A top Queensland Nickel liquidator has raised doubts about Clive Palmer's efforts to save 555 workers from the scrap heap as the cash-strapped refinery hurtled towards collapse.
The billionaire businessman has repeatedly blamed administrators for the mass lay-off after his team called them in to help save the doomed Townsville refinery in early 2016.
But on Wednesday, the man Mr Palmer says is personally responsible for the job losses, FTI Consulting's John Park, hit back in the Brisbane Supreme Court.
Speaking from the witness box at a trial to hear the QN liquidators' $200 million claim against the mining magnate, Mr Park refused to agree Mr Palmer and his team wanted to save the jobs.
"I'm not so sure about that," he said when asked if Mr Palmer and his now fugitive nephew, Clive Mensink, had tried to avoid the workers' losing their jobs.
"We were not wanting to see 555 people walk out at 5pm on the 11th of March terminated," he said of FTI Consulting.
But Mr Palmer and Mensink's strategy changed after they resurrected a little-known clause in the QN joint venture agreement removing the administrators and QN as refinery managers.
The bold move left administrators personally responsible for QN, now a shell company with mounting debts, hundreds of workers it couldn't pay and no refinery to generate income.
Despite the Palmer camp's verbal promises to re-employ the workers in the new company, which was set up to operate the refinery, no offers of employment were made, Mr Park said.
"We had no choice. We had to terminate the staff," he said.
"That was a bad result for everyone."
Mr Palmer was expected to robustly cross-examine Mr Park on Wednesday, who he personally subpoenaed, but the former federal MP was a no show in court.
His continued absence has added to speculation about behind-the-scenes talks between the Palmer camp and liquidators, which are set to continue for a second night.
Lawyers have been tight-lipped in and outside court about what the discussions could mean for the massive lawsuit, however, a lawyer for Mr Palmer's companies has hinted some sort of resolution my soon be reached.
The trial resumes at 2.30pm on Thursday.
© AAP 2019