Opinion polls continue to document declining levels of trust in democratic institutions, including Australia’s. In a Roy Morgan research poll published in June, the professionals most trusted by Australians for their ethics and honesty are dominated by the health sector: nurses (94 percent), doctors (89 percent), pharmacists (84 percent) and dentists (79 percent). School teachers, engineers, police officers, judges and university professors are also highly trusted. But newspaper and TV journalists hold the trust of just 20 percent and 17 percent and parliamentarians of only 16 percent. At 37 percent, citizens have more faith in public servants than in their politician bosses. The proverbial car salesman comes last with just 4 percent trust.

A cross-national poll by the 2017 Trust Barometer by Edelman found that in half the 28 countries surveyed, most believe the entire system is no longer fit for purpose. They hold deep fears of globalization, immigration and value systems. Globally, trust in government declined over one year from 42 percent to 41 percent. In Australia it plummeted from 45 percent to 37 percent. Trust in media declined globally from 48 percent to 43 percent, and in Australia from 42 percent to 32 percent. Falls were recorded also in Japan (38 percent to 32 percent), Britain (36 percent to 32 percent), Germany (44 percent to 42 percent), and Canada (55 percent to 45 percent). It stayed at 47 percent in the U.S., meaning less than half Americans trust their media.

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