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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 5 March 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 MARCH 2016 9 NEWS FEATURE discrimination in Australia’ Nick Bolkus with priests in the mountains of Crete. the one being betrayed b "Unfortunately, in politics Uf l i li i we spend too much time reporting and deferring when we should realise that people and projects can have their lives totally destroyed if governments don't make decisions in a timely manner," he concludes. While he was minister for immigration, another issue that emerged strongly was the 'Macedonian debate' and the use of symbols by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Bolkus admits that - during those times - he was "abused” and treated unfairly by the Greeks in Australia and Slavs in Wollongong, yet he never felt and to this day still doesn't feel as though he was betraying anyone. "I was encouraged by the fact that I was in constant contact with the Greek gov- ernment, who really appreciated the position the Australian government took, both during and after the debate. At the same time, I also felt that as a minister of the Australian government, I had to do the right thing by everyone. "It was a difficult issue for Greece, for Europe and the rest of the world and for me," expands Bolkus, who during that time felt he was the one being betrayed by some of his own colleagues within the Australian Labor Party. "When I look back, it was former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett who lit the fire and others carried the flame," he says. Today, removed from active politics, Nick Bolkus has the time to reflect and appreciate what both Greece and Australia have given him; "One day, I will take a bot- tle of ouzo and my Greek music and watch the waves down at the beach at Henley while dreaming of my paradise," he says of Kastellorizo, which he describes as a spiritual harbour where all Australian accents are spoken. tle of ouzo and my Greek At that point, I can't help but ask him to comment on the fact that while Australians seem to be strong and united in distant Kastellorizo, Greeks are still fac- ing ongoing religious and community disharmony in Adelaide. ing ongoing religious and "The easiest thing in the world, and in domestic politics, is to have an opinion and stick to it," he says, sending a clear message to both the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia. "There is no better time to discuss. Let's start the conversation now." Meeting Chinese People’s Assembly Chairman Wu. Nick Bolkus with then prime minister Bob Hawke and South Australian Greek Community vice president Con Marinos at the Greek Community’s nursing home foundation-laying in Ridleyton.
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