Davos and brutal inequality: Top 1% own 22.2% of Australia's wealth

Davos and brutal inequality: Top 1 percent own 22.2 percent of Australia’s wealth

Oxfam has released starling statistics ahead of the 2020 World Economic Forum which begins in Davos, Switzerland today, revealing that the top 1 per cent of people in Australia (accounting for around 250,000 people) own roughly USD $1.6 trillion, (AUD 2.3 trillion).

Lyn Morgain, (pictured above) Oxfam’s Australia Chief Executive, said the figure prove that the country’s “broken economic system” is contributing to the “poverty and inequality” that many Australians face.

Meanwhile, the forum in Davos remains an overwhelmingly male affair, with just 24 percent of attendees female this year, according analysis of the attendee list by Quartz — although this is a record high. Of the 2,820 total participants, 682 are female. As Quartz notes, there will be more attendees from North America present, than women.

Morgain said concentration of wealth in the hands of the super-rich is occurring, “While the share of wealth of the bottom half of our community has decreased over the last decade and workers’ wages continue to stagnate in Australia.

“At a global level, inequality is shockingly entrenched and vast, often affecting women and girls the most. The vast gap between the few rich and many poor can’t be resolved without policies aimed at fighting inequality. Too few governments are committed to implementing these – ours included.”


Oxfam is urging the Australian Government to hold multinational corporations to account when it comes to paying their taxes, especially at this time of worsening climate related disasters.

Morgain said the Federal Government needs to “crack down” on unconscionable corporate tax avoidance.

“Australia needs to introduce public country-by-country reporting of tax affairs for large multinationals as well as a public register of beneficial ownership of companies and trusts. Without this transparency, the Government is potentially losing out on billions of dollars of revenue every year,” she said.

In her statement, Morgain also declared the urgency required to “tackle inequality and climate change together,” and voiced a view that solutions for improving inequality must include cuts to fossil fuel emissions.


This year’s World Economic Forum will centre on concerns about the environment, global inequality and technology. On Tuesday, the annual gather of people from 118 countries (billionaires included: George Soros, billionaire philanthropist, and Anthony Scaramucci, the financier and former Trump administration official) will mark its 50th year in existence.

Attendees will include political world leaders like U.S. President Donald Trump and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, as well as climate activist Greta Thunberg.

In 2014, just 15% of  attendees were female. New Zealand and Kenya are sending the greatest portion of women, so although women account for less than a quarter of attendees in 2020, there’s still been an uptick.

This year’s theme, “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World,” will include panels such as“Balancing Domestic and Global Inequality” and “Breaking Legal Barriers to Equality.”

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