Court fight a moral responsibility: Palmer

Clive Palmer is facing trial over the collapse of Queensland Nickel.
Clive Palmer is facing trial over the collapse of Queensland Nickel.

Billionaire businessman Clive Palmer says he won't be settling a multi-million dollar claim by the liquidators of Queensland Nickel, which collapsed in early 2016 with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

He's vowed to continue fighting the massive federal government lawsuit against him and nephew Clive Mensink, insisting it's for the "greater good".

"I think I heard on the radio this morning there are $500 million in claims - well that's just ridiculous," he told reporters on Monday

"I've got a moral responsibility not to give up."

"It's (for) the greater good," he said.

Mr Palmer has already fought hard to have the Townsville refinery claim dismissed and describes it as baseless and a desperate, politically-motivated attack.

It took more than two years, three judges and countless adjournments for the government-appointed liquidators to get him to Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday.

They're trying to claw back hundreds of millions of dollars owed to creditors.

The 280-page claim also includes recovery of almost $70 million in taxpayer funds used to cover unpaid entitlements to about 800 workers sacked from the refinery.

However in the trial's first hour Justice Debra Mullins agreed to adjourn proceedings after the warring parties asked for time to talk.

It will recommence on Tuesday but first, the court is expected to consider Mr Palmer's last-minute legal bid to postpone it because an expert defence witness was reportedly "incapacitated".

Court documents lodged last Thursday say former liquidator Peter Dinoris is unavailable to testify that Mr Palmer had not acted as a shadow director or traded while insolvent, The Australian has reported.

If the trial is not delayed, Mr Palmer argues he will be denied natural justice and suffer "very significant prejudice".

The liquidators' claim, first lodged in the court in June 2017, names 21 defendants, including Mr Mensink and a string of Mr Palmer's companies.

The trial is expected to run for 45 days before Justice Mullins, who took over proceedings after Justices John Bond and David Jackson recused themselves.

Mr Palmer is representing himself during the trial.

Australian Associated Press