WHEN I read that Nick Cater, a senior editor at the Australian, was writing a book about “the rise of an Australian ruling class” I was a little puzzled. The only people I knew who still talked and wrote about “an Australian ruling class” were a few irrepressible Marxist friends and colleagues. And although I was unfamiliar with Cater, it seemed implausible that Rupert Murdoch would permit one of this small band of true believers to exercise any influence over the flagship of his Australian fleet.
The mystery, of course, was soon solved. Cater’s “ruling class” was the same crowd that John Howard called “elites” and others, following the Yugoslav communist Milovan Đilas, called “the new class.” The average reader of Inside Story is a member of Cater’s “ruling class.” So is its editor, Peter Browne, and probably all of the contributors. But Nick Cater, oddly, isn’t – despite his tertiary education, cultural power and (I presume) hefty salary; and nor, apparently, is his multi-billionaire employer, Rupert Murdoch, although it’s difficult to tell because he only receives five entries in the index of this 300-page book. Gina Rinehart is mentioned once…
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