SURVEY: Tony Abbott's government has managed to reverse the trust it gained at election

Tony Abbott. Jason Reed – Pool/Getty Images

Less than half of Australians now trust the government of Tony Abbott, according to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer.

In the wake of the Coalition Government victory in 2013, the barometer showed a 13 percentage point increase in trust in government from the prior year.

However, 12 months after that survey the barometer now finds there’s been a 7 point drop to 49% from 56%, a decline in trust exceeded only in Malaysia and South Korea.

“The decline in trust in government in 2015 will partly be the electoral equivalent of buyer’s remorse – a correction of the hope spike new leaders often represent,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO, Edelman. “We see the upside of this effect in the Trust Barometer data from India and Indonesia this year.

“More significantly though, is the fact that our new government failed to establish trusted leadership in the hearts and minds of Australians at a time when we need it most.”

The survey, consisting of 20-minute online interviews with 27,000 people across the world, was conducted between October 13 and November 24, 2014, and before the current public questioning of Tony Abbott’s leadership.

Government is not the only institution feeling fading trust.

The decline in trust in the CEO as a credible spokesperson continued for the third consecutive year, with trust levels now at 31% in developed markets.

In Australia, CEOs (33%) and government officials (37%) continue to be the least credible sources, lagging far behind academic or industry experts (66%) and a person like yourself (55%).

“In an environment of increasing uncertainty, leaders from both business and government are under more pressure to provide clarity of future direction,” said Riches. “If we sense this is absent we become increasingly inwardly focused and cautious. In order to build trust, leaders need to communicate their vision and strategy – where we’re going and why, as well as how it benefits society and contributes to the greater good.”

Other findings from the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer:

  • There is a tangible impact of trust in Australia. More than half (57%) of respondents refuse to buy products and services from a company they do not trust, while 49% will criticize them to a friend or colleague. And 76% chose to buy products from companies they trusted.
  • A majority (81%) believe a company can take specific actions which both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community, while three-quarters (75%) feel a company can be more profitable by finding ways to solve social and community problems.
  • Technology (74%), Consumer Electronics (72%) and Food and Beverage (72%) remain the most trusted industry sectors in Australia. Media is the least trusted industry (41%) with the Chemicals (45%) and Energy (49%) industries also suffering a trust deficit.
  • Trust in Social Media as a source for general news and information continues to grow in Australia increasing 16 points from 2013 from 18% to 34%.

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