Self-made billionaire and law school dropout Clive Palmer boasts that he’s got a 68-0 success rate in court cases. He used to list “litigation” as a hobby in his Who’s Who biography. Now he’s got Frank Lowy in his sights for his dramatic decision to kick Palmer’s Gold Coast United soccer team out of the A-league.
So how afraid should Lowy be? A look back at Palmer’s most high-profile legal stoushes reveals he has a formidable, if not unblemished, record.
February 2012: Palmer announces plans to sue QR National for $8 billion in damages over an alleged breach of agreement between the freight company and his China First coal project. China First alleges QR National had agreed to jointly develop rail and port facilities with the company to support its thermal coal project.
February 2012: Palmer sues Hyatt Hotels for $60 million, accusing the chain of siphoning money from his luxury Sunshine Coast golf resort and covering it up.
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November 2011: Palmer threatens to take the Gillard government to court over its carbon tax legislation, claiming foreign-owned companies such as BHP Billiton and Glenmore are unfairly receiving more compensation than his Queensland Nickel. No action has yet been taken.
November 2011: The NSW Supreme Court throws out a disgruntled shareholder’s claim that Palmer breached his duties as director when he bought the Yabulu nickel refinery in Townsville. The magnate purchased the refinery from BHP Billiton for just $10 million in 2009; in his first year of ownership it turned a $1.1 billion profit.
August 2010: Queensland premier Anna Bligh and deputy premierAndrew Fraser negotiate an out-of-court defamation settlement with Palmer. He launched the claim after Bligh accused him of ”buying” the Liberal National Party through donations in the lead up to the 2009 state election.
September 2009: Palmer slams the Foreign Investment Review Board as a ”racist body” and threatens to take the board’s executive director to the High Court if he continues to stymie Chinese investment in Australia.
April 2009: The Native Title Tribunal finds that Palmer’s company Mineralogy did not fulfil its obligation to act in good faith with Aboriginal elders in the Pilbara region during its application for an exploration licence.
February 2004: Palmer sues Bob Carr’s NSW government for $521 million in damages after plans to build a steel mill at Newcastle collapse. He eventually drops the lawsuit, saying he didn’t want to leave the taxpayer with a massive bill. The government had earlier paid Palmer’s company, Austeel, almost $10 million in compensation payments over delayed land purchases and preparatory works.