You can judge a person, so the saying goes, by the company they keep. It would be hard to assemble a more select company of crooks, low-lifes and traitors than those who gathered for Paul Howes’ wedding.

Politicians, capitalists, journalists and spin doctors all hob-nobbing together at Deux Belettes, a 16th century-style French chateau on the NSW North Coast, while the country burns.

Howes recently ended a career of class collaboration as a highly paid, right wing official of the Australian Workers Union. He departed in infamy, as he publicly backed Abbott’s calls for lower wages and austerity. Howes had apparently decided it was time to end the charade and openly join the ranks of the 1 percent.

What better way to complete the descent into the parasite class than to wed Olivia Wirth? Wirth is a Qantas corporate executive, right-hand woman to CEO Alan Joyce and often the company’s public face during its battles to bust the unions and sack thousands. She is a former political adviser to Joe Hockey. Nuff said.

The guest list was a who’s who of the Australian elite. Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten along with Alan Joyce; right wing columnist Janet Albrechtsen and her partner Liberal party power-broker Michael Kroger; Sky News presenter David Speers; ex-treasurer Wayne Swan; conservative media man Peter van Onselen; and the list goes on.

You can bet there wasn’t much belt-tightening going on here, but plenty of dancing and cigar smoking.

“I don’t know how you brought together the Labor Party, let alone the rest of the guest list”, Gillard quipped in her wedding speech. With great ease, one imagines. She went on to joke that it was a good thing presents weren’t required, “given that most of us are trying to save up to be able to visit a GP”. One can only imagine how this gathering of millionaires tittered at this oh-so-witty remark. “Chortle chortle … poor people … chortle.”

Bill Shorten would not have felt out of place at all. From private school to law and business degrees to the familiar trajectory of AWU officials, he is used to such company. His former wife Debbie Beale was the daughter of businessman and former Liberal MP Julian Beale. His current wife is the daughter of the former Governor-General Quentin Bryce.