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WA wins out over Clive Palmer’s legal challenge

Mining billionaire Clive Palmer has lost a High Court challenge against border closures in Western Australia amid behaviour that has been described as “shocking” by MPs.

user iconNaomi Neilson 16 November 2020 Big Law
WA wins out over Clive Palmer’s legal challenge
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The High Court has dismissed a legal application by the mining billionaire Mr Palmer to have Western Australia’s Emergency Management Act and directions to shutter its borders ruled in breach of section 92 of the constitution. He was ordered to pay costs. 

The Western Australian government told the court that closures were justified because they were “reasonable and necessary” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 


Chief Justice Susan Kiefel ruled that the act complied with the constitution and that its directions did not raise a constitutional issue. 

WA Premier Mark McGowan welcomed the decision, adding that it would help with his other legal fights with Mr Palmer in courts on several other matters. 

“His conduct in this matter has been shocking. It has ignored the best of health advice for his own reasons,” Mr McGowan told media. “We are keeping the border controls in place for the foreseeable future. This decision backs in the decisions we have made.” 

Other legal battles include Mr Palmer’s desire to seek damages over a 2012 decision made by the former government to not assess his proposed Balmoral South iron ore mine in the Pilbara. He has filed an application in the Federal Court seeking to force the withdrawal of legislation that was drawn up and approved to combat this.