Trust, Parties and Leaders: Findings from the 1987-2016 Australian Election Study

Thursday 14 September 2017

On the 25th of August Professor Ian McAllister and Sarah Cameron delivered a public lecture entitled Trust, Parties and Leaders: Findings from the 1987-2016 Australian Election Study, as part of the Senate Occasional Lecture Series. A recording of the lecture can be viewed below, and found at its original source here.

Political trust is a major issue in contemporary democracies and Australia is no exception. The most recent Australian Election Study found that public satisfaction with democracy and trust in politicians had reached some of the lowest levels ever recorded. The results are indicative of rising popular disaffection with the political class, as has emerged dramatically in Britain and the United States.

Drawing upon Australian Election Study surveys fielded after every election over the past thirty years, the lecture provided an analysis of voter opinion in three areas: 1) trust in politics and attitudes towards democracy; 2) assessments of the political parties; and 3) perceptions of the political leaders. The lecture shed light on why we are witnessing such dramatic changes in how Australians feel about the political system and concluded with some proposals for political reform.

Speakers

Professor Ian McAllister is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at The Australian National University. He has been director of the Australian Election Study since 1987, a large national post-election survey of political attitudes and behaviour. His recent books include The Australian Voter (University of New South Wales Press, 2012) and Political Parties and Democratic Linkage (Oxford University Press, 2011). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Sarah Cameron is a researcher in the ANU School of Politics and International Relations, and is the co-author of the Trends in Australian Political Opinion monograph. Her research covers political behaviour and public opinion in Australia and in cross-national comparison. She has contributed to several major projects on elections and democracy including the Australian Election Study and the Comparative Cross-National Electoral Research Project.

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