Australia Day honours: Former Hillarys MLA Rob Johnson humbled by OAM

"Fantastic honour" for Rob Johnson. Picture: Martin Kennealey d490261

ROB Johnson likes to think his 33-year involvement with children’s hospital charity Radio Lollipop in two countries was “a fair bit of the reason” for his Australia Day honour.

The former police minister and Wanneroo mayor was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the Parliament and community of WA.

“It’s a fantastic honour for the work I did with children in need, particularly sick children,” he said.

Mr Johnson, who is “75 years young”, worked with Radio Lollipop in the UK and was mayor of the London Borough of Sutton before moving to Australia in the late 1980s and becoming mayor of the former Wanneroo shire and longtime local member for Hillarys.

“I feel very humbled,” the Kallaroo resident said. “I enjoyed 24 years in State Parliament. And community service has always been in my blood and always will be.”

His achievements in politics included initiating the first sex offenders register in Australia which “will have saved a lot of children from being abused”.

He also pushed as road safety minister for speeding and red light camera fines to be put into a road trauma trust account and funnelled into road safety initiatives.

Road safety and trauma became close to Mr Johnson’s heart after his daughter was severely injured in a Whitfords Avenue crash in 2001.

She required around the clock care after brain damage and Mr Johnson breaks down when he recalls her for this interview.

“Unfortunately we lost her last year,” he said before explaining how she had got ill with pneumonia and “couldn’t fight in the end”.

“It was a pretty tough year,” he said.

“I think kids should outlive you not the other way round.

“I am humbled to receive this (honour) after such a sorrowful year.”

Mr Johnson was House Leader of the Legislative Assembly from 2008 to 2012 and chairman of the Radio Lollipop Board of Trustees from 1993.