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[1] has been compared by Cater to Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country[2] for its substance and influence. In 2018, the Wagner family, of Toowoomba, sued him for defamation over comments he made in broadcasts about the cause of the floods in that town in 2011, in which 12 people died. [3]Justice Peter Flanagan dismissed all the complaints against Cater. [4]


Cater was born in Billericay, Essex,[5] and grew up in Hythe near Southampton.[6] His parents were teachers. He graduated from the University of 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.[7] He worked as a producer in the London bureau of Australia’s Channel Seven from 1983 to 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 emigrated to Australia in July 1989 where he joined Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia, then News Limited. He worked on The Advertiser in Adelaide and became group Asia correspondent in 1993, where he was best known for tracking down the paedophile Robert 'Dolly' Dunn, reported on the front page of The Daily Telegraph under the headline "Hello Dolly" on 17 April 1996.[8]

Cater worked in senior editorial roles at The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph[9] in Sydney before joining The Australian in 2004.[10] He was appointed editor of The Weekend Australian in 2007.

Cater left The Australian in September 2013, but continues to write a weekly column for it.[11]

In 2014, Cater was appointed executive director of the Menzies Research Centre.[12] 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.[13] He has contributed "Barons versus bureaucrats: the history of the grain trade in North America and Australia" to Only in Australia. The History, Politics and Economics of Australian Exceptionalism, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2016, which he has co-authored with Henry Ergas and Geoffrey Blainey (among others).

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."[2]

Two Australian prime ministers launched the book at separate events. John Howard endorsed the book in Sydney[14] and it was given a qualified endorsement by Kevin Rudd in Brisbane[15] two months later. The former Australian prime pinister, Tony Abbott, described The Lucky Culture as a "beautifully written and perceptive… historical essay."[16] Among others who greeted the book favourably are Boris Johnson,[17] Geoffrey Blainey,[18] Miranda Devine,[19] Keith Windschuttle,[20] Janet Albrechtsen,[21] Julie Bishop and Jack Snelling. Chris Bowen[22] and Peter Craven[23] gave qualified endorsements. The former Labor leader Mark Latham was 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."[24] The former Labor speechwriter Bob Ellis called for the book to be pulped, calling it as "a loathsome shallow Murdochist piece of Pommy filth."[2]

Other critics include the journalist Guy Rundle of Crikey[25] and the historian Frank Bongiorno. In his critique, Bongiorno dispelled comparisons between Cater’s work and that of Horne's seminal book, writing that 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".[26]

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,[27] a review of the first decade of the John Howard government.


  1. ^ The Book - THE LUCKY CULTURE
  2. ^ a b c Peter Coleman, "Australian Notes", The Spectator, 4 May 2013.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "Thatcher’s Utopian Dreaming Ruined My Education", 19 April 2013
  6. ^ The Lucky Culture and the Rise of an Australian Ruling Class, Nick Cater, 2013, p.2
  7. ^ The end of an era at Bush House
  8. ^ "Diplomatic impunity", Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January 2004
  9. ^ Nick Cater - The Wheeler Centre
  10. ^ "Welcome to Oz, where no one rules", Spiked Online, 22 April 2013
  11. ^ "Nick Cater bids farewell to The Australian", The Australian, 9 September 2013
  12. ^ "New Executive Director", Menzies Research Centre news release
  13. ^ A Better Class of Sunset: Collected Works of Christopher Pearson
  14. ^ "John Howard Launches The Lucky Culture", 8 May 2013
  16. ^ Tony Abbott, "Progress and its critics", The Spectator, 27 April 2013
  17. ^ Boris Johnson interviewed by Jon Faine, 774 ABC Melbourne, 23 August 2013
  18. ^ "Launch of The Lucky Culture and the Rise of an Australian Ruling Class by Nick Cater", Geoffrey Blainey, speech, 13 May 2013
  19. ^ Miranda Devine, "Timely warning of danger within", The Daily Telegraph, 23 April 2013
  20. ^ Keith Windschuttle, "Left Stranded By An Ebbing Tide", Quadrant, June 2013, pp. 5-6.
  21. ^ Janet Albrechtsen, "Why John won't vote Labor this time", The Australian, 8 May 2013
  22. ^ Chris Bowen, "Launch of The Lucky Culture, Revesby Workers Club", 8 May 2013
  23. ^ Peter Craven, "Nick Cater shows he's a working-class fan in The Lucky Culture", The Australian, 11 May 2013
  24. ^ Mark Latham, "The Culture Wars: Legitimate Battlefield or Just Another Sneaky Right-Wing Attack", Chifley Research Centre, 2 May 2013
  25. ^ Guy Rundle, "The trolling, parody genius of ‘Nick Cater’", Crikey, 8 August 2013
  26. ^ Frank Bongiorno, "I get by with a little help from my friends", Inside Story, 23 May 2013
  27. ^ The Howard Factor, Nick Cater (ed.), Melbourne University Publishing, 2006.

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Professor Donald Markwell
Executive Director of Menzies Research Centre
2014 -
Succeeded by