The Honourable David Johnston


The Honourable David Johnston is the Chair of the UWA Defence and Security Institute and prior to this role he was appointed the Australian Defence Export Advocate providing international advocacy on behalf of local defence industry to help secure export sales and contracts. He graduated with a law degree from the University of Western Australia in 1979 and practiced as a barrister and solicitor in Kalgoorlie and Perth with a focus on criminal, mining, native title and administrative law.

David joined the UWA Liberal Club in 1974 and was actively involved in the Liberal Party throughout his legal career. In 1997 David was honoured to be elected to serve as State President of the Liberal Party of WA. He was then elected as a Liberal Senator for Western Australia in 2001, entering the Senate on 1 July 2002.

Senator Johnson became actively involved in a number of committees, particularly on issues relating to defence and national security. As a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee he participated in several significant reviews including the Inquiry into Materiel Acquisition and Management in Defence (2003); and the Effectiveness of Australia’s Military Justice System (2005).In March 2007 David was appointed by then Prime Minister John Howard to serve as Minister for Justice and Customs. Following the 2007 election David became a member of the Shadow Cabinet, both as Shadow Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism until September 2008 when he was appointed Shadow Minister for Defence, a position he held until the September 2013 federal election.

Upon the election of the Abbott Government in 2014, David was appointed to serve as the Minister for Defence and is a member of Cabinet.