'Bad blood from WA could be behind Palmer attack'
AN arbitrated Western Australian decision in Clive Palmer's favour and which may have severe financial ramifications for the Liberal Western Australian Government may be at the heart of a concentrated attack on Fairfax MP Clive Palmer by Queensland's Premier and Deputy Premier and WA Premier Colin Barnett.
The decision was confidential to the party's involved - Mr Palmer's Mineralogy, the Chinese-owned International Minerals and the WA Government - until it was tabled in Queensland Parliament at 1am last Friday by Palmer United Party Queensland leader Dr Alex Douglas.
The document can be accessed on the Queensland Parliament website but Hansard's recording of the matter won't be included in the record of proceedings until today.
The decision found that Mr Barnett, the WA Mines Minister, failed to deal with in accordance with legislation a Mineralogy application for a project to mine and export ore from its Susan Palmer deposit named after Mr Palmer's late first wife.
The arbitrator Michael McHugh's judgment noted that Mineralogy had foreshadowed a potential claim for damages based on Mr Barnett's breach in failing to deal with the August, 2012, submission.
However he said no evidence had been tendered in support of such a claim and it was not appropriate for him to make an order in respect of it.
The damages claim, which could be as high as $1 billion, is now likely to be pursued in another court with Mr Palmer saying delays had cost mum and dad investors hundreds of millions of dollars.
Days after Mr McHugh's judgment Mr Barnett accused Mr Palmer of using his position unfairly to make it extremely difficult Chinese investors in Australian iron ore exploration to make the projects work successfully.
"I've spent hours and hours negotiating issues with Clive in good faith and then found that he will try and exploit any small discrepancy, and he's doing that with the relationship with Chinese investors in our iron ore industry,'' Mr Barnett said.
"It's not doing this state any good at all."
Mr McHugh found that Mineralogy's Susan Palmer deposit application was properly made and should have been dealtl with.
He ordered the WA government to pay his costs and expenses.
Dr Douglas said that he had tabled the decision to address attacks on his own reputation by Campbell Newman.
He said Mr Newman had claimed his motivation for raising issues in Parliament had been inducements from Mr Palmer.
"This is all about base political motives,'' he said. "Barnett lied and knew it. He has caused his state to be placed in a vulnerable position."
Meanwhile Mr Palmer took aim at neighbouring Fisher MP Mal Brough who has been criticising the billionaire's parliamentary attendance record.\
"Mal Brough seems more concerned about Fairfax than (his own electorate) Fisher,'' Mr Palmer said.
"At the next election he could always come across and stand against me.
"He should come to my Fairfax Festival Weekend and get some feedback from people.
"If it's successful we will have a Fisher Day."
Mr Seeney told Queensland Parliament that nothing Mr Palmer said could be believed.
"He bought the Member for Gaven (Alex Douglas) and Member for Yeerongpilly (Carl Judge) and started his own party," Mr Seeney said.