You would think the ANU Election study, reported earlier this month, would be a wakeup call for politicians to lift their game.
The fact is that trust in government is at an all time low and has, on most measures, been trending down for some years.
Lead Researcher, Professor Ian McAllister of the School of Politics and International Relations said; “I’ve been studying elections for 40 years, and never have I seen such poor returns for public trust in and satisfaction with democratic institutions. There is widespread public concern about how our democracy is underperforming.
Here is some of what people said in response to the survey:
- People in government look after themselves – 75% agreed (highest since 1979)
- People in government can be trusted – 25% agreed (an all time low)
- When asked who the government is run for respondents said
- a few big interests – 56% (highest since 1998)
- all the people – 12%
- Only 15% of people thought politicians knew what ordinary people think and 53% (an all time high) thought they had no idea.
- A mere 59 per cent of Australians are satisfied with how democracy is working (down 27 percentage points from the record high of 86 per cent in 2007)
The major parties just keep schtum, hoping voters will forget the scandals, the vested interests, the lax rules on donations to political parties and the secrecy around doubtful deals and cross-trading by some in the Senate.
But note this. In 2000, when the Democrats held balance of power in the Senate, 52% of people surveyed thought it was better for the Government of the day to not control the parliament. By 2019 – 11 years after the Democrats lost all seats – just 36% agreed with this statement.
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