Clive Palmer sues Federal MP
CLIVE Palmer is suing his biggest political rival for half a million dollars, claiming Federal MP Cathy O'Toole defamed him during an on air interview with a Townsville radio personality.
In court documents filed with Brisbane's Supreme Court, Mr Palmer claims Ms O'Toole's radio interview with Steve Price in July this year "greatly injured" his reputation and that he has suffered and will continue to suffer loss and damage as a consequence.
During the interview, Ms O'Toole, who currently holds the Federal seat of Herbert that Mr Palmer has announced he will contest at the next election, makes comments about the 2016 collapse of the Queensland Nickel refinery.
"As far as I'm concerned, he (Clive Palmer) most certainly owed the workers that worked for him their entitlements and he also owes his greatest creditor the Federal Government the $74 million dollars FEG money, Fair Entitlement Guarantee," court documents attribute Ms O'Toole as saying in the interview.
"Primarily though he (Clive Palmer) needs to pay these workers.
"At the bottom of a complex web of companies which Clive owns he is the last man standing, I believe that he needs to ensure that those workers are paid their entitlements as well as the Federal Government - pay back the FEG money."
Mr Palmer is suing the politician for $389,500 in general damages and $110,500 in aggravated damages.
In a notice of intention to defend, Ms O'Toole's lawyers said the radio interview was given the day after Mr Palmer himself appeared on the same show and attacked her.
"In the course of the attack interview (Mr Palmer) launched a defamatory attack upon the reputation and integrity of (Ms O'Toole) in which, among other matters, (Mr Palmer) imputed that (Ms O'Toole) was preventing him from employing 100 people; (Ms O'Toole) prefers the interests of overseas companies to local unemployed workers; (Ms O'Toole) is untrustworthy; and (Ms O'Toole) wants to and has stopped developments that would have been good for the economy and people of Townsville," Ms O'Toole's legal team submitted.
"The defendant engaged in the interview for the purpose of responding to the attack.
"Said interview was of proper and legitimate interest to listeners. The defendant is and was the federal member for Herbert and was therefore responsible for advocating for the interests of her constituents including former QNI employees."
Earlier this year Mr Palmer also sued Townsville mayor Jenny Hill, saying she defamed him in an interview about the collapse of Queensland Nickel.
The pair were understood to have reached an out-of-court settlement in which Ms Hill paid the mining magnate $50,000 and issued a public apology.