You're probably thinking that the 1% is made up of squillionaires like Twiggy Forrest and Nathan Tinkler and Gina Reinhart and that fat moron who is the Collingwood president - what's his name? Eddie Maguire.
Well, think again.
There are 22 million Australians. So the 1% are the 220,000 top earners.
We have a good idea what those at the very top make - the likes of James Packer and so on. But what about the person that is the 210,000th top earner, or the 220,000th top earner?
I once found, and copied, a tax table from the Henry Tax Review. I have never been able to find it again. It broke down the number of tax payers in every income bracket from $20,000 and below to $300,000 and above. From $20k to $80k, it slices the taxpayers into $5,000 increments. Above that, it's $10,000 increments, and above $200k, it uses $25,000 increments.
There are 40,000 people earning over $300,000. So that bracket ranges from those pulling in hundreds of millions per year down to $300,000. They are the top 0.18%.
There are 60,000 people making between $250,000 and $300,000. So we are now up to 100,000 people out of our 220,000 1 percenters.
Another 50,000 make between $200,000 and $250,000. We are now up to 150,000 people.
25,000 make between $180k and $200k. That's 175,000 in total.
40,000 make between $170k and $180k. We're now up to 215,000 in total - pretty close to 1%.
55,000 make between $160k and $170k. If we include them, we're up to 270,000 people, and we're up to 1.23% of the population. So let's draw the line at just under $170,000.
What sort of people earn over $170,000?
Academics for starters. Every university has a number of well paid staffers. Monash (page 78) for instance has one earning $390k and another on $810k. Interestingly, in 2009, the top bod at Monash made $1.2 million. La Trobe (page 60) uni, home to Robert Manne, paid 3 Council members between $240k and $600k. An additional 33 Executive Officers at La Trobe made over $170k.
Plenty of politicians are in the top 1% too - especially Premiers and Ministers. The base pay of a Federal parliamentarian is $140k, but that's topped up with an electoral allowance of between $32k and $48k and $19.5k for a vehicle, plus travel allowances etc, so even saintly Bob Brown and his pack of Greentards are in the 1%.
Just about every local, state and federal department will have at least one manager in the 1%. Consider the Department of Climate Change - it has 50 managers earning over $170k! Fifty! The top person there earns $429k.
NSW Dept of Education - the Director General (page 95) is on $488k, the BER dude is on $427k (gee, wasn't he good value for money?) and there are 26 other managers making between $250k and $350k. There are another 46-55 SES officers possibly making over $170k (can't tell from the report - it's not detailed enough).
Same with Health - the DG for Health (page 205) in NSW makes $435k and her various minions are all scraping by on well over $170k. And that of course doesn't include any of the Doctors and Specialists making well over that amount. Got a cancerous lump that needs removing? Well, if you think those in the 1% are paid too much, I suggest you tell your surgeon and anaesthetist and radiologist that they are overpaid oafs who should be given a compulsory financial haircut when you're lying on the operating table about to go under.
Then there are entertainers, actors and sports stars - too numerous to mention really. And then there are the lawyers at the big end of town - especially QCs. Plus architects and accountants.
Don't forget union officials, who are really on the gravy train - like Michael Williamson at the HSU, pocketing $350,000 per year. It's hard to tell what other union officials are making, because their annual reports are so opaque. For instance, the RTBU (Victoria) paid a total of $732k to its officials last year, but the report does not list who those officials are and how much each was paid.
I could go on and on for hours here, but it's a hot day and I feel like a swim.
I just wanted to make the point that the top 1% is not made up of fat cats in large financial institutions grinding the faces of the poor. The 1% is not made up of plutocrats swanning around in private jets and swimming in champagne.