Who Aussies are most confident in
COVID-19 has been a "shot in the arm" for confidence in the federal government, but Australians retain more trust in its state and territory equivalents, new analysis shows.
Confidence in the federal government has almost doubled to 54.3 per cent since February 2020, according to an Australian National University survey of more than 3000 Australians.
It was in the doldrums at just 27.3 per cent in February 2020, when Prime Minister Scott Morrison faced a backlash over his response to the Black Summer bushfires.
But a new crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, prompted a "major U-turn" in perception, said co-author Nicholas Biddle.
"In many ways, the COVID-19 crisis has been a massive shot in the arms for the government and the Prime Minister. Clearly many Australians think they have handled the crisis well," he said.
Confidence had dropped slightly since peaking in November.
But the latest data showed the federal government garnering the lowest level of confidence of the key institutions surveyed, trailing state and territory governments, the police and the public sector.
COVID-19 prompted state border closures, lockdowns, and the largest wage subsidy scheme in the nation's history.
Mr Biddle said the results showed Australians were "neither overtly dissatisfied with this presence or with the implementation of many of these measures".
Indigenous and younger Australians were "much less likely" to have a favourable perception of the federal government and police.
"This is an important finding, considering the profound impact of the Black Lives Matter movement in Australia and across the globe," Professor Biddle said.
The health system and hospitals enjoyed the highest confidence levels reported by Australians.
But people born overseas were less likely to trust hospitals or health officials, a fact that "presents a challenge" to the country's COVID-19 response, Professor Biddle said.
The survey covered a period in which government intervention became more prevalent in Australians' everyday lives.
The study was based on data provided by the Social Research Centre.
Originally published as Who Aussies are most confident in