2012 Edelman Trust Barometer: AUSTRALIA

Trust in government declines: 60% of Australians do not trust government leaders to tell the truth
For the first time in 2012, the Edelman Trust Barometer contrasts the views of the Australian general population with the survey‟s traditional Trust respondent group of “informed publics” (high income, college-educate Australians who read or watch business/news media and follow public policy issues) and the difference is stark. In 2012 only one third (33 per cent) of the Australian general population trust the institution of government to do what is right. For informed publics, trust is much higher but still low at 47 per cent (Figure 1). Furthermore, 60 per cent of Australians do not trust government leaders to tell the truth and the majority (58 per cent) thinks the country is on the wrong track. Looking at government, a huge gap has opened up between what people see as important and how well they think important tasks are being handled. While 71 per cent of Australians say it is important that the country‟s financial affairs are managed effectively, only 18 per cent think this is happening – an “underperformance gap” of 53 points. 69 per cent believe it is important that the government listen and responds to citizen needs and feedback. Only 13 per cent (58 percentage point gap) think this is happening. Business, while more trusted than government, still has some hurdles to clear. Reflecting the current debate about the nature of „responsible

Figure 1: In Australia, trust in government fluctuates while other institutions steadily increase
How much do you trust [Institution] to do what is right?
70 65 60 56 55 50 43 40 35 30 47 41 30 32 51 54 52 57 65

47 43

20

2009 Business

2010 Government

2011 NGOs

2012 Media

Informed Publics (25-64), Australia; Responses 6-9 on 1-9 scale; 9=highest

Figure 2: Dispersion of authority with rise of „a person like myself‟
If you heard information about a company from one of these people, how credible would that be?
An academic or expert Technical expert within the company Person like yourself NGO representative A financial or industry analyst Regular employee Government official CEO

74% 71% 62% 62% 57% 51% 47% 41% +17% +31% +18%

Informed Publics (25-64), Australia; “Extremely credible”/“Very credible” responses

capitalism,‟ this year‟s survey found that to be trusted, business needs to do more than succeed commercially. 74 per cent of respondents say companies should be involved in solving social and environmental problems. The study also examined various factors that build trust in a company which reflect this desired role for business. „Listening to customer needs‟ (70 per cent) and „having ethical business practices‟ (69 per cent) are trust drivers that top the list, along with „delivering quality products‟ (also 69 per cent). Australians also expect business to „place the customer ahead of profits‟ (68 per cent) and „treat its employees well‟ (67 per cent). (Figure 3) Strong reputation and trust, built upon both operational and societal performance, is the clear blueprint for optimal business success. But CEOs face another hurdle in convincing the public that they deserve a hearing. CEOs are the least credible public spokesperson for a business or organisation (35 per cent of respondents find them credible). A “person like me” has re-emerged amongst informed publics as one of most credible spokespeople, with the biggest increase globally in credibility since 2004. For the Australian general population, a “person like me” (57 per cent) trails only academics (64 per cent) and technical experts (63 per cent) as the most credible spokesperson.

Figure 3: Expectations for business are high
How important is each of the following actions to building your Trust in a company?
Listens to customer needs and feedback Has ethical business practices Offers high quality products or services Places customers ahead of profits Treats employees well Takes action to address issue or crisis Transparent and honest business practices Communicates frequently and honestly Positively impacts the local community Works to protect and improve the environment Addresses societies needs Highly regarded, top leadership Innovator or new products, services or ideas Delivers financial returns Ranks on global lists Partners with third parties
33% 32% 49% 49% 47% 44% 39% 38% 70% 69% 69% 68% 67% 64% 61% 60%

General Population, 18+, Australia; Responses 8-9 only on 1-9 scale; 9=highest

Regular employees also scored highly, with 54 per cent of Australians agreeing that people who work for an organisation are extremely credible spokesperson for or about that company. Despite very low trust in the institution of media to do what is right (33 per cent), Australians do trust traditional media sources for news and information. Television (81 per cent), Newspapers (78 per cent), Radio (77 per cent) and Magazines (75 per cent) lead the pack. Online news aggregators are also highly trusted. Online search engines like Google (78 per cent) and News RSS feeds (71 per cent) are critical.

About the Edelman Trust Barometer: The 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer is the firm‟s 12th annual trust and credibility survey. The survey was produced by research firm StrategyOne and consisted of 20-minute online interviews conducted from October 10 - November 30, 2011.The 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer online survey sampled 25,000 general population respondents with an oversample of 5,600 informed publics in two age groups (25-34 and 35-64) across 25 countries. The Australian sample was n=1,200 (1,000 general population plus 200 informed public). All informed publics met the following criteria: college-educated; household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; read or watch business/news media at least several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news at least several times a week. 2012 marks the fourth year the survey has included Australian data. For more information, visit http://www.edelman.com/trust

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