This story will be updated during the day. (Updated At 4PM WST)
By Ivan Leung & Nelson Liu
WA Premier Mark McGowan and Attorney General John Quigley has introduced an emergency bill to protect the state from bankruptcy over Clive Palmer’s $30 billion compensation claim.
The government will seek an emergency bill to be passed the both lower and upper houses with bipartisan approval in the next two days, in-order to prevent the massive payout being take place.
The claim has been bothering Western Australia with former WA Premier Colin Barnett rejected Mr Palmer’s plans to develop the Balmoral South iron ore project in Pilbara in August 2012 and June 2013.
The August 2012 proposal was rejected, and later significantly conditioned by former Premier Colin Barnett.
Mr McGowan believed Mr Barnett’s decision was correct as he was protecting WA.
“We believe Mr Barnett took the right cause of action to protect Western Australia at the time, as the proposal by Mr Palmer was flawed and without appropriate detail,” The Premier said.
“Mr Palmer intended to sell the Iron Ore project to a Chinese company. Mr Palmer is not happy with the decisions of Mr Barnett.”
“As a result, through the arbitration process that has been on going. The protectional financial consequences could be dire, absolutely dire for WA.”
When asked about why the extraordinary measures have been introduced, Premier Mark McGowan says the steps are necessary to protect the state.
Mr McGowan warned that the consequences will be dire for WA, with the $30 billion claim will mean $12,000 compensated by every single person in the state.
He says the $30 billion is equivalent to the state’s annual budget and mass sackings of all government services will happen if the claim is successful.
“I wasn’t elected to be soft, I wasn’t elected to give in,” Mr McGowan said.
“… Justice is Western Australians not giving $30 billion to Clive Palmer.”
He pleaded the state opposition to assist and pass both houses of Parliament as soon as possible this week.
The state opposition Liberal Party and the National Party has been brief by Clayton Utz last night and this morning on legislation matters.
Mr Palmer said the damages had yet to be assessed, stating the government’s claim of $30 billion ridiculous.
The issue has drawn a connection to WA’s hard border closure, with Mr Palmer currently issuing a High Court challenge to the McGowan Government to soften its stance.
WA Attorney General John Quigley has tabled a letter in state parliament written by the in-house counsel for Mr Palmer’s Mineralogy company, indicating Mr Palmer offered to withdraw his border challenge if officials moved arbitration hearings to Canberra.
It would allow Mr Palmer to attend the hearings in person.
Mr McGowan said that Mr Palmer risked the lives of Western Australians to make a profit through the request.
He is currently calling on other MPs to back unprecedented legislation to terminate the arbitration.
Meanwhile the government hopes to have its emergency bill passed by Thursday.
The Opposition has confirmed that it will back the government’s bid to block Mr Palmer’s damages claim.
Opposition Leader Liza Harvey says although the bill has the WA Liberal Party’s full support, a number of concerns needs to be debated in the chamber.
“The Liberal Party will be supporting the legislation,” Mrs Harvey said.
“But the Party room has a number of concerns in respect to accountability and transparency. These matters will be outlined the debate.”