Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Edelman’s Trust Barometer sees trust in

Lockdowns, problematic vaccine rollout, management of covid-19 exit plans and bickering between state and federal government have all played a role in lowering levels of trust.

Trust in government takes a dive, Government News, 19 July 2021

Trust in government has taken a battering over the last six months, according to a recent survey.

Michelle Hutton

Trust in government in Australia fell nine points over the last six months from 61 to 52, according to the latest trust index by US marketing consultancy firm Edelman.

Edelman’s Trust Barometer reflects the views of 1,200 Australians surveyed about their trust in government, NGOs, business and the media in May.

It found government  has joined the other three institutions in falling from ‘trusted’ status to ‘neutral’ since the last report was released in February.

Meanwhile, 61 per cent of respondents said they didn’t believe Australia would be able to overcome the challenges facing it without corporate involvement.

As reported by Government News, the annual Trust Barometer released earlier this year suggested levels of trust in Australia were at an all time high across every institution, including government.

Government trust bubble bursts

But it appears the trust bubble has burst, CEO Michelle Hutton says.

“These results dramatically strip away most of 2020’s gains,” she said.

Ms Hutton says lockdowns, problems with vaccine rollout, management of covid-19 exit plans and bickering between state and federal government have all played a role in lowering levels of trust.

She says the story of trust in Australia is now “one of two divergent realities” with a large gap between the trusting informed public and the mass population.

While 78 per cent of the ‘informed public’ said they trusted government, only 48 per cent of the mass population expressed any level of trust – the largest gap of the 14 countries surveyed.

For our institutions it brings an additional layer of complexity as they try to share information and communicate effectively with two distinct audiences: one that trusts, and one that doesn’t.

Michelle Hutton

“For our institutions it brings an additional layer of complexity as they try to share information and communicate effectively with two distinct audiences: one that trusts, and one that doesn’t,” Ms Hutton said.

While the index shows government isn’t trusted in 10 of the 14 countries surveyed, the biggest decline in trust had occurred in Australia.

The highest level of trust was in China, with 88 per cent of those placing trust in the government. South Africa fared worst with only about one in four expressing trust.

The report says government must take a lead on vaccination, getting people back to the workplace, privacy, income inequality and climate change to regain trust.

See also: Edelman Trust Barometer

Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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