A divorced MP is under mounting pressure to resign after he was accused of sending a sex worker lewd texts during parliamentary business and allegedly offered to pay her $1,000 for a romp in his office.
The ABC on Tuesday revealed that it had obtained ‘hundreds’ of text and social media messages between NSW National Party MP Michael Johnsen and the unnamed woman.
Mr Johnsen seen in state Parliament on his mobile phone
Johnsen has strongly denied claims he sexually assaulted that same woman during an alleged paid meet up at a Blue Mountains lookout in September 2019. NSW Police are investigating the claims.
The Upper Hunter MP was removed from the National Party and Coalition party rooms last week after Labor MP Trish Doyle revealed the alleged incident under parliamentary privilege last week.
Ms Doyle didn’t name the MP but Johnsen later outed himself as the man accused in order to issue a firm denial and announce he was taking leave.
But explosive texts published by the national broadcaster today have Johnsen’s career hanging by a thread, with Deputy Premier John Barilaro calling on him to immediately resign from Parliament what he called allegedly ‘disgusting behaviour’.
The messages allegedly feature Johnsen commenting upon how physically aroused he was about the sex worker during parliamentary business, him fantasising about her during Question Time and sending her an obscene video.
Text messages allegedly sent by Michael Johnsen to the sex worker that were published by the ABC on Tuesday show him allegedly telling her he was physically aroused sitting in the chamber, after receiving a topless image of the woman
Separate texts allegedly show Johnsen suggesting that the pair have sex in his State Parliament office, the national broadcaster reported
Separate messages allegedly show Johnsen suggesting the pair have sex in his State Parliament office after he sat through a three hour Budget estimates hearing.
‘My PH office could be fun … come to the Jubilee Room and wait for me there,’ Mr Johnsen allegedly said in a September 9, 2019, exchange.
The encounter reportedly never happened.
The ABC reported that the woman sent him a topless image of herself on September 24.
‘Hmmm … not fair. I’m sitting in the chamber with a h**d on now! Xxx’,’ he reportedly replied.
Two days later, on September 26, Johnsen allegedly texted: ‘I’m in QT (Question Time) and f*** I’m horny and want you so bad – need you.
‘I want you and can’t wait to f*** you over and over again.’
Parliamentary video allegedly shows Mr Johnsen on his mobile phone at the time, the ABC investigation said.
That same afternoon, Mr Johnsen allegedly sent her a video of a man masturbating in a toilet while holding a picture of her.
A bombshell ABC report has alleged that Nationals MP Michael Johnsen sent a series of lewd messages to a sex worker from the floor of New South Wales state parliament. He last week denied an allegation he sexually assaulted a sex worker in the Blue Mountains in September 2019
A separate text message allegedly featured a video where a man was seen allegedly masturbating in a toilet
When asked about the report on Radio 2GB, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: ‘If that is correct I am absolutely disgusted.
‘For many women in public life when you know the challenges that exist – when colleagues or former colleagues do that type of thing- it is just beyond disgusting.’
Her deputy Mr Barilaro went one step further, saying he contacted Johnsen – who has already been suspended from the National Party – and told him to resign from state Parliament.
‘Following reports this morning I contacted Mr Johnsen to express the view that his position as a Member of Parliament is untenable,’ he said.
‘This is disgusting behaviour and will never be acceptable, nor should it be, and I’m calling for Mr Johnsen to resign from Parliament immediately.’
The allegations against Mr Johnsen are the latest in a string of accusations engulfing the Liberal Party, particularly in federal parliament, since former staffer Brittany Higgins said she was raped in a senior government minister’s office in March last year.
Johnsen issued a statement last Wednesday vehemently denying the rape claim and adding that he had both voluntarily spoken to NSW Police and would cooperate with their continuing investigation into the rape claim.
Gladys Berejiklian says she’s disgusted by a report that a coalition colleague offered a woman money to have sex with him at NSW Parliament
‘I am devastated by these allegations.
‘I am confident any investigation will conclude that I am an innocent party.
‘Without admission, I have chosen to step aside from my Parliamentary Secretary role, and will not sit in the Nationals Party Room nor the Joint Party Room.
‘I will be taking leave effective immediately for a short duration.
‘As the matter is with the NSW Police I will make no further public comment.’
Johnsen has not publicly commented on the publication of the text messages.
Six months before that alleged incident Mr Johnsen, a former parliamentary secretary for agriculture, admitted to liking a series of sexist and very suggestive Facebook pages, including ones about oral sex.
His marriage of 30 years ended shortly following his election to State Parliament in 2015.
His ex-wife told a local newspaper that she blamed ‘politics, the culture that surrounds it and the lifestyle it entails’ as the reason it ended.