WA Taxpayers bear brutal legal bills after Premier breaks the law

Western Australian taxpayers are left counting the brutal cost now that the Premier has finally revealed the magnitude of the cost of a Federal Court action in which he was found to have broken defamation laws.

Since August, when the Federal Court made its decision in the case of Palmer v McGowan (No 6) [2022] FCA 927 the Opposition issued multiple warnings that WA taxpayers would be left to fund the majority of the massive legal bills incurred by Premier McGowan.

Throughout this time, the Opposition have repeatedly called on the Premier to reveal the true cost of the litigation.

“For the Premier to now confess that he has only been able to recover 22% of his legal bills which were only brought about because he defamed Mr Palmer is the worst of Christmas presents,” said Shadow Attorney General Nick Goiran.

“The problem for taxpayers is that the Premier’s intemperance and arrogance has now cost us all more than $1.5 million dollars.

“It is understandable that so many West Aussies already battling with the increased cost of living this Christmas, will be outraged that they have to pay this entirely avoidable legal bill belonging to the Premier.

“Let’s not forget that this was the case in which the Premier’s friend and Attorney General was found to have been unreliable, confused and confusing. In fact, his performance in court was so bad that he asked to re-do his evidence.”

Justice Lee, who decided the case, referred to it as “not worth the candle”.

“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,” continued Mr Goiran.

“When will the Premier release the full costs of his entirely unsuccessful defence? Why does he try to hide this by conflating those costs with his entirely optional cross-claim? And how much did it cost to have the unreliable Attorney General give a sequel performance of his evidence in the Sydney court?

“The Premier promised gold-standard transparency 6 years ago but continues to fail to deliver on this promise. How ironic it is that during this incredibly expensive, utterly avoidable court case, the Premier arrogantly gave evidence saying ‘Gold standard transparency doesn’t apply to every single thing you do’.

“The Premier should itemise all his legal costs rather than trying to bury the inconvenient and uncomfortable truth in one lump sum account to taxpayers,” said Mr Goiran.