Source: (2009) Australia and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference 2009: Conference Proceedings. Pg. 132-141.Public opinion about crime and punishment is playing an increasing role in Australian criminal justice policy. The trend towards policy makers seeking to understand and respond to the public mood should, on the face of it, be welcomed. In reality though there are dangers; public anger and fear can result in populist responses being adopted for short-term electoral gain. This paper discusses the pros and cons of dalliances with public opinion research. It outlines the political dangers with the production of such data and makes some comment on what reliable social indicators of trust in criminal justice might look like. (Authors abstract).