We’re a dubious lot. We don’t trust politicians, naturally. Public servants, of course. Unions, unsurprisingly, given recent events. Mainstream media grows more unpopular by the day. But our deep-seated scepticism goes well beyond that.

According to a series of polls by Essential Research, the level of trust we hold in other institutions is eroding. We trust the High Court and the Reserve Bank much less than we did. Even charities, churches and environmental groups. As Bernard Keane writes today:

“The reasons for Parliament and trade unions falling in trust are clear; it’s less clear why they’ve dragged other, independent governmental institutions down with them, or the latter have declined as part of a wider malaise in attitudes.”

A public should question its institutions. But this strain of cynicism seems particularly virulent. Perhaps, particularly in politics, incurable. The way that poisons public debate and policy development is all too apparent at the moment.

Still, at least there’s dear old Aunty. Trust in the national broadcaster only grows stronger. Perhaps it can report on why we hate everything else.

Peter Fray

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