Statement from Michael Johnsen
It is with a heavy heart that I will be tendering my resignation from the NSW Parliament as the Member for Upper Hunter – a regional economic powerhouse that has been my great privilege to serve. And I believe I have served it well, having bought hundreds of millions of dollars of government investment into the electorate during my tenure.
A serious allegation has been made against me via the process of parliamentary privilege and the immediate leaking of my name to the media associating it with the speech – an action with clear political intent by that member of parliament and her support team to politically and personally damage me outside of the due process already underway.
I vehemently deny this allegation, which is devastating, unfair and unfounded. And has significantly impacted on my mental health and overall wellbeing. Given the harassment of some sections of the media, which has gone beyond that which could considered professional, the only way of navigating this situation has been to withdraw from public life.
I am an imperfect human and I own that. I will fight the allegation and expect to have my name cleared, as it just didn’t happen. However the needs of the electorate come first and that is the approach I have always taken, often at great personal sacrifice such as the role of a member of parliament demands and many may not fully realise.
In my time as their representative for Upper Hunter, myself and the community working together have significantly enhanced the electorate with new, upgraded and/or funded yet-to-be-built infrastructure including bypasses, roads, bridges, schools, TAFE NSW campuses, hospitals, sporting facilities and kids’ playgrounds, and improvements to community halls, rural showgrounds, public spaces and arts and culture as well as the delivery of health, education and community services.
Together we have worked through damaging floods, drought, bushfires, pandemic, and all manner of personal issues that many of the constituents in my electorate have faced and sought the help of my office with. I am proud and privileged to have been in a position to help, and to improve many of their lives and that of the overall community as a result.
I pay tribute to my skilled and loyal staff. This situation has not been easy for them and I cannot thank them enough for their unwavering support. I will sincerely miss working alongside them for the benefit of our shared community.
I also thank the NSW Nationals members and parliamentary members for the opportunity to have been a part of their dynamic teams whose focus is always on improving the lives of people living, working and investing in rural and regional NSW.
I also sincerely thank the many colleagues, government and business associates and friends that have sent so many messages of support. This has been extremely humbling and I am forever grateful and thankful.
My partner and my family are my priority now, and I also thank them for their incredible love and support without which, at this stressful time, I could not do without.
I will make no further statements and ask that our privacy is respected now and in the future.
This website is authorised by Michael Johnsen MP, and funded using Parliamentary entitlements.
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I am a countryman at heart. I always have been and I always will be. I am lucky to have spent more than 30 years now in the Upper Hunter, and you know what… I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My family has a long history in the Hunter. In fact, my ancestors, William and Elizabeth Bird operated the punt over the river at Morpeth in the mid-nineteenth century. And why wouldn’t they choose this beautiful area to live. We have it all here.
The rolling hills and valleys, our first class mining, wineries and equestrian industries, our vibrant infrastructure and solid foundation of traditional and modern architecture. I feel very lucky to have now spent more than 30 years as a resident of the Upper Hunter.
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