If disposable income was equally distributed between households, the bottom 20 per cent of households would have 20 per cent of total income and the top 20 per cent of households would also have 20 per cent of total income.
In Australia, the latest figures show that the bottom fifth has just 7 per cent of the income, whereas the top fifth has more than 40 per cent.
And over just the past four years the shares of the four bottom fifths fell by about 0.5 percent each, allowing the share of the top fifth to rise by 2 percent points.
2002 income tax statistics show that the top 0.05 per cent of individual taxpayers accounted for about 2 per cent of total taxable income. The top 1 per cent accounted for 9 per cent, the top 5 per cent for 21 per cent and the top 10 per cent for 31 per cent. (This last is up from 25 per cent in the early 1980s.)
Australia is no great egalitarian paradise.