Trust in political leaders rose slightly in 2020 as the nation was confronted with first, the bushfires and then, Covid but before that, surveys showed deep distrust in their elected representatives to be acting in the interests of the nation.
A major ANU study following the 2019 election found trust in government had reached its lowest level on record, with just one-in-four Australians saying they had confidence in their political leaders and institutions.
By the end of 2020 Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion Report, published in the Guardian, showed 85% support for the federal government’s response to the pandemic, and backing for some state governments exceeded 90%.
Trust in the federal government to generally “do the right thing” was at a record high 55%.
For the first time, it seemed governments were acting on evidence – the advice of scientists and the medical profession. They acted quickly, did not always get it right but their endeavour was largely successful and they saved us from the dire consequences of Covid-19 running amok.
People said maybe the government will now respond to the ever more dangerous emergency of global warming by acting on the evidence. Not so. As the emergency was brought under control, opportunism, self interest and ideology have crept back, rorts have become systemic and billions are being spent on a gas-led recovery.
That 45% of Australians think the federal government is not doing the right thing by the nation means accountability must be addressed.
Our Accountability Plan would do just that.