Business, Finance & Economics

Australian Billionaire Clive Palmer threatens legal action over carbon tax


Up in arms — mining magnate Clive Palmer gestures during a press conference in Perth, Australia.


Tony Ashby

Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has threatened to take the Australian government to court over its carbon tax, claiming the levy is unconstitutional. 

The tax, passed by parliament in November, will be levied on 500 large companies from July 1, requiring that they pay $23 per ton of carbon dioxide they produce, the Fairfax press reported.

The mining magnate — recently embroiled in legal action against Australia's peak soccer body — first threatened the move against the carbon tax, passed by parliament in November last year.

(More from GlobalPost: Australian soccer gives billionaire team owner Clive Palmer the boot

He said he now has legal advice that the carbon tax were unconstitutional.

"Our advice is that the carbon tax in its current form is unconstitutional," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation late Wednesday.

"I think the constitution of Australia is much more important than having a number of lawyers or parliament trying to slip around it."

Asked during the ABC TV interview whether launching such a challenge — at great personal expense — proved recent accusations by Treasurer Wayne Swan that rich Australians were using their wealth to distort public debate, he said: "We've all got the right to go to High Court."

(More from GlobalPost: Tough times for Australian billionaires)

A spokesman for Climate Change Minister Greg Combet told Fairfax: "The government is confident that there are no grounds for a challenge to the carbon price."