I’ve also published a piece on elites at On Line Opinion. Opening paras:
Of course there is an Australian elite. In fact, there is more than one. Business wealth commands one sort of power, central position in political machines commands another, and senior office in the public service yet another.
The recent discussion of elites in Australia has focused on the ‘opinion elite’. Many of the assertions that have been made about the opinion elite in recent months, particularly by supporters of the Howard government, have been self-serving nonsense. Nevertheless, there is no denying the fact that some Australians have more influence than others in determining the ideas that are taken seriously in formulating public policy, and that, on many occasions the views of this influential group are not representative of the population as a whole.