Federal Election 2016: Trust in Australian politicians, political system 'at lowest level in 20 years'

Just over a week out from the federal election, a new survey has found fewer than half of Australians are happy with the way democracy works.

Key points:

  • Only 42 per cent of people are happy with the way democracy works
  • Trust in Australian politicians is at its lowest level in two decades
  • The project will now target small focus groups, starting in Victoria

The findings were part of a wide-ranging project aimed at assessing Australians' attitudes to politicians and democracy.

Surveys led by the University of Canberra showed only 42 per cent of Australians were happy with the way democracy worked.

It also found trust in politicians and the political process was at its lowest ebb in more than two decades.

The project is now drilling down into focus groups, with the electorate of Indi in north-east Victoria the first candidate.

"The evidence from Indi, and nationally for that matter, is that the key question for the majority of Australians come election time is who do you trust to run the country?" lead researcher Mark Evans said.

"For many Australians, political parties are simply failing to capture the political imagination.

"This provides the space for either independents or minority parties to build alternative agendas around the politics of trust or a wake-up call to the main parties to reconnect with the citizens."

Professor Evans said the research, that surveyed more then 1,400 people across Australia, had no political agenda but rather was aimed at gauging the current political sentiment.

"What we see in Indi, and we have picked up more broadly, is that dissatisfaction runs high and the current election doesn't seem to have boosted people's opinions either," he said.

The research will contribute to a new exhibition at the Museum of Old Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in 2017.

Source: ABC News

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