Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Australian views of Russia have plummeted. Only 5% of Australians say they trust Russia ‘somewhat’ or ‘a great deal’ to act responsibly in the world. This represents a 21-point fall from 2021, and marks Russia displacing China as the least trusted country for Australians.
Most Australians continue to hold very low levels of trust in China, with 12% saying they trust China somewhat or a great deal, a 40-point decrease since 2018. A bare majority of Australians (51%) trust Indonesia, which is steady from 2021. Trust in India has declined somewhat, with 56% saying they trust India to act responsibly in the world, a five-point fall in the past year.
Trust in the United States has rebounded from its historic low levels in 2019 and 2020. Two-thirds of Australians (65%) trust the United States to act responsibly. This result is stable from 2021, but remains 18 points below the levels of trust expressed towards the United States in 2009 and 2011 (83%).
Japan and the United Kingdom rank at the top of the list of countries in 2022, with 87% of Australians saying they trust Japan and the United Kingdom to act responsibly in the world. Despite recent tensions in Australia’s relationship with France following the AUKUS announcement, eight in ten Australians (82%) trust France to act responsibly in the world. This remains steady from 2018, the last time that France was included in this list.
Australians’ dramatic decline in trust in Russia in 2022 corresponds with many Australians losing confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin. Only 6% of Australians say they have ‘a lot’ or ‘some’ confidence in Putin to do the right thing regarding world affairs, which marks a ten-point decline since 2021. This places him at the same level as North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, who also inspires confidence in only 5% of Australians.
Only 11% of Australians say they have a lot or some confidence in President Xi Jinping to do the right thing regarding world affairs. This figure has halved since 2020 (22%) and has fallen by 32 points since 2018 (43%).
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tops the list of global leaders again, with 87% expressing confidence in her (though this has fallen four points from 2021). Despite the bilateral tensions between Australia and France, the majority of Australians (67%) express confidence in French President Emmanuel Macron. Australians also hold high levels of confidence in Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, with 65% saying they have confidence in him. Six in ten Australians (59%) have confidence in Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which is unchanged from 2021.
While trust and warmth towards the United States have increased in 2022, fewer Australians express confidence in US President Joe Biden than in 2021. Six in ten Australians (58%) say they have some or a lot of confidence in President Biden, an 11-point decrease from his inauguration year of 2021. This remains 28 points above the confidence expressed in former President Donald Trump in 2020 (30%).
41 questions match this theme
In 2014, Australia signed free trade agreements with Japan, Korea and China. On balance, do you personally think these kinds of free trade agreements are good or bad for the Australian economy and for Australia's relations with those countries, or do they make no difference?