Nick Cater

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Nicholas Charles Cater (born 7 July 1958) is a British-born Australian journalist and author who writes on culture and politics. He is a columnist for The Australian newspaper. Cater’s book The Lucky Culture has been compared to Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country[1] for its substance and influence.


Cater was born in Billericay, Essex and grew up at Hythe near Southampton.[2] His parents were teachers. He graduated in Exeter with an honours degree in sociology in 1980 and drove laundry vans for a year before joining the BBC as a trainee studio manager. He worked as a producer in the London bureau of Australia’s Channel Seven from 1983 – 1986 before rejoining the BBC as a journalist. He produced and directed the documentary Bridge Builders comparing the construction of the Tyne and Sydney Harbour Bridges. Cater migrated to Australia in July 1989 where he joined Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation Australia. He worked on The Advertiser in Adelaide and became group Asia correspondent in 1993, where he was best known for tracking down paedophile Robert 'Dolly' Dunn, reported on the front page of The Daily Telegraph under the headline Hello Dolly.[3] Cater worked in senior editorial roles at The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph in Sydney before joining The Australian in 2004. He was appointed Editor of The Weekend Australian in 2007. Cater left The Australian in September 2013, but continues to write a weekly column.

In 2014, Cater was appointed Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre.[4] He has co-edited with Helen Baxendale a selection of the writings of Christopher Pearson under the title A Better Class of Sunset, with introductions by Tony Abbott and Jack Snelling.[5]

The Lucky Culture[edit]

The Lucky Culture and the Rise of an Australian Ruling Class was described as a manifesto for a counter revolution against the age of political correctness by Peter Coleman who wrote “every 50 years or so Australians need a new book marking the end of an era and the start of a new one.”[6]

Two Australian prime ministers launched the book at separate events. John Howard endorsed the book in Sydney in May 2013 and it was given a qualified endorsement by Kevin Rudd in Brisbane two months later. The current Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described The Lucky Culture as a “beautifully written and perceptive… historical essay.”[7] Among others who greeted the book favourably are Boris Johnston,[8] Geoffrey Blainey,[9] Miranda Devine,[10] Keith Windschuttle,[11] Janet Albrechtsen,[12] Julie Bishop and Jack Snelling. Chris Bowen[13] and Peter Craven[14] gave qualified endorsements. Former Labor leader Mark Latham is among the book’s leading critics writing: ““It takes a fair bit to offend me these days but Nick Cater’s new book The Lucky Culture and the Rise of an Australian Ruling Class has done the trick.”[15] Former Labor speechwriter Bob Ellis called for the book to be pulped, calling it as “a loathesome shallow Murdochist piece of Pommy filth.”[16]

Other critics include journalist Guy Rundle [17] and historian Frank Bongiorno. In his critique Bongiorno dispelled comparisons between Cater's work and that of Horne's seminal book,[18] writing;

"Readers with even a passing knowledge of Australian letters will immediately recognise in the title of Cater’s book a homage to Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country (1964), but the title of Cater’s book will not enter the Australian lexicon in the way Horne’s has done. Nor, I strongly suspect, will anyone still be talking about The Lucky Culture half a century hence, except as an indication of the intellectual poverty of the Australian right in the early twenty-first century."

Cater has been commissioned by HarperCollins to write a second book for publication in 2015, provisionally titled Delusions: A History of Bad Ideas. Cater was editor of the 2006 book, The Howard Factor,[19] a review of the first decade of the John Howard government.


  1. ^ Peter Coleman, 'Australian Notes', The Spectator, 4 May 2013.
  2. ^ Nick Cater, The Lucky Culture and the Rise of an Australian Ruling Class, 2013, p.2
  3. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 17 April 1996
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Peter Coleman, 'Australian Diary', The Spectator, 4 May 2013
  7. ^ Tony Abbott, 'Progress and its critics', The Spectator, 27 April 2013
  8. ^ Boris Johnson interviewed by Jon Faine, ABC 774 Melbourne, 23 August 2012
  9. ^ Geoffrey Blainey, speech, 13 May 2013
  10. ^ Miranda Devine, The Daily Telegraph, 23 April 2013
  11. ^ Keith Windschuttle, Quandrant, June2013, pp. 5-6.
  12. ^ Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 8 May 2013
  13. ^ Chris Bowen, launch of The Lucky Culture, Revesby Workers Club, 8 May 2013
  14. ^ Peter Craven, The Australian, 11 May 2013
  15. ^ Mark Latham, "The Culture Wars', Chifley Research Centre, 2 May 2013
  16. ^ Peter Coleman, Australian Notes, The Spectator, 11 May 2013
  17. ^ Guy Rundle, The trolling, parody genius of ‘Nick Cater’, Crikey, Aug 08, 2013
  18. ^ "Frank Bongiorno, I get by with a little help from my friends", Inside Story, 23 May 2013
  19. ^ Nick Cater (ed.), The Howard Factor, Melbourne University Publishing, 2006.