Christian Kerr has died, age 56, passing away peacefully in his sleep. Kerr was a brilliant political analyst and journalist, writing columns for many reputable organisations across Australia.
Kerr was a founding editor of Crikey, a news website that launched more than 20 years ago. He wrote a gossip column for Crikey under the pseudonym Hillary Bray, named after a Bond character, and was the creative genius behind many of the nicknames for politicians. He devised ‘Crocodile Dummee’ for Warren Entsch, ‘The Cowardly Lion’ for John Anderson, ‘Ah! Satan’ for Natasha Stott-Despoja, ‘The Lounge Bar Bore’ for Alan Ramsay, ‘Uptown Girl’ for Sophie Mirabella, and ‘Count Yorga’ for David Kemp.
Current politics editor for Crikey, Bernard Keane, shared that it’s likely Kerr’s Crikey musings would “no longer pass any sort of taste test” but said that he was a brilliant writer nonetheless. After his departure from Crikey, Kerr didn’t approve of the direction the news site took, however, he was still mentally invested in the venture, sharing his un-minced opinions about it regularly.
Kerr’s position at The Spectator Australia, as editor of the Flat White, was his last. Launching Flat White in June 2016, Kerr shaped it into one of the most powerful voices “in Australian political, media and cultural circles”.
Rowan Dean, editor of The Spectator Australia, shared this statement about Kerr on Thursday. “It is with profound sadness that I must inform the family of Spectator Australia writers, readers and fans of the tragic death of our Flat White editor Christian Kerr. Christian passed away peacefully in his sleep. Our thoughts and prayers go to his beloved family and many friends. His was a major creative talent and he will be sorely missed. Flat White remains one of his many great media achievements, having stewarded it since its inception in June 2016 and grown it into the powerful voice in Australian political, media and cultural circles that it is today.”
The Australian published a lengthy obituary on Kerr, praising him for his “sharp” writing. Dennis Shanahan, Kerr’s bureau chief, political editor and friend wrote, “When Kerr worked in the Canberra bureau of The Australian, it was a time of important political impact, and Christian, through his talent and contacts, contributed to the overall success of the bureau.”
Kerr also worked for Sky News, BBC, Al Jazeera and across a variety of ABC’s television and radio programs.
Many influential Australians have sent messages of love and support to Kerr’s family, including Senator Marise Payne, Kerr’s friend and former colleague Stephen Mayne, and 4 Corners journalist Louise Milligan.
This is sad news. I was a Young Liberal with Christian Kerr many years ago. A devastating wit, great talent, kind friend. Many of us will have special memories. Vale. https://t.co/LJLwRopAOj
— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) December 2, 2021
Vale Christian Kerr – a creative and political genius who was the single most important Crikey columnist/editor during the first 8 years until he went to Canberra with The OZ in 2008. Had remarkable wit, contacts and insight, plus an admirable conscience. RIP my friend.
— Stephen Mayne (@MayneReport) December 2, 2021
So sad to hear Christian Kerr has died. I just caught up with this. Christian was flawed like us all but had a core of kindness & sensitivity masked with wit & political banter. He adored his kids. He cried the last time I spoke to him – out of decency & loyalty to a late friend.
— Louise Milligan (@Milliganreports) December 2, 2021