The “Hot” issue of Rolling Stone magazine is out – and guess who gets a run as this year’s “Hot Commentator”?

Anonymous Correspondent

They seek him here: crikey.com.au columnist Hillary Bray “comes out”

Early in 2003, sometime liberal staffer and corporate spin doctor
Christian Kerr sat down with his doctor to hear the good – and the bad
– news. “She said, ‘You’ve got two choices: You’ve got two
choices: You can either give up, or go mad,'” recalls Kerr who, at the
time, had suffered an alcoholic nervous breakdown after years of
increasing substance abuse. “‘You’re not going to drink yourself
to death, but you’ll be insane and [an] alcoholic for 25 years before
you die.”

“I was a terrible political burn-out,” explains Kerr, who turned his
life around to become political editor on maverick Australian
politics/media/business site crikey.com.au. And the cause of the
burn-out? “It’s the absolute compromise politics requires. You go
to politics with such high ideals, and you compromise day in, day out …
you have to compromise to deliver.”

Kerr packed up life in high-flying Sydney and relocated to his
hometown of Adelaide to live on what he calls “the bones of his
arse”. “I made a conscious decision that I didn’t want to go back
into that sort of world.”

By this stage, Kerr had already made a name – or pseudonym – as Hillary
Bray, an anonymous commentator on Australian politics via
crikey.com.au. The independent website offers insider’s news to
anyone willing to pay $80 a year for a subscription to its daily
mix of scandal- sheet and analysis. The personality of the site
is driven by its connections to the so-called power elite via the
A-list end of this subscription service.

It’s been an unorthodox entry into mainstream political journalism, but
Kerr “came out” in July this year, after receiving so much interest in
his work as Hillary since debuting online in 2000. He’s since
joined crikey.com.au founder Stephen Mayne as a radio commentator, and
press club speaker. Most tellingly, he’s been granted official
accreditation to the parliamentary press gallery in Canberra.
From that vantage, Kerr has one primary aim. “Explaining spin and
media and politics,” he says. “Because there’s so much spin, so
much taking the public for granted and treating people as idiots.”