2022 Barometer shows trust bucks international decline

During a time of dramatic global decline in public trust in institutions, the 2022 Australian Reconciliation Barometer shows mutual trust between First Nations people and other Australians is steady.

Reconciliation Australia has released its 2022 Australian Reconciliation Barometer. 

“This latest survey provides evidence that support for reconciliation and the Uluru Statement from the Heart remains strong,” said Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine. “As does mutual trust between First Nations people and non-Indigenous Australians. 

“Of particular interest is the steep rise in trust when both groups surveyed by the ARB have a social connection with the other group. 

“63% of the non-Indigenous people surveyed said they trusted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and 63% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander said they trusted non-Indigenous people they have not interacted with.  

“However, these percentages rise significantly when the respondents were asked the same question about people with whom they had interacted with. Trust levels rose to 86% of non-Indigenous people expressing trust in First Nations people and 79% of First Nations trusting non-Indigenous people. 

“These rising levels of trust augur well for change, as we head towards the national referendum on The Voice to Parliament.

“This Barometer continues a long-standing trend of overwhelming support for a national representative Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander body and the comprehensive telling (and teaching) of Australia’s true colonial history.

Voice, Treaty, Truth

“80% of Australians believe the creation of a national representative Indigenous body is important and 79% believe such a body should be protected under the constitution. Support from First Nations people sits at 86%.

“It is the growing support for a Treaty between First Nations and other Australians that has seen the most remarkable growth in support with a 19% increase from 53% in 2020 to 72% today. 

“Support for truth-telling remains very high at 83% for the general community and 87% for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents.” 

Closing the gap

Ms Mundine said the 2022 ARB also reveals a strong community view that governments and the private sector must do more to close the gap. 

“Australians have indicated their frustration with the lack of progress in closing the gap and more than 60% of non-Indigenous people and 70% of First Nations people want governments to do more. 

“More than half of the general community, and more than 60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, also believe that the private sector must do more,” said Ms Mundine. 

Racism

“However, it is in the growing experiences of racism endured by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, revealed by the ARB, that we get an indicator of where Australia can do much better. 

“60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people surveyed reported an experience of at least one form of racial prejudice in the past 6 months, an increase of 8% since 2020, and 17% since 2018. 

“57% of First Nations people believe that Australia remains a racist country, a view shared by 42% of non-Indigenous respondents,” she said. 

“As stories of racism in sport and workplaces and the death of a young Noongar man hit our front pages, and amid media reports on the appalling treatment of our children in detention centres, it is clear that as a nation, Australia can do better.

The 2022 Australian Reconciliation Barometer provides clear evidence that Australians are eager for change, and want a more united and cohesive nation,” she said. 

  • 93% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (95% in 2020)and 89% of Australians in the general community (91% in 2020) feel our relationship is important.
  • Nearly all Australians (93%) want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in their own affairs,
  • 80% of the general community (86% in 2020) and
    86% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (91% in 2020) believe it is important to establish a representative Indigenous Body.
  • Support for a national First Nations representative body remains strong with 83% general community and 87% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • More Australians than ever before back a Treaty with 72% of non-Indigenous Australians now supporting a treaty – up from 53% in 2020.
  • A majority believe it is important to undertake formal truth-telling processes in relation to Australia’s shared history – 83% general community and 87% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • 63% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples said they trusted non-Indigenous people they have not interacted with, and non-Indigenous people felt the same way.
  • Trust levels rise steeply when people have social contact:  86% of non-Indigenous people expressing trust in First Nations people and 79% of First Nations trusting non-Indigenous people.
  • 80% of the general community support ANZAC Day ceremonies to honour First Nations and non-Indigenous soldiers.
  • 70% of the general community support the establishment of a national day of significance that celebrates First Nations histories and cultures.
  • 60% of First Nations peoples have experienced at least one form of racial prejudice in the past 6 months (52% in 2020, 43% in 2018). This compares with 25% of non-Indigenous people.

The Barometer is a biennial, national research study, undertaken by Reconciliation Australia since 2008. It is the only survey undertaken in Australia that measures the progress of reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

This research is conducted by Reconciliation Australia, the peak body promoting reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

The ARB is undertaken every two years by Reconciliation Australia since 2008. It shows the attitudes and perceptions First Nations people and non-Indigenous Australians hold about each other and about key issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people. 

  • 532 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (associated with a margin of error of +/-4.2%)  
  • 1990 non-indigenous people (associated with a margin of error of +/-2.2%.)  

Both samples weighted to be representative in terms of age group, gender and location (state and territory populations), as per Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census data.  

A key change in 2022 has been the combination of non-Indigenous and First Nations samples to create the final general community sample. This was necessary to accommodate the new survey questions designed for non-Indigenous or First Nations respondents only.  

  • The combined total base sample of 2522 is associated with a margin of error of +/-1.9% 

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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