Guy Rundle is a dude, a mensch. Never met him, but his by-line is always an invitation to intelligent, incisive analysis with a fearsome background knowledge. This, from his Quarterly Essay on Clive Palmer, nails it, imho –
But there is another, and more important, reason why the now sclerotic apparatus of Australian government is not challenged, and that is because both sides of parliamentary politics, together with the media networks that attend them, have more in common with each other than they do with their supporters outside the charmed circle. Over the past two decades the elite separation of political participants from the general public has become so marked as to constitute a historical breach. Before that breach, which took effect in the 1990s, there was significant traffic between the ranks of the general public and the political elite of the major parties, even if both were starting to fill up with political professionals. But in the past twenty years, the ranks of major-party parliamentary politics have started to close to those who have not dedicated their lives to it, from a very early age and overwhelmingly in the crucible of the universities. This is sometimes referred to as the “political class,” a phrase used by insider journalists trying to pretend they’re not a part of it. “Class” implies a group of some numerical size, which it isn’t. It’s a few thousand interconnected people, who draw others into their circle through a series of arcane political folkways and rituals, and thus replenish their number. It is, in other words, a political caste, sealed off from the general public, with the process of becoming a politician deliberately mystified to keep the amateurs out.
(Rundle, 2014: 68)
So, um, what is to be done?