. The Federal Court has decided, and taxpayers are entitled to know how much they are covering.”

“He promised gold-standard transparency 5 years ago but has never delivered on this promise. It is time for him to stop his utterly pointless ego game with this billionaire and come clean on how much he has expensed to taxpayers.”