Premier wants MP to quit after revelations of shock sexting messages

Michael Johnsen allegedly offered to pay a sex worker $1000 to have sex in Parliament House.

Michael Johnsen allegedly offered to pay a sex worker $1000 to have sex in Parliament House. Photo: ABC

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she is “absolutely disgusted” by Michael Johnsen and has called for his resignation after revelations the Nationals MP asked a sex worker to have sex with him at Parliament House.

The ABC has revealed lewd text messages Mr Johnsen sent to the sex worker while he was in Question Time and has seen an obscene video he sent to the woman showing a man masturbating in a toilet.

Last week, Labor MP Trish Doyle used parliamentary privilege to accuse an unnamed Coalition government member of rape in 2020.

Mr Johnsen later admitted he was the MP in question but strongly denied the allegation.

The NSW Police Sex Crimes Squad is investigating the alleged sexual assault of the sex worker Mr Johnsen sent the text messages to.

Mr Johnsen, who is on the crossbench, stepped aside from his parliamentary secretary role last week and pledged he would not sit in the Nationals party room nor the joint party room until the police investigation was complete.

He was also suspended from the National Party.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said he contacted Mr Johnsen on Tuesday morning and told him his position as a member of Parliament was untenable.

“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,” Mr Barilaro said.

“It is now up to Mr Johnsen to reconsider his position as an independent member of Parliament.”

Ms Berejiklian said she stands by Mr Barilaro and proclaimed “a lot of us have had enough”.

“I don’t know what other word I can use apart from absolutely disgusted,” she said.

“As someone who has been in public life for a long time I know the challenges that are there for women, I have experienced them myself.

“This goes to the heart of cultural change that’s needed not only in government and politics but in every sphere of society.”

nsw coalition crisis

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has also told Mr Johnsen to resign. Photo: AAP

Ms Berejiklain said while it was important for the nation to continue its ongoing conversation about the treatment of women, it was up to men to take responsibility for their behaviour in workplaces.

“You can put the best rules in place … but at the end of the day, it comes down to respect and equality and how people treat each other, especially how women are treated. In every workplace, not just the one I happen to be in.”

The Premier said she often found herself in situations where she questioned if things would be different if she was a man.

“I think to myself in certain situations in my workplace and other parts of community, would that have happened or what that have been said if I was a different gender?”

Ms Berejiklian said she was sick of “talk fests” and wanted real change to eradicate the “subconscious bias” she sees towards women every day.

“Unfortunately women are treated differently and we need that to change.

“When examples like this morning are revealed, it really does make you shake your head.”

In February, Ms Berejiklian asked former sex discrimination commissioner Pru Goward to “stress test” everything that existed in and around NSW Parliament and ministerial offices and report back.

“I’ve asked her to look at the whole gamut … I want people to not only feel comfortable in the workplace, but comfortable in raising issues knowing full well that they will be treated fairly, confidentially and in the way in which they hope.”

NSW Opposition Leader Jodi McKay said the Mr Jiohnsen “has to resign today”.

“This is not an issue about women today, this is an issue of bad behaviour,” she said.

“It’s about the standard of behaviour that Gladys Berejiklian has allowed to go on in NSW.”


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