Battlers and billionaires: Labor MP Andrew Leigh's research into inequality. Photo: Glen McCurtayne
An income of $210,100 a year makes you ultra-rich, an income of $688,700 makes you uber-rich.
Labor MP Andrew Leigh has calculated the new cut-off points as part of his research for a coming book on inequality in Australia entitled Battlers and Billionaires. He began the research in his earlier life as a professor of economics at the Australian National University, and updated the calculations using Tax Office data for the 2010-11 financial year released last week. That data shows that only 1 per cent of Australians earned more than $210,100 a year, up from a cut-off point of $194,400 the year before. Only 0.1 per cent of Australians earned more than $688,700 a year.
The data shows inequity climbing for the second consecutive year after sliding during the global financial crisis. In 2010-11 the top 1 per cent of earners took home 9.2 per cent of Australian income, up from 8.6 per cent two years before.
In 2006 before the crisis hit the take exceeded 10 per cent.
"The global financial crisis was just a small deviation from a big long-term trend," Dr Leigh said. "In just about every English-speaking country in the world inequality has been climbing since the early 1980s."