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Public Trust in Charities on the Rise


4 October 2017 at 5:03 pm
Lina Caneva
The latest Essential Media poll into public perceptions around major institutions has seen a rise in Australians’ trust in charities since the start of 2017, with environmental groups recording an even sharper rise.


Lina Caneva | 4 October 2017 at 5:03 pm


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Public Trust in Charities on the Rise
4 October 2017 at 5:03 pm

The latest Essential Media poll into public perceptions around major institutions has seen a rise in Australians’ trust in charities since the start of 2017, with environmental groups recording an even sharper rise.

The poll found trust in charities rose by 1 per cent to 46 per cent, compared to 45 per cent in January 2017. In September 2016 trust was at 43 per cent and at a high of 49 per cent in October 2015.

Essential Media said overall, trust in institutions had changed little since this question was asked in January. However the poll found the main change was for environmental groups – up 3 per cent to 42 percent.

Charities made it into sixth place and environment groups in seventh place in the trust stakes in a list of 15 institutions.

Respondents had most trust in the federal police (71 per cent), state police (67 per cent), the High Court (61 per cent), the ABC (52 per cent) and the Reserve Bank (49 per cent).

The poll found that Australians had least trust in political parties (17 per cent), business groups (27 per cent), trade unions (27 per cent) and religious organisations (28 per cent).

Overall, trust in media increased slightly since this question was asked in March – however rankings remained much the same, according to the poll.

The most trusted media were ABC TV news and current affairs (63 per cent a lot/some trust), SBS TV news and current affairs (61 per cent) and ABC radio news and current affairs (58 per cent).

The least trusted media sources were internet blogs (20 per cent) and commercial radio talkback programs (35 per cent).

The poll found that the main changes since February last year had been for news and opinion websites (up 4 per cent) and ABC TV news and current affairs (up 4 per cent).

Philanthropy Australia’s Advocacy and Insight Manager, Krystian Seibert told Pro Bono News: “Charities work to address disadvantage and amplify the voices of communities right across Australia, so it’s not surprising that trust in charities far exceeds that of many other organisations and institutions.

“This trust is a precious currency which charities work hard to maintain, and it helps to have the ACNC to support and promote transparency and good governance.

“But the findings also show that proposals to restrict the advocacy role of charities and environmental groups are a bad idea, because as trusted institutions they have a key role advocating in the public interest and balancing out the influence of other interest groups.”


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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