Rob Johnson (Australian politician)

Robert Frank Johnson OAM (born 17 October 1943) is a former Australian politician who was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1993 to 2017. He was elected as a member of the Liberal Party, and served as a minister in the government of Colin Barnett from 2008 to 2012, but resigned from the party in 2016 to sit as an independent. He was defeated at the 2017 election.

Rob Johnson

Minister for Police,
Emergency Services and Road Safety
In office
23 September 2008 – 29 June 2012
Member of the Western Australian Parliament
for Hillarys
In office
14 December 1996 – 11 March 2017
Preceded byNew creation
Succeeded byPeter Katsambanis
Member of the Western Australian Parliament
for Whitford
In office
6 February 1993 – 14 December 1996
Preceded byPam Beggs
Personal details
Born17 October 1943
London, England
Political partyLiberal (to 2016)
Other political
Independent (from 2016)
ProfessionCompany chairman

Political careerEdit

Local politicsEdit

Johnson was born in London, England. At the age of 35 he was elected as a councillor to the London Borough of Sutton and subsequently became Mayor.[1]

Soon after emigrating to Australia in 1988 he was elected as a councillor to the City of Wanneroo in 1991. The following year he was elected Mayor.[1]

Western Australian ParliamentEdit

He was elected as the Member for Whitford in 1993 and, following a re-distribution of boundaries, was re-elected for the seat of Hillarys in 1996.[2]

He served in the Court government as Minister for Works; Services; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests from December 1999 until February 2001.[1]

Johnson became Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Road Safety with the return to power of the Coalition in September 2008.[2]

In his first two years as minister in the Barnett government, Johnson introduced 16 bills into the Legislative Assembly.[3] Many of them were controversial and high-profile[4] including increasing the impounding period of a vehicle for anyone convicted of a hoon offence.[5] Other measures were to ensure motorists with a blood alcohol reading of 0.08 or above lost their licence immediately at the roadside,[6] that all revenue from speed and red light cameras would go to road safety projects[7] and a proposal for Australia's first online sex offender register.[8]

Investigations following two major bushfires fires with the loss of 71 homes in the Perth hills[9][10] and in the Margaret River area resulted in severe criticism and Johnson losing the Emergency Services portfolio.[11]

Before the findings of the inquiries in 2011, political commentator Peter van Onselen named Johnson among Australia's 'Top ten politicians you could trust', writing that "he is real and what you see is what you get".[12] The following year Federal Liberal MP for Canning Don Randall attacked Johnson in the Federal Parliament, labelling him bumbling, weak and incompetent.[4] In turn, Johnson called for Randall to be sacked over misused expenses claims.[13]

He was removed from the Emergency Services Portfolio on 6 December 2011 and the Police and Road Safety portfolio on 29 June 2012 in a Cabinet reshuffle by Premier Colin Barnett.[2][14][15] At the 2013 Western Australian State Election, Johnson was re-elected to the seat of Hillarys.[16]

Business careerEdit

After arriving in Australia he started a family business incorporating an investment firm and a national computer distributorship.[1]

He is also the current chair of Radio Lollipop (Australia), a children's charity that cares for children in hospital.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Rob Johnson biography". Department of the Premier and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 26 February 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Hon. Robert (Rob) Frank Johnson MLA JP". Western Australian Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  3. ^ Mr R.F. Johnson (25 November 2010). "Liberal–National Government—Law and Order Policies" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Western Australia: Legislative Assembly. pp. 9698b–9699a.
  4. ^ a b Parker, Gareth (10 May 2012). "Johnson cops more Liberal flak". The West Australian. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  5. ^ Pownall, Angela (11 September 2011). "First car crushed under licence laws". The West Australian. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Drink drivers face immediate licence suspension" (Press release). Government of Western Australia. 23 September 2010. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Government plans public sex offender register". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  9. ^ "WA fire boss Jo Harrison-Ward sacked after scathing bushfire report". Perth Now. News Limited. AAP. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  10. ^ DeCeglie, Anthony (17 August 2012). "Minister Turned Blind Eye to FESA Failings". Perth Now. News Limited. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Johnson dumped from emergency services role". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  12. ^ Van Onselen, Peter. "van Onselen: Politicians you can trust". Perth Now. News Corp. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Expenses claim: Don Randall should be sacked - WA Liberal Rob Johnson". Perth Now. News Corp. AAP. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Rob Johnson disappointed at Cabinet dumping". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  15. ^ Parker, Gareth (28 June 2012). "Police Minister axed in Cabinet reshuffle". The West Australian. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  16. ^ "Hillarys - 2013 Western Australian Election". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
Western Australian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Pam Beggs
Member for Whitford
Succeeded by
Seat abolished
New seat Member for Hillarys
Succeeded by
Peter Katsambanis