Scott Morrison federal ICAC
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

Scott Morrison's claim yesterday that a national integrity body is a "fringe issue" should haunt him all the way to his political grave. The Prime Minister likes to deride issues he's not comfortable with as emanating from the "Canberra bubble", but dismissing Australians' growing belief that the political system doesn't work for them but for special interests is the ultimate example of a politician trapped inside a bubble, disconnected from reality.

Let's consider some numbers. In the wake of the 2016 election, ANU's election study found that just 26% of voters thought people in government could be trusted -- the lowest level ever recorded. The global Edelman Trust Barometer series' 2018 edition showed that trust in government in Australia had fallen to 35% -- significantly lower than in brutal dictatorships like Russia (44%), Turkey (51%) and China (84%). A joint Griffith University and Transparency International Australia study in August this year showed a significant rise in the proportion of voters who believe federal politicians are corrupt, amid rising levels of distrust of government. Australians have never been fond of politicians, but they are increasingly convinced the political system doesn't serve their interests but those of politicians and those who can reward them.