National safety


Theme: Secure
Dimension: Living peacefully and feeling safe


Proportion of Australians who feel ‘safe’ or ‘very safe’ based on views of world events

Why does this matter

National, regional and global events undoubtedly influence the individual and collective wellbeing of Australians. This has become especially apparent as global interconnectedness has increased since the second half of the twentieth century.

This development has created both benefits and risks to the wellbeing of Australians. We need international engagement to maintain a stable and open trading environment, as well as international peace and security. Australia’s security is underpinned by an Indo-Pacific region that is open, stable and prosperous, and where sovereignty is respected.

Ensuring Australia’s prosperity and security in a more complex world requires all elements of statecraft – including diplomatic engagement and economic and development capability, underwritten by military capability, economic security, domestic resilience, and strong borders.

Has there been progress

The Lowy Institute Poll 2023 shows that Australians’ feelings of safety – based on perceptions of world events – has trended down since 2005 and hit historic lows in 2020. In 2005, 91 per cent of polled Australians reported feeling ‘very safe’ or ‘safe’, this declined to a low of 50 per cent in 2020 – coinciding with onset of COVID‑19 pandemic – and recovered to 63 per cent in 2023.1

1 The Lowy Institute, Lowy Institute Poll 2023, accessed 13 July 2023.

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