Andrew Nikolic

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Brigadier (Retd)
Andrew Nikolic
Andrew Nikolic -June 2009.jpg
Government Whip in the House of Representatives
In office
13 February 2015 – 20 September 2015
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Scott Buchholz
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Bass
Assumed office
7 September 2013
Preceded by Geoff Lyons
Personal details
Born Andrew Alexander Nikolic
(1961-06-20) 20 June 1961 (age 54)
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Christine Nikolic
Children Three
Alma mater Officer Cadet School, Portsea
Military service
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1979–2008
Rank Brigadier
  • Army Recruit Training Centre
  • Parachute Training School
  • Australian National Commander, Southern Iraq

Brigadier (Retd) Andrew Alexander Nikolic (Serbian Cyrillic: Андру Александ Николић) AM CSC MP (born 20 June 1961 in Serbia, then Yugoslavia) is an Australian politician, retired senior Australian Army officer and a former public servant in the Department of Defence.[1] He was elected to the Australian House of Representatives as the Liberal Party of Australia representative for the Tasmanian seat of Bass at the 2013 federal election.[2][3]

Early years[edit]

Nikolic was born in Serbia on 20 June 1961, and migrated to Australia as a four-year-old. He was raised in Melbourne and Adelaide.[2][4][5]

Military career[edit]

Andrew Nikolic enlisted in the Australian Army in January 1979, and after completing recruit training was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. Following 18 months' service as an infantry soldier, he attended the Officer Cadet School, Portsea, and returned to the infantry corps as a second lieutenant in June 1981. He subsequently served in the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (Parachute) for almost seven years as a Platoon Commander, Reconnaissance Platoon Commander, Company Commander (Alpha Company), and as the battalion operations officer.[2]

As a captain, Nikolic served as adjutant of the Adelaide University Regiment from 1986 to 1988,[2] after which he taught tactics at the Royal Military College, Duntroon. As a lieutenant colonel, he served as the commanding officer / chief instructor of the Parachute Training School. He is a qualified static-line and free-fall parachute instructor, and in 2000–2001 led the Army "Red Berets" Parachute Display Team.[4] As a colonel, in 2003 Nikolic became the first commandant appointed to lead the Army Recruit Training Centre to have also graduated as a soldier.

In 2007 he was promoted to brigadier and appointed director general of public affairs, the principal spokesperson for the Department of Defence.[6]

Nikolic's overseas postings include service as:

  • a United Nations Military Observer in Israel, Syria and South Lebanon (November 1990 – November 1991);
  • Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Australian National Headquarters during the first deployment of Operation Slipper to Afghanistan (October 2001 – March 2002); and
  • the National Command Representative for Australian Forces in Southern Iraq (February – October 2005).

In addition to his Australian command responsibilities in Southern Iraq, he concurrently served as Chief of Staff of the British-led Multinational Division (South East).[citation needed]

Nikolic is a graduate of the Army Command and Staff College, Joint Services Staff College, Philippines Joint College, United States Army War College, the United Nations Senior Leaders' Course, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He holds two bachelor's degrees in Arts and Social Science, and three master's degrees in Management, International Relations, and Strategic Studies.[4][7]

Civilian career in Department of Defence[edit]

From 2008 until 2011, Nikolic was employed in the Department of Defence as First Assistant Secretary, International Policy Division (a civilian Major General equivalent position), with responsibility for providing strategic level policy advice to government on Australia's international defence relations and Australian Defence Force operations.[1]

Political career[edit]

Nikolic's pre-selection as the Liberal Party candidate for the 2013 federal election for the seat of Bass in Tasmania—which had been held by the Labor Party since 2007—was announced on 8 July 2011.[3] He had expressed interest in contesting the seat of Bass after the leadup to the 2010 election when he was stationed in Canberra.[8] Although an election was not required until 30 November 2013, Nikolic began campaigning actively soon after pre-selection. He set up a website for his candidacy, and his campaigning activities in the Launceston area were reported in the media,[3][9] along with his confrontations with local environmentalists.[10]

Following a satirical posting about him on Facebook in May 2012, it was reported that Nikolic had threatened to contact the employers of readers who "liked" the post. Nikolic denied making these threats, and later stated that he had no intention of contacting any employer; that his request was just for the posting to be removed.[11][12][13] The story was published by international media.[14][15] In July 2013, the story was subsequently the subject of a ruling by the Australian Press Council.[16] In July 2013, in response to a complaint filed by Nikolic, the Australian Press Council found that The Sydney Morning Herald "failed to take reasonable steps to ensure accuracy and fairness" on some matters in its article on the subject.[17]

In mid-August 2013, the then sitting member for Bass, Geoff Lyons MP, made false statements to high-school students about Nikolic's military career, claiming Nikolic had "misled" journalists about his role in the military. Lyons subsequently said he was "sincerely sorry" for his remarks about his opponent.[18] Nikolic was elected in September 2013 with a swing of almost 11 percent.[19]

On 13 February 2015, Nikolic was appointed Government Whip by the prime minister Tony Abbott, following his dismissal of Philip Ruddock from the position of Chief Government Whip.[20] On 20 September 2015 Nikolic announced on Facebook that he had been dropped as Government Whip by Prime Minister Turnbull.[21]


Nikolic married Launceston-born Christine Symons in 1986, and they have owned property in Launceston for most of their married life.[citation needed] They have three children, two girls and a boy. After being Canberra-based for many years, they moved to Launceston in 2011.[4][7][8][9]


Honours and awards[edit]

Ribbon Award Date and reference
Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Member of the Order of Australia (AM) 26 January 2010[22]
CSC Australia ribbon.png Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) 26 January 2002[23]
Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal [24]
Afghanistan Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Afghanistan Medal [24]
Iraq Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Iraq Medal [24]
Australian Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Service Medal with two clasps 'South East Asia' and 'Middle East'[24]
DFSM with Rosette x 2.png Defence Force Service Medal with 2 Rosettes for 25–29 years of service[24]
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal [24]
UNTSO Medal bar.gif United Nations Medal for service with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO)
Iraq Medal BAR.svg Iraq Medal (United Kingdom)[24]
Commendation for bravery 1987 (from the South Australian Commissioner of Police)[4]


  1. ^ a b "International Policy Division". Archived from the original on 14 August 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Shemagh: Lieutenant Colonel A A Nikolic, Australian Army". Australian War Memorial. c. 2003. Retrieved 20 May 2012. This shemagh was used by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Nikolic in 2001–2002 as Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Australian Headquarters in the Middle East, based in the United Arab Emirates. The text continues with a biography of Nikolic. 
  3. ^ a b c "Andrew Nikolic: Your federal Liberal candidate for Bass". Liberal Party of Australia. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Andrew Nikolic: Impressions of a fortunate life" (PDF). Oral Histories of Launceston and Northern Tasmania. Launceston: Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Inveresk. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012. [dead link]
  5. ^ Darby, Andrew (14 May 2012). "Digital life, political strife". National Times, WA Today (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Nikolic, Brigadier Andrew (Director General Public Affairs) (11 October 2007). "Public release of information by the ADF". Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication 368/07 (Press release). Canberra: Department of Defence. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "About Andrew". Liberal Party of Australia. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Bass seat interest by Nikolic". The Examiner (Tasmania). 11 April 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Maloney, Matt (12 February 2012). "Battle for Bass erupts in war of words". The Examiner (Tasmania). Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  10. ^ "Forest clashes in Launceston". ABC News (Australia). 14 February 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Manning, James (9 May 2012). "Liberal candidate threatens Facebook users over satirical article". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  12. ^ Manning, James (9 May 2012). "Liberal candidate threatens Facebook users over satirical article". The Age. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  13. ^ Manning, James (9 May 2012). "Liberal candidate threatens Facebook users over satirical article". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Chirgwin, Richard (8 May 2012). "Oz candidate menaces Facebook users". The Register (UK). Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  15. ^ Tesoro, Gabriella (11 May 2012). "Quando la satira online colpisce i permalosi". PuntoInformatico (in Italian) (Rome). Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  16. ^ Clark, Nick (9 May 2012). "Lib candidate in Facebook spat". The Mercury (Hobart). Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  17. ^ "Adjudication No. 1564: Andrew Nikolic / The Sydney Morning Herald (July 2013)". Australia: Australian Press Council. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Lewis, Steve (14 August 2013). "Labor MP Geoff Lyons insults former soldier turned star Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic". News Limited. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  19. ^ "Tas Division - Bass". Election 2013 - Virtual Tally Room. Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2015-02-13. 
  20. ^ Kenny, Chris (2015-02-13). "Coalition elder statesman Philip Ruddock axed as Chief Whip following Liberal Party spill attempt". The Age. Retrieved 2015-02-13. 
  21. ^ "Andrew Nikolic - GOVERNMENT WHIP ROLE This afternoon I... | Facebook". Retrieved 2015-09-21.  line feed character in |title= at position 38 (help)
  22. ^ Member of the Order of Australia (AM), 26 January 2010, It's an Honour
    For exceptional service to the Australian Defence Force in the field of operations and international policy.
  23. ^ Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC), 26 January 2002, It's an Honour
  24. ^ a b c d e f g Records attesting to the issue of medals / commendations are held at the Directorate of Officer Career Management, R8-6, Russell Offices Canberra ACT (02 6265 2541). They are also listed on his website at:
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Geoff Lyons
Member for Bass
2013 – present