Palmer still suing McGowan for defamation, but offers to withdraw contempt of court case

The defamation action between Clive Palmer and WA Premier Mark McGowan will still end up in court after Mr Palmer's media adviser revealed he bungled a media statement on Sunday declaring the mining magnate was no longer pursuing the case.

The adviser clarified on Monday the matter of the Premier defaming Mr Palmer had not been withdrawn, instead he had written to Mr McGowan and Attorney-General John Quigley offering to withdraw the contempt of court action.

Clive Palmer and Mark McGowan.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen/Trevor Collens

"The statement should have referred to the High Court legal action of contempt of court against the WA Premier Mark McGowan and his Attorney General John Quigley where this action has been offered to discontinue," the adviser wrote.

"I released a media statement [on Sunday] on behalf of Clive Palmer without Mr Palmer’s approval. I issued the incorrect statement which inadvertently mentioned legal proceedings in the defamation case.

"The matter of the Premier defaming Clive Palmer remains and has not been withdrawn."

On Monday morning, Mr McGowan said he was yet to receive the offer.

Mr Palmer launched the contempt of court challenge in the High Court in August over claims emergency laws to shield the state from a potential $30 billion damages claim by his company Mineralogy were unconstitutional.

It was one of six court actions triggered by Mr Palmer last year as a bitter feud with the WA government intensified.

The defamation action, also filed in August in the Federal Court, claims Mr Palmer's reputation was damaged and his feelings hurt after Mr McGowan repeatedly referred to him as "the enemy of West Australia" and claimed he wanted to "bankrupt the state".

Mr McGowan countered his claims with his own taxpayer-funded defamation action, claiming Mr Palmer caused him distress and embarrassment and damaged his reputation by saying he "lied to the people of Western Australia" and was "abusing the parliamentary system".

The two parties are scheduled for a case management hearing on April 1.

With the contempt of court case withdrawn only three challenges remain now with the High Court challenge of WA's hard border regime thrown out in September and a move to register the damages claim in Queensland lost in November.

On Sunday, Mr Palmer also announced he would not contest the 2021 state election, stating Mr McGowan could "breathe easy".

The move was welcomed by both Mr McGowan and WA Liberal leader Zak Kirkup.

Mr Kirkup said despite previous voting deals with Mr Palmer's United Australia Party, the Liberals would not take any money or support from Mr Palmer ahead of the election.

"We hope every other political party in WA makes the same commitments so that we can show Mr Palmer the reality that he isn't welcome in our state," he said.

The Liberals' commitment has not stopped Mr McGowan from criticising past relationships the Liberals have had with Mr Palmer.

"We've seen over the last few years the Liberal Party and Clive Palmer work together, they've been very close allies and Mr Palmer runs huge advertising campaigns against state governments and will against my government to support the Liberal Party," he said.

"That has been the experience, I don't think it will be any different.

"What we saw over the last year is the Liberal Party support Clive Palmer in his efforts to bring down the border. They supported Clive Palmer in part in his efforts to take Western Australia for $30 billion and so they are still joined. They are still friends."

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