First elected in 1980, Nick Bolkus was one of the Australian Parliament’s longest serving and most experienced Senators. He was a Commonwealth Government Minister for 8 years, serving in the Cabinet for 6 of these years, and also served on the Opposition front bench for over 6 years.
Throughout his time in Government, he pursued reform agendas in legal, economic, immigration, environmental and indigenous issues.
In the Immigration Portfolio, he restructured the Department, and comprehensively reformed Australia’s migration laws in order to facilitate long and short term entry into Australia, and both business as well as family migration.
He was responsible for the formulation of the Government’s policy to process asylum seekers in Australia around the time of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. This was known as the November 1 decision.
As Shadow Attorney General, he was responsible for the carriage of policy and debate on the Wik Native Title legislation, still the longest Committee debate in the history of the Australian Senate.
Since his retirement from the Senate, he has been appointed to a number of Corporate Boards and also performs various pro bono work.
He also continues to work with a broad range of international links in both the Government and Private sectors. His contacts range through Europe, the USA (since his days as a founding member of the Australia-USA Dialogue), and extensively through China.