Michael Johnson (politician)

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For the current New South Wales state MP, see Michael Johnsen. For other politicians with similar names, see Michael Johnson (disambiguation).
Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson MP.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Ryan
In office
10 November 2001 – 21 August 2010
Preceded by Leonie Short
Succeeded by Jane Prentice
Personal details
Born (1970-01-31) 31 January 1970 (age 45)
Hong Kong
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal (2001–10)
Independent (2010)
Spouse(s) Huyen
Children Ryan (m)[citation needed]
Alma mater University of Queensland, University of Cambridge, University of Birmingham
Profession Barrister, Politician
Website www.michaeljohnsonmp.com

Michael Andrew Johnson (born 31 January 1970), an Australian federal politician, was a member of the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Ryan, Queensland, from 2001 to 2010, representing the Liberal Party from November 2001 to May 2010 and then as an independent from May 2010 until he was defeated at the 2010 federal election in August 2010.

Early years and education[edit]

He was born in Hong Kong, and was educated at St. Peters Lutheran College and later at the University of Queensland, the University of Cambridge, where he obtained an MPhil, and the University of Birmingham, where he obtained a master's degree in international studies. He was the Australian Chevening Scholar in 1994, the Charles Hawker Memorial Scholar in 1996 and was a 2004 graduate of the Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Leaders’ Program at Harvard. He lives in Brisbane's western suburbs with his wife, Huyen, and their son Ryan.[citation needed]

Johnson was a barrister and a university tutor and lecturer before entering politics. He was named in 2007 as a Young Global Leader (YGL) by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF). He is Chairman of the Australia-China Business Forum, and is a Member of the Asia Society’s International Advisory Board and sits on the Australian Advisory Board.

Political career[edit]

Johnson first sought to gain Liberal endorsement for Ryan, following the retirement of long-serving member, John Moore. Factional rivalries between Johnson and other candidates for preselection led to rampant branch stacking.[1] Johnson had been expected to win preselection, having arranged many of the new members in local branches. He was accused by opponents in the party of signing up ethnic Chinese with only limited connections to the Liberal Party, many from outside the Ryan electorate, and in at least one case, outside Australia.[1] Unfortunately for Johnson, it was revealed he had failed to properly renounce his British citizenship and was ruled ineligible to contest preselection. Former state Liberal President Bob Tucker won preselection for the by-election, losing that contest to Labor's Leonie Short. However, by the time of the 2001 Federal election, Johnson had sorted out his citizenship, won party pre-selection and then won the seat back from Short.[1]

There have also been public allegations regarding internal party funds,[2] what he describes as his "unorthodox" fundraising of asking businesses for fees for introductions he facilitates in his capacity as an MP,[3] and the alleged improper use of a publicly funded vehicle.[4]

Johnson previously held the position of Opposition Whip in the Federal Liberal Party. He resigned from the post when allegations that he had misused his taxpayer funded vehicle were investigated.[5]

Expulsion from the LNP[edit]

In 2010, controversy emerged regarding business dealings involving Johnson and the Australia-China Business Forum, of which he was the Chair.[6] On 20 May 2010, he was expelled from the Liberal National Party, the Queensland branch of the Liberal and National parties. Johnson vowed to contest Ryan as an Independent at the 2010 federal election.[7] In June 2010, Jane Prentice, a Brisbane City Councillor, was chosen by the LNP to stand for Ryan.[8]

On 2 June 2010, Johnson read out a letter to Parliament which he sent to the Australian Federal Police alleging he was subject to "illegal pressure" to resign from Federal Parliament by the Liberal National Party President Bruce McIver, during a meeting on 25 February in Canberra.[9] During the meeting Johnson claimed that McIver produced a large black folder which he alleged contained material and documents that was evidence of alleged criminal behavior by Johnson.[9] McIver denies the claims that he asked him to resign from Parliament, though openly admits he asked Johnson to quit the LNP.[10]

At the 2010 federal election, Johnson secured less than 9% of the primary vote and was easily defeated by Liberal National candidate, Jane Prentice.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Green, Antony. "Election Guide 2007 - Ryan". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 
  2. ^ AAP, 'MP denies 'slush fund' allegations', 21 March 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  3. ^ "Liberal MP Michael Johnson defends 'unorthodox' fundraising practices". The Australian. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  4. ^ Viellaris, Renee (30 November 2009). "MP Michael Johnson at centre of federal car probe". News.com.au. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  5. ^ Viellaris, Renee (30 November 2009). "Michael Johnson investigated over use of Commonwealth car". Courier Mail. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  6. ^ Fraser, Andrew; Elks, Sarah (19 May 2010). "China deal commission not for me: Liberal MP Michael Johnson". The Australian. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Michael Johnson expelled from LNP". The Australian. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  8. ^ "LNP endorses popular councillor Jane Prentice for Ryan". The Australian. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  9. ^ a b Chalmers, Emma (2 June 2010). "MP Michael Johnson alleges blackmail bid". Courier Mail. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  10. ^ Coorey, Phillip (3 June 2010). "Furious denials from LNP over blackmail claims". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  11. ^ "First Preferences and Two Candidate Preferred - Ryan". 2010 Federal election. Australian Electoral Commission. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Leonie Short
Member for Ryan
Succeeded by
Jane Prentice