Coffs Coast Business

Which business people Australians trust the most and the least – Roy Morgan survey

A special Roy Morgan survey on ‘Trust’ and ‘Distrust’ of business leaders shows Australian entrepreneurs Dick Smith, Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest score the highest ‘Net Trust Scores’ – meaning the ‘Trust’ felt towards the three far outweighs the ‘Distrust’ – according to a special Roy Morgan Snap SMS Survey of 974 Australians aged 14+ conducted this week.

March 21 2020

People surveyed in Australia were asked ‘Which business leaders do you trust. List as many as you can think of?’ and also ‘Which business leaders do you distrust. List as many as you can think of?’ By subtracting distrust from trust we arrive at a Net Trust Score (if trust outweighs distrust) or Net Distrust Score (if distrust outweighs trust).

The three entrepreneurs atop the Net Trust Score rankings are all from different generations with Dick Smith a ‘Pre-Boomer’ born during World War II, Mike Cannon Brookes an early Millennial and Andrew Forrest a Baby Boomer born in the early 1960s.

Mike Cannon-Brookes and his fashion designer wife, Annie. Photo: Getty Images.

Behind the top three is Qantas CEO Alan Joyce from Generation X. Also scoring highly for ‘Trust’ are Medical Leaders/Professionals and the Australian Medical Association which is currently at the forefront of dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Top 4 Business Leaders for Net Trust Score

Source: Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey conducted on March 18-19, 2020.
Base: Australians aged 14+. n=974.

Businessmen with the highest ‘Net Distrust Scores’ include Rupert Murdoch and Clive Palmer

At the other end of the scale are business leaders whose ‘Distrust’ outweighs their ‘Trust’ among Australians. The business leaders featuring near the top of the Net Distrust Score rankings are all Baby Boomers or the older Pre-Boomers.

Media proprietor Rupert Murdoch scores the highest ‘Distrust’ of any businessman ahead of ex-politician and mining entrepreneur Clive Palmer and fellow miner Gina Rinehart. All three fill the rankings for the highest ‘Net Distrust‘ and are followed by retailer Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman. Also scoring high levels of ‘Net Distrust’ are the generic ‘Banks/Bank CEOs’ and ‘Mining companies’.

Rupert Murdoch – highly distrusted according to survey
Top 4 Business Leaders for Net Distrust Score

: Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey conducted on March 18-19, 2020.
Base: Australians aged 14+. n=974.

Gina Rinehart – also not trusted highly according to the same survey

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says Australians often look towards high-profile business people to provide leadership in times of crisis and one pleasing result from this survey is the wide age range spanning generations for the business people scoring highly for ‘Net Trust’:

“Australians have awarded long-time Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith the unofficial title of Australia’s most trusted businessman with Smith coming out on top with the highest ‘Net Trust Score’ in this special Roy Morgan snap SMS survey on trust and distrust in business leaders.

“Smith has enjoyed a high profile for over 50 years since founding Dick Smith Electronics in the late 1960s. Although the retail chain ceased operations in recent years Smith has continued his political activism and advocacy for issues that are dear to his heart, and clearly dear to the heart of many of his fellow Australians.

“Alongside Dick Smith are two younger entrepreneurs including tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes and mining entrepreneur Andrew Forrest. Cannon-Brookes is the CEO of enterprise software company Atlassian and is a fierce advocate for gender equality and action on climate change.

“Forrest, who is also widely known as ‘Twiggy’, is one of Australia’s richest men and is a high profile advocate for indigenous Australians. Earlier this year ‘Twiggy’ Forrest donated $70 million towards bushfire recovery – the largest single donation for any individual.

“Although there are many leaders in the business community who enjoy both a high profile and a positive Net Trust Score there are also some who suffer from higher levels of ‘Distrust’ than ‘Trust’.

“Although there’s little doubt Rupert Murdoch is Australia’s most successful international businessman ever (spending most of his time in the United States) Murdoch leads ‘the pack’ with the highest ‘Net Distrust Score’. Behind Murdoch are two mining billionaires Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart.

“Additional detail on the reasons Australians have given for ‘Trusting’ and also ‘Distrusting’ this diverse range of leaders from the business community will be released in the coming days.”


First published at Roy Morgan Research, Friday 21 March 2020. See;

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