Australians trust doctors most, politicians least, survey finds

A lockdown-plagued year has reinforced Australians’ trust in the medical community and distrust of politicians, a new poll shows.

Apr 28, 2021, updated Apr 28, 2021
Doctors say a trial to give more prescribing power to pharmacists is "murky". (Photo: ABC)

Doctors say a trial to give more prescribing power to pharmacists is "murky". (Photo: ABC)

The annual survey of more than 3000 Australians found they trust doctors the most of any profession after the COVID-19 pandemic put health in the spotlight.

Nurses and paramedics rounded out the top three of the Trusted Professions poll, while scientists were ranked fifth overall.

The Australian Reader’s Digest, which commissioned an independent market research agency to conduct the survey, said it was no surprise as care-giving professions consistently crack the top five each year.

“Medical professionals are trusted across the board,” it said.

“Throughout the pandemic, medical professionals took their role of health guardians very seriously, whether it was on the frontline in hospitals, or by making home visits and phone consultations.

“Their diligence and guidance was transparent and thorough.”

Other professions in the top 10 were firefighters, police officers, teachers, pharmacists, pilots and vets.

At the other end of the spectrum, Australia’s politicians were the least trusted class of professionals closely followed by journalists.

The survey noted that was telling against the backdrop of the pandemic as Australia’s political leaders leaned heavily on the advice of health experts.

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“Looking back at the daily updates our political leaders gave – both state and federal – it was their respective chief medical officers the prime minister and state premiers referred to for guidance on closing borders, wearing masks, and vaccination rollouts,” it said.

“In what has been a very difficult time for politicians, by acquiescing to the medical and scientific experts, they clearly recognised their role was to listen to those in the know.”


* 1-10: doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, scientists, police officers, teachers, pharmacists, pilots, and vets

* 10-20: members of armed forces, social workers, judges, dentists, religious ministers and priests, psychologists/counsellors, accountants, financial planners, post office workers, and childcare workers

* 20-30: Lawyers, retail workers, builders, aged care workers, CEOs, social media producers, security guards, delivery drivers, journalists, and politicians.

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