Queensland Nickel liquidators blast Clive Palmer in court

QUEENSLAND Nickel liquidators have blasted Clive Palmer in court, saying the billionaire political candidate used his busy schedule as a "broken record" to make excuses for delays and wasted their time.

The liquidators hit back at Mr Palmer's lawyers using his "busy schedule", including political commitments, and a trip to Fiji to see a sick friend as an excuse for delays, slamming the claims as a furphy.

The liquidation case of Mr Palmer's failed nickel refinery was mentioned in the Federal Court today after the billionaire, who has been publicly examined in the case a number of times, refused to properly sign the transcripts of the hearings as ordered by the court, instead writing the words "not sure" and "not true" on some of the documents.

Registrar Murray Belcher said examinees were required to sign the court transcript of their hearings so the documents became part of the public record and could be used in further proceedings against them.

 

Clive Palmer campaigning in Hobart
Clive Palmer campaigning in Hobart

 

Barrister Robert Newlinds SC told the court that in the week leading up to today's hearing and up until hours before it began, Mr Palmer's representatives were "steadfastly sticking to their guns" but "rolled over" and agreed to the court order for the documents to be signed when the hearing began.

"No sensible person properly advised in Mr Palmer's position would have opposed these orders and more importantly perhaps would have written the words on the transcript that he did in the first place," Mr Newlinds said.

Mr Palmer's Barrister Edmund Robinson said they should not have to pay the liquidators costs for the hearing because he believed the notations were in compliance with the order, that he hadn't opposed the liquidators requests in today's hearing and because of delays.

"The question insofar as there being any delay, the issue of Mr Palmer's availability, there have been ongoing issues that have resulted in various business commitments and political commitments," he said.

"I understand from correspondence and by the instructing solicitors for the liquidators that some reliance might be placed on media reports suggesting Mr Palmer has been in Fiji.

"I'm instructed that is as a result of visiting an unwell friend."

But Mr Newlinds said Mr Palmer should have to pay their costs for "wasting" time.

"The second point was in some way Mr Palmer seeks to be relieved from a special cost order because he rolled over today but that rather misses the point," he said.

"The rolling over today only emphasises how the special purpose liquidators costs have been totally wasted by Mr Palmer's conduct."

Mr Newlinds said there was no evidence Mr palmer thought what he wrote on the documents was appropriate and said if the billionaire chose not to seek legal advice "then he pays the consequences".

"And finally we're back to the old broken record that he's a busy man," he said.

"But this time he's not busy because he's running for an election in the commonwealth of Australia's upcoming election.

"He's now apparently busy because he's visiting someone in Fiji - that is a furphy in our respectful submission.

"We are here because he acted unreasonably and he took an unreasonable legal position, there's no reason why the Special Purpose Liquidators and therefore creditors should be out of pocket."

Registrar Belcher ordered Mr Palmer to pay the liquidator's cost and ordered he sign the transcripts without notations by May 21.