Hugh Jackman seen as most caring famous Australian, Dick Smith the most trustworthy in My Big Idea poll

By Justin Lees
The Herald Sun
June 06, 2016
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HOLLYWOOD star Hugh Jackman is seen as our most caring famous face — while “buy Aussie” campaigner Dick Smith is considered our most trustworthy.

And business legend Smith has a message all of us can trust: get aboard the My Big Idea campaign.

“You’re not a real Australian unless you are part of this,” he told News Corp Australia. “Everyone needs to come up with an idea, no matter how big or small.

Jackman and Smith came out ahead of politicians past and present, plus a number of other celebrities from the worlds of sport, entertainment and business, in a Galaxy poll of 1000 Australians — part of the My Big Idea push for a better Australia.

Action hero, musical performer and all-round nice guy Jackman was number one when respondents were asked: “Which of these Australians do you consider the most caring or compassionate?”

He was followed by former Australian of the Year and anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, Smith, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, media dames Ita Buttrose and Kerri-Anne Kennerly and singer Jess Mauboy.

Jackman was also voted second most trustworthy, behind Smith, championed especially by members of Generations X and Y. Cosgrove, former PM John Howard and Batty followed them.

The poll focuses on caring and trust as these are issues thrown up in My Big Idea’s National Values Assessment 2016. The NVA shows Australians want a more caring culture and more accountability and honesty — but do not necessarily think politicians can achieve that; which is why My Big Idea is asking ordinary Aussies for their own ideas to take our nation to the next level.
Smith told News Corp that My Big Idea is a “fantastic campaign” that comes at a time when Australia is lacking inspiration.

“We need to have people inventing things,” he said. “I’m very keen to encourage young people to take responsible risk.”

While Smith was “surprised and honoured” to rank so highly in the poll, he suggested it might be because Australians know “I say l it how it is — politicians don’t”.

Current PM Malcolm Turnbull is the serving politician who comes highest in either category, at Number Six in the “most trustworthy” rankings, followed by the man he uprooted — Tony Abbott — at Number Eight, the two separated by cricket star and charity worker Steve Waugh.

Committed Christian Abbott tops Turnbull in the caring rankings, at Number 14, followed directly by ex-Labor PM Kevin Rudd and the current ALP leader Bill Shorten — with Turnbull at 18th most caring.

Rudd and Shorten — no strangers to internal party knifings themselves — languish at 15 and 17 in the trustworthy stakes. But at least they can comfort themselves with the knowledge they are ahead of radio star Chrissie Swan, movie funnygirl Rebel Wilson, swimmer Ian Thorpe and TV fitness guru Michelle Bridges.

The relatively poor standing of current politicians is no surprise to expert Dr Lauren Rosewarne.

The social and political science lecturer from Melbourne University says many studies have shown the public turning away from political leaders.

“No surprises there,” she says. “Politicians — like used car salesman and real estate agents – are assumed to be the antithesis of trustworthy. They are widely understood as professional liars: it’s a very long time since any serving politicians have been held in any kind of public esteem or trust.”

So why does she think the public went for Hugh and Dick from the choices given?

“For Hugh Jackman the appeal likely lies in smiling innocuousness. He seems like a nice guy and one who hasn’t been embroiled in any scandals. He also seems to have stood by his wife and managed to raise a couple of children which makes him relatable against the backdrop of an otherwise completely unrelatable world: Hollywood.

“Dick Smith has turned himself into a brand centred on Australia: Australian-made, Australian jobs etc. These are qualities that are seen as near-universally good, thus underpinning his appeal.”