Confidence in Australian Institutions
In 2019, we asked respondents in Cohort 2 who were aged 30-31 years about their levels of confidence in Australian institutions including banks and financial institutions, the Federal Government, the media, trade unions and the legal system.
We find that less than 1% of participants had a great deal of confidence in the media and more than a quarter had no confidence at all. Our participants’ levels of confidence in the Federal Government’s capacity to act in their interests and those of the country was very low, with 80% of participants saying that they had little, or no confidence in the government, nearly a quarter expressing little confidence in Australia’s financial institutions and one in four saying they had no confidence in the Australian political system. Yet other institutions continue to have the confidence of Life Patterns participants. The police force and the army, in which 21% participants reported that they had ‘a great deal of confidence’ were the only institutions about which participants expressed strong confidence, with universities a distant second with 9% expressing ‘a great deal of confidence’.
Level of confident in institutions (%)
A great deal of confidence
Quite a lot of confidence
Not very much confidence
None at all
Major Australian companies
Banks and financial institutions
Australian political system
We also examined confidence institutions by gender to look at how levels of confidence differed by men and women. Male participants were more likely than their female peers to report having no confidence in these Australian institutions. Men were more likely to report having no confidence in the media: 33.8% compared to 22%; the Federal Government: 30% compared to 22.9%; and trade unions: 16.7% compared to 9%.
You can read more about young people’s confidence in institutions in our report, ‘Young Adults’ Confidence in Australian Institutions’ by Jenny Chesters and Johanna Wyn which can be accessed here.
Most important issues in 2017
In 2017, we asked respondents in both Cohort 1 who were aged between 43 and 44 years of age and Cohort 2 who were aged between 28 and 29 years of age to nominate the most important issues facing them. We analysed their open text comments. Almost all of Cohort 1 participants and three-quarters of Cohort 2 participants provided answers to this question.
Our analysis of their responses shows that one major issue unites both generations: concern about the environment/ climate change. Other areas of concern tended to reflect people’s life stage. For Cohort 1, who are the older cohort, the other most important issues were the cost of living, security and terrorism, education and the economy. For Cohort 2, the other most important issues were the lack of jobs/ job security, drug abuse, housing affordability and health.
Top 10 most important issues for Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 (2017)
You can read more lifelong learning in our report ‘Examining the most important issues in Australia: similarities and differences across two generations’ by Jenny Chesters, Julia Cook, Hernán Cuervo and Johanna Wyn which can be accessed here.