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Clive Palmer set to launch legal action against WA after billionaire was locked out of the state



Clive Palmer set to launch legal action against WA after billionaire was locked out of the state

Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer will launch legal action against Western Australia, claiming it’s ‘unconstitutional’ that he was denied entry into the state due to its tough border closures.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has taken a no holds barred approach to stopping the spread of coronavirus, and closed off the state’s borders in early April.

Exemptions were put in place for essential services, but the state even put an end to travel between regions to avoid community transmission.

But Palmer said the closure has breached Section 92 of the Australian Constitution, which states ‘trade, commerce, and intercourse among the States… shall be absolutely free’.

Palmer does regular business in WA, and applied this week applied to the police for an exemption to allow him to fly on his private jet from Queensland to the west.

The United Australia Party leader intended to arrive in Perth on Friday, but the night before he was told his application had been rejected by WA Police.

Palmer has gathered his legal team and retained senior counsel to challenge the border closure in the High Court.

The 66-year-old referenced Australia’s deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly’s comments earlier this week that there was ‘no medical reason’ to ban interstate travel.

Palmer said his lawyers are currently working on the papers and solicitors are ‘collecting the evidence’.

‘The evidence is very damaging. Really there is no case for Western Australia to be able to close its borders on health grounds. The evidence from the Australian Government will clearly show that,’ Palmer told The West Australian.

‘They are prohibited from doing so under the Constitution, they just don’t have the power.’

Palmer argued that any police who act in accordance with the state government’s direction are breaking the law and can be sued for personal damages.

He said police told him he could apply for an exemption that would require him to provide details of where he goes while instate, which he slammed as ‘unacceptable conditions’.

Palmer’s plans on flying to Perth to meet Federal Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann are now put on hold due to his application being denied.

The businessman also had meetings lined up in relation his company Mineralogy.

Palmer hopes his court action leads to WA’s hard border closure coming to an end, and said Premier McGowan’s tough stance will ruin livelihoods.

‘No matter how popular McGowan is now, he won’t be very popular in three months when people in Western Australia are closed up when they don’t need to be and when they lose their livelihood and businesses are destroyed,’ he said.

WA has indicated borders reopening will be one of the last restrictions to be lifted, and said they could remain closed until the end of winter.
Mr McGowan said he believes the health and safety of his people is more important than trying to boost the struggling economy.

‘I know the New South Wales Premier is unhappy, I know Mr Birmingham is unhappy. But frankly, bad luck,’ he said.

‘We’re doing the right thing by the people of WA.

‘It might inconvenience the New South Wales premier and some people from the eastern states, but frankly, I don’t give a damn.’

Mr McGowan said he would not consider opening the borders again ‘as long as is necessary to protect the health of West Australians’, which could potentially see them closed for months to come.

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