MORRISON’S WA BORDER HUMILIATION

25 August 2020

The Federal Court has today delivered a humiliating rebuff to the Morrison Government and the Western Australian Liberals over their support for Clive Palmer’s bid to tear down WA’s border controls against COVID-19.
 
The Court has unequivocally ruled that the McGowan Government’s border restrictions are effective, and if COVID-19 is introduced to WA, it could have “catastrophic” health consequences for the state.
 
Attorney-General Christian Porter and the Morrison Government threw the entire weight of the Commonwealth’s legal resources behind Clive Palmer’s attack on Western Australia’s border laws. 
 
They sent the Commonwealth Solicitor-General, backed by the Australian Government Solicitor, to intervene in support of Clive Palmer’s challenge, and over three days called multiple witnesses, vigorously cross-examined Western Australia’s public health experts and produced evidence designed to damage Western Australia, and force open the state’s borders.
 
Then the Commonwealth tried to wash its hands of the affair but, as Justice Rangiah today made clear, the damage had already been done.
 
“..the prejudice to Western Australia has not been caused by the withdrawal, but by the Commonwealth having intervened in support of the Palmer party's case in the first place.”
Justice Darryl Rangiah, 25 August 2020
 
Clive Palmer’s challenge will now be heard by the High Court unless Mr Palmer listens to the wishes of Western Australians and withdraws.
 
Labor repeatedly called on the Morrison Government to withdraw from the case before hearings began.

Instead, the Commonwealth spent days in the Federal Court supporting Clive Palmer at taxpayers’ expense, fighting against the best interests of the people of Western Australia.
 
The people of WA will not forget this.