As most Crikey readers know, ABC TV runs a mildly successful Sunday morning program called Insiders, where a bunch of hacks sit around on a couch and chew the political fat. But are they really insiders? Of course not — these are the true Australian insiders:

  • The insider traders who invest in companies like ABC Learning, Toll, QBE and Transurban (see item 1 today) who appear to have had advance knowledge of recent deals or profit upgrades and pushed up the share prices of those four companies by 6.24% in less than two weeks.
  • The former politicians, bureaucrats and Prime Ministerial chiefs-of-staff who transfer effortlessly and profitably from the public to the private sector without even the hint of a decent interval.
  • The financial supporters of incumbent political parties who get jobs on the Reserve Bank and other plum public boards.
  • The media families and their executives who get even richer from inexplicable changes to media ownership laws.

Australia is a country made up of most of us (>99%) and serial insiders (<1%). The combination of growing prosperity and diminishing public ethics has swelled the ranks (and the bank balances) of the insiders to the point where it could now be described as a significant social trend — but not, naturally, one that is ever recorded by official statistics.

Peter Fray

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