Nick Bolkus
Bolkus in 1993
Senator for South Australia
In office
1 July 1981 – 30 June 2005
Personal details
Born (1950-07-17) 17 July 1950 (age 73)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Political partyLabor
SpouseMary Patetsos
Residence(s)Henley Beach, South Australia
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide

Nick Bolkus (born 17 July 1950)[1] is a former Australian Labor Party politician. He was a member of the Senate from July 1981 to June 2005, representing the state of South Australia.

Early career

Bolkus was born in Adelaide and educated at Adelaide High School and the University of Adelaide. He was a lawyer in 1974 and 1975 before moving into political advising as a research officer for a number of Australian Labor Party (ALP) members including Clyde Cameron. He unsuccessfully ran for the district of Torrens at the 1975 state election and for the Senate at the 1977 federal election. He entered politics as a Senator for South Australia following the 1980 Australian federal election.[2]

Parliamentary career

Bolkus was appointed to the outer Ministry as Minister for Consumer Affairs and Minister Assisting the Treasurer for Prices (1988–90).[1] Bolkus was appointed as Minister for Administrative Services (1990–93) (a Ministry which was later relegated out of Cabinet), and then Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Multicultural Affairs (1993–96).[1]

After the end of the Keating Government (due to its election defeat in 1996), Bolkus was Shadow Attorney-General and Minister for Justice from March 1996 to November 2001.[3]

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Assisting for Prices 1988–90

Bolkus was first elected to the Federal Ministry in February 1988 as Minister for Consumer Affairs and Minister Assisting the Treasurer for Prices.[4] In this portfolio he introduced world leading legislation to protect the privacy of individuals in their relationships with credit data agencies.[5] He also introduced the Banking Ombudsman, streamlining National Uniform Food Laws, introducing a series of Codes of Conduct protecting consumers, and initiating enquiries into the pricing practices of the computer software,[6] music and book industries.[7]

Minister for Administrative Services 1990–93

Bolkus was appointed to Cabinet in 1990 as Minister for Administrative Services, a portfolio which he held until the 1993 election.[8] In this portfolio he introduced comprehensive legislation for the disclosure of political donations.[9] He transitioned the Department to a commercialized, corporatized and competitive body.[10] Bolkus used the extensive reach of a department n such areas as Commonwealth property ownership, construction, purchasing and the Australian Electoral Commission, to pursue the government's environmental and industry policy agenda, particularly in the Information Technology area.

Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs 1993–96

In 1993, Bolkus was appointed Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Multicultural Affairs.[11] He held these portfolios until the 1996 election. In these positions, Bolkus tried making both the Department's and Government's immigration, refugee and multicultural policies more relevant to Australia's social, economic and humanitarian needs.

Bolkus tried restructured both the Department and policy, including:

Parliamentary committee experience

Bolkus has served on and Chaired a number of Parliamentary Committees in the areas of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Industrial Relations, Corporation Legislation, Indigenous Affairs, and Human Rights[17] He was Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs.[18] He represented the Australian Parliament at the 1983 and 1984 Constitutional Conventions and at the 41st General Assembly of the United Nations in 1986.[19]

Other issues

In 2003, Bolkus was accused and personally attacked by Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott for failing to declare donations made by Dante Tan. Tan was not found guilty of any criminal offence in either the Philippines or Australia.[20] Abbott accused Bolkus of having breached the legal requirements of accepting a political donation.[21] Abbott also accused Bolkus of money laundering,[22] however it became clear that the matter was in fact not a breach of any regulations regarding political donations.[23] Bolkus successfully sued Nationwide News for defamation in the District Court of South Australia in Bolkus v Nationwide News.[24]

Post-Parliamentary Career


Until 2015, Bolkus was a partner at Bespoke Approach, a corporate advisory firm.[25] Bespoke Approach is now owned by corporate and political advisor Ian Smith and former Senior Vice-President at News Corporation Andrew Butcher.[26]

Bolkus also offers political lobbying services under the names Kazaru and Nick Bolkus. Clients represented to the SA Parliament and SA government since 2016 include: SA Power Networks, Daycorp, D and R DeRuvo and sons, Fyfe, SSE Australia, Bedford Group, Walker Corporation, Lincoln Lakes Development Company, Kelaray Pty Ltd, Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers Ltd, The Stehr Group, Tri-star Petroleum, Celsus/SA Health Partnership, Karadeniz Holdings, The Belgrave Group, RH & DJ Bichard Superfund.[27]

Directorships and advisory positions

Nick Bolkus is the Chairman of Directors of Nuturf Australia Pty Ltd,[28] and Envirogreen Pty Ltd.][29] and Director of Wondertreat Aust Pty Ltd.and Ecofertiliser Pty Ltd.[30]

He is Adviser to the Australian Hokkien Association.[31]

He is also currently a Director of the industry based Australian Fisheries Academy.[32]


  1. ^ a b c "RecordSearch | National Archives of Australia". Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  2. ^ Parliamentary Handbook – Supplement to biographical information in 29th edition on former Senators and Members of the 40th Parliament
  3. ^ "ParlInfo - Biography for BOLKUS, the Hon. Nick".
  4. ^ "ParlInfo - Biography for BOLKUS, the Hon. Nick".
  5. ^ "Consumer Credit Reporting – Australian Privacy Foundation". Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  6. ^ "IN BRIEF". Australian Financial Review. 25 February 1991. Retrieved 30 September 2023.
  7. ^ "Australia Libraries Copyright Committee" (PDF).
  8. ^ "ParlInfo - Biography for BOLKUS, the Hon. Nick".
  9. ^ Warhurst, John (1 October 1998). "Locating the Target: Regulating Lobbying in Australia". Parliamentary Affairs. 51 (4): 538–539. doi:10.1093/pa/51.4.538.
  10. ^ "ParlInfo - Public sector urged to give local firms a fair go". Retrieved 30 September 2023.
  11. ^ "ParlInfo - Biography for BOLKUS, the Hon. Nick".
  12. ^ "Australian Migration Bill - Migration News | Migration Dialogue". Retrieved 30 September 2023.
  13. ^ "Federal Law Review".
  14. ^ Rizvi, Abul (7 September 2022). "Migration changes an extraordinary reversal of Dutton's policies". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 September 2023.
  15. ^ Patmore, Glenn; Rubenstein, Kim (24 December 2014). Law and Democracy: Contemporary Questions. ANU Press. ISBN 978-1-925022-06-3.
  16. ^ "Australia Parliament House".
  17. ^ "ParlInfo - Biography for BOLKUS, the Hon. Nick".
  18. ^ "ParlInfo - Biography for BOLKUS, the Hon. Nick".
  19. ^ "Research Guides: General Assembly - Quick Links: 41st Session (1986-1987)".
  20. ^ AM: Failure to declare donation an honest mistake: Nick Bolkus, ABC Local Radio, 25 June 2003.
  21. ^ Riley, Mark: Now Labor under fire over funds given on the quiet, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 2003.
  22. ^ AFP may investigate Senator Bolkus, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 2003.
  23. ^ corporateName=Australian Electoral Commission; address=10 Mort Street, Canberra ACT 2600; contact=13 23 26. "Possible donation ALP SA and Mr Nick Bolkus (2001)". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 30 September 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ Bolkus vs Nationwide News [2005] SADC 138, District Court (SA, Australia).
  25. ^ "What we do - Bespoke Approach". Archived from the original on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  26. ^ "What we do - Bespoke Approach". Archived from the original on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  27. ^ Cabinet, Department of the Premier and (1 January 2003). "Register of Lobbyists". Archived from the original on 11 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  28. ^ [
  29. ^ "Envirogreen Australia | A Natural Business". Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  30. ^ "Eco-Growth - History". Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  31. ^ "GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES MEMBERS OF NEW CHINESE MINISTERIAL CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE - Media Releases - Chris Bowen - Federal Member for McMahon -". Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  32. ^ "Home Page | amfa".