Ethics Index 2020

The Governance Institute of Australia’s Ethics Index surveys more than 1,000 people with various political and socioeconomic backgrounds about their perceptions of ethical issues and conduct.

This year’s results show Australia’s overall ethical rating has soared, with an Ethics Index Score of 52 recorded, up from 37 in 2019, and the highest result in the five years that the study has been conducted.

“It seems that a year of hardship, in which co-operation, trust and transparency have become paramount, has changed our perceptions around how we function as a society” — Governance Institute CEO Megan Motto.

There is also broad consensus on a range of government restrictions to contain COVID-19, in particular lockdowns, the closure of borders, and mandated mask-wearing in public, including on public transport.

The Ethics Index contains the latest breakdown on ethics across sectors, organisations, occupations, issues and influences, as well as the key ethical challenges for 2021.

Get the lowdown for 2020

DOWNLOAD the report

Read the media release 

View the briefing note — key findings and recommendations 

Previous Ethics Index results

Download the 2019 Ethics Index presentation

Download the 2018 Ethics Index presentation

Download the 2017 Ethics Index presentation

Download the 2016 Ethics Index presentation


Fear and Greed podcast: Listen to Megan Motto discuss the Ethics Index 

Lawyers Weekly podcast: Listen to Megan Motto discuss the Ethics Index

Media enquiries

Our CEO Megan Motto is available to discuss the Ethics Index findings. To request an interview, please email 

About Ethics Index 2020

  • Annual survey, now in its fifth year, examining perceptions of ethical issues and conduct in Australian society.
  • Survey carried out across a nationally representative sample (n=1,000) 1-13 October 2020 and weighted according to age, gender and location.
  • The research is conducted by Ipsos and conceived, designed and commissioned by C3 Content Pty Ltd.

About Governance Institute of Australia

  • A national membership association, advocating for a community of 40,000 governance and risk management professionals from the listed, unlisted and not-for profit sectors.
  • Our mission is to drive better governance in all organisations, which will in turn create a stronger, better society.

Want to make a difference?

We listen to our members and advocate their views through policy reform.

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