Palmer's nephew 'too sick for court'

Tracey Ferrier

Clive Palmer's globe trotting nephew claims he's too sick to return home to face questions about Queensland Nickel's collapse, with lawyers now considering whether to seek a warrant for his arrest.

Clive Mensink has been flitting around the world since he left Australia in June last year, five months after the nickel company went belly up with debts of about $300 million and the loss of 800 jobs.

He's gone close to reaching both the North and South Poles on luxury cruises plying Arctic and Antarctic waters.

He's also spent time in various European destinations, the US, South America and the transit hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore.

But he's been nowhere near his homeland of Australia during his nine-month voyage, where liquidators are waiting to ask him about his role as Queensland Nickel's sole registered director before it failed.

The frustration was apparent in the Federal Court on Tuesday, when it became clear Mr Mensink was not going to comply with a second order requiring his attendance.

"We've been informed Mr Mensink will not appear today," barrister Walter Sofronoff, for the nickel company's liquidators FTI Consulting, told registrar Murray Belcher.

"By his solicitor," he added dryly.

Mr Sofronoff asked for an adjournment of the summons, on a date to be fixed, but added consideration "may have to be given to making an application for the issue of an arrest warrant for Mr Mensink".

Outside the court, Mr Mensink's solicitor Sam Iskander said his client had filed an affidavit citing "medical grounds" for his absence.

But Mr Iskander could not shed any light on what was ailing his client, or where he was.

Asked if he could nominate a country, or even a continent, he replied: "No, not really."

After Tuesday's brief hearing, Mr Palmer also could not say what was wrong with his nephew, but said it was important to remember that neither he nor Mr Mensink were facing any charges over the collapse.

"In Australia, we've got to be a little bit careful of the tall poppy syndrome," Mr Palmer told AAP.

Mr Palmer said FTI had had plenty of time to serve Mr Mensink with orders to face court in the "two or three months" he spent working with them at the nickel company's Townsville refinery before he left to go overseas.

A spokesman for FTI said they had offered to pay "reasonable costs" for Mr Mensink to break from his travel to attend the hearing.

Mr Palmer argued Mr Mensink helped secure the jobs of refinery workers for an extra seven years after the former federal MP bought Queensland Nickel in 2009.

"That refinery paid $100 million in tax every year but the number of people out of work in Townsville would be on more than $100 million worth of social security every year," he said.

In a damning report to creditors last year, FTI said there was evidence that Mr Palmer had used Queensland Nickel as a piggy bank for his other companies and political party.

It also said there was evidence that Mr Palmer was really the one calling the shots at a time when Mr Mensink was the sole registered director.

Both men have blamed a slump in the world nickel price for the collapse and say the company would have traded out of trouble if government loans had been approved.