• Print
  • Email

Opinion & Commentary


Opinion and Commentary contains media articles written by CIS researchers.  Communications Manager: Karla Pincott 0411 759 934

  • Reform spending not taxes

    03 Aug 2015 | Australian Financial Review

    The response to increasing spending on health costs should not be raising the GST, but in reforming expenditure and making individuals pay more of the health services they consume. Read More

  • Don’t hike the GST, reform hospital spending instead

    23 Jul 2015 | ABC The Drum

    Under no circumstances should the GST rate be raised to pour larger sums of taxpayer’s money into the fiscal black holes of state government health services. Read More

  • Federal comfort zones must be abandoned

    22 Jul 2015 | Canberra Times

    Much has been said about the contest between political expediency and visionary leadership in the recent conduct of public policy. Read More

  • The big problem with raising the GST

    21 Jul 2015 | Business Spectator

    Mike Baird’s daring call for a 50% increase in the GST has put a bold idea on the table and is to be commended for that. But that doesn’t necessarily mean his prescription is good for the country. Read More

  • The government still doesn’t get childcare

    15 Jul 2015 | SBS

    Despite the 2015 Budget’s huge increase in childcare spending, the government still isn’t addressing the key problems with childcare.   Read More

  • The Nats aren't happy when the ag industry is treated like any other

    14 Jul 2015

    ‘Agriculture is at the heart of the Australian identity’ or so the government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper assures us. Read More

  • Pensioners are prudent by relying on taxpayers

    10 Jul 2015 | Newcastle Herald

    Australia is currently having an overdue debate on retirement income policy. However, as the government and opposition both rule out certain options for political reasons, we risk the retirement system... Read More

  • A Golden Rule for Australia’s Fiscal Spending

    08 Jul 2015 | Canberra Times

    Australians seeking an answer on how to reign in the fiscal deterioration of the last decade should turn their eyes to Europe. More precisely, to Switzerland. Read More

  • School funding report makes flawed case for full Gonski reforms

    04 Jul 2015 | The Australian

    As we pass the halfway mark of the four year federal education budget cycle, attention is turning once again to the issue of schools funding. Read More

  • When the recession comes

    25 Jun 2015 | Business Spectator

     The crucial question is how well are we prepared as a nation to cope with a recessionary scenario? Read More

  • Work for the dole encore: will it work?

    30 May 2015 | Canberra Times

    The National Work Experience Programme plan to allow jobseekers to do a part-time month of unpaid work experience might be a step in the right direction to get long-term unemployed into the job... Read More

  • Hits and misses in the youth employment plan

    15 May 2015 | Business Spectator

    The Budget’s package to help young jobseekers is a step on the right direction, yet it misses the opportunity to introduce more effective breakthrough measures. Read More

  • Retirement changes focus on the wrong assets, won’t boost incomes

    14 May 2015 | Business Spectator

    The fundamental paradox of retirement is that retiree living standards depend on stable and secure incomes, but most retirees typically end up asset rich and cash poor. Solving that problem is key to meeting... Read More

  • The home is key to our ageing future

    28 Apr 2015 | Canberra Times

    The area most obviously in need of reform in Australia today is retirement income. Read More

  • Nanny trial: the devil is in the detail

    28 Apr 2015 | ABC The Drum

    Since the Productivity Commission’s draft report into childcare was released in July last year, the issue of whether nannies – or, more accurately, in-home carers – should be subsidised as part of... Read More

  • Reverse mortgage is key to reform

    27 Apr 2015 | The Australian

    The retirement system is failing to deliver the living standards it could for many retirees and pensioners, while costing taxpayers an increasing — and increasingly unsustainable — amount. Read More

  • 'We get it already': redundant public health campaigns do little

    23 Apr 2015 | The Mandarin

    There are a few aspects of the new $26 million pro-immunisation package that are more objectionable than its bipartisan agreement would suggest. Read More

  • Charities regulator reprieve

    09 Apr 2015 | The Mandarin

    Now that the ACNC is safe, it should focus on making sure that its critics’ worst predictions do not end up coming true. Read More

  • Financial System Inquiry's pre-emptive power straight out of Hollywood script

    08 Apr 2015 | The Canberra Times

    Some suggestions from the Financial System Inquiry might have you thinking you’re in the Hollywood blockbuster Minority Report, after you examine the recommendation for introduction of a pre-emptive... Read More

  • Doctor, charge what you dare

    24 Mar 2015 | The Australian

    Rather than flogging the dead horse of the GP co-payment, the government could have avoided this embarrassment by leaving the responsibility of patient cost sharing to the marketplace.   Read More

  • Pension plan: political pain for little fiscal gain

    19 Mar 2015 | ABC The Drum

    If Scott Morrison is willing to grasp the nettle of pension reform, he would be better off looking at ways to move those with greater means off the payment altogether -- that's where the real savings are. Read More

  • Driven to budget distraction

    13 Mar 2015 | Open Forum

    Given the growing list of budget blunders (for example Medicare reforms), in one sense it should hardly be surprising that the government’s announcement to ‘restore’ funding to a derelict industry... Read More

  • Welfare for car makers: a policy of confusion

    10 Mar 2015 | ABC The Drum

    Today's announcement that the federal government will not uphold its pledge to abolish the funding assistance to the car industry is wrong-footed, counter-productive and confusing. Although the chances... Read More

  • Public policy reforms will control our destiny

    05 Mar 2015 | Business Spectator

    The RBA has decided for now to maintain the benchmark interest rates it pays on overnight funds (aka the ‘cash rate’) at the historic low of 2.25 per cent. However, the market is still expecting one—or... Read More

  • Close hospitals to treat more patients

    03 Mar 2015 | Adelaide Advertiser

    This may sound strange, but the way to get more hospital care and reduce waiting times is to close down public hospitals. Read More

  • Childcare places still come up short

    24 Feb 2015 | Online Opinion

    The Productivity Commission’s report on childcare makes several important recommendations for making the sector more efficient and less complex for families, but doesn’t do enough to address the... Read More

  • Childcare report a vision of how things could be

    20 Feb 2015 | ABC The Drum

    The Productivity Commission has done a relatively good job with its report on the childcare sector and put together a suite of workable policy recommendations, but it is not without serious shortcomings. Read More

  • Kelly O'Dwyer Leadership Lunch speech: Looking to the Future - Fairness

    16 Feb 2015

    CIS Leadership Lunch speech by Member for Higgins and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP. Read More

  • The push for a submarine tender

    13 Feb 2015 | The Strategist

    The government doesn’t seem to understand the words it has been saying on submarines. Read More

  • Target paid parental leave by need

    03 Feb 2015 | The Australian

    WHEN Tony Abbott reluctantly hammered the final nail into the coffin of his signature paid parental leave scheme, the sigh of relief from the Coalition partyroom must have been palpable. Read More

  • Federal-state reform should not mean more tax

    20 Jan 2015 | Australian Financial Review

    The key point for both the tax review and the review of federalism is not to start from the premise that overall taxation needs to be increased or that an increase in the GST is inevitable. Read More

  • Sizing up Hockey’s budget task

    19 Dec 2014 | Business Spectator

    The mid-year budget update (MYEFO) has unleashed speculation about what the Abbott government might do to rein in the budget deficit — and a torrent of both helpful and unhelpful suggestions as to what... Read More

  • Bill Shorten is opposing his own party's health policy

    16 Dec 2014 | Daily Telegraph

    According to Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, the revised GP co-payment represents the death of Medicare. Yet what the Abbott Government is really doing is implementing the health policy of the Hawke Labor... Read More

  • Settle in for Hockey’s budget horror show

    16 Dec 2014 | Business Spectator

    The review shows much to be concerned about in the fiscal outlook and exposes the weaknesses in the Abbott government’s first budget. Read More

  • Tony Abbott's budget strategy must be about getting back to basics

    08 Dec 2014 | Canberra Times

    It’s not enough to say you want to reset the budget debate, or to blame the carnival sideshow in the Senate. Read More

  • If it’s broke don’t fix it, abandon it

    08 Dec 2014

    The Prime Minister’s confirmation that his beleaguered Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme would be “refined” before being put to the parliament in the second half of next year might be a... Read More

  • Green’s super tokenism will do nothing to increase women’s superannuation

    05 Dec 2014 | Online Opinion

    The Australian Greens amendment is not so much bad as it is bizarre. Read More

  • Fertility, prosperity and kangaroos

    01 Dec 2014 | The Spectator

    It is well known that Australia has a serious aging problem because our fertility rate is below the level needed just to keep the population steady (namely, 2.1 children per woman).   Read More

  • Government preventive health measures don’t add up

    26 Nov 2014 | The Australian

    Preventive has become the hottest word in healthcare. From politicians in parliament to talking heads on television, everyone seems to be saying that preventive care is the smart way to get more bang for... Read More

  • Comment: Childcare | the new frontier in the culture wars

    04 Oct 2014 | The Spectator

    Increasingly, institutionalised childcare is being used to promote green and progressive agendas. Read More

  • Comment: Education does not need Commonwealth in schools

    03 Oct 2014 | Canberra Times, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age

    Ahead of the federal government’s ‘white paper’ on reform of the federation, an issues paper will canvas the specific aspects of federalism that pertain to education.  Read More

  • Abbott's PPL extravagance is a crying shame

    05 Aug 2014 | Business Spectator

    If the government wants to get people back to work, redirecting money from their gold-plated PPL scheme to childcare subsidies is likely to be more effective. Read More

  • Singapore has the right prescription

    28 Jul 2014 | The Australian

    Individuals should be allowed to opt out of Medicare and assume more responsibility for funding their own healthcare. Read More

  • Hockey’s tax receipts don’t reveal the deficit

    22 Jul 2014 | The Australian

    What do Joe Hockey's new tax receipts for individuals really tell us about what the government spends and receives? Read More

  • HECS-style loan scheme for Paid Parental Leave provides fairness for women and taxpayers

    12 Jul 2014 | Open Forum

    We need a PPL scheme that doesn’t push all of the cost onto taxpayers to the benefit of those who least need it. Read More

  • You get senators on side by getting voters on side

    11 Jul 2014 | ABC The Drum

    Many of the Abbott government's key reforms seem unlikely to get through the new Senate. Read More

  • Loan scheme would solve paid parental leave

    07 Jul 2014 | The Australian

    The Abbott government’s paid parental leave scheme is Whitlamesque in its scope and expense. Read More

  • Belated boost for NSW train timetable

    21 Jun 2014 | The Australian

    The nation’s most important city, its engine of growth, is itself unable to grow without better public transport services. Read More

  • Why Abbott's PPL scheme is a policy for dummies

    16 Jun 2014 | Business Spectator

    The Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme does not provide any additional labour force participation incentives for parents who earn above the full-time minimum wage. Read More

  • Critics of a modest GP co-payment should get over it, healthcare has never been free

    31 May 2014 | The Australian

    The cost of Medicare is increasing because health services are usually consumed without user charges, but healthcare never was and never will be "free". Read More

  • Cut spending by cutting government

    30 May 2014 | On Line Opinion

    Plans to double the efficiency dividend indicate the government is lazy about designing public service cutbacks. Read More

  • Canberra should do less, but do what it does well

    29 May 2014 | The Australian

    The efficiency dividend has failed to curb the rising cost of the public service. Read More

  • The cost of PM's gold-plated parental leave

    19 May 2014 | The Canberra Times

    Some of the gold has been chipped off the PM's gold-plated paid parental leave scheme, yet it is still not clear what the scheme will cost. Read More

  • Some progress has been made towards fixing perverse incentives

    14 May 2014 | The Guardian

    The reforms to family tax benefits are the most significant since the current policies were first introduced as part of the GST reform package. Read More

  • Keeping the cuts in the family

    14 May 2014 | Business Spectator

    Joe Hockey’s first budget is a hesitant first step towards fiscal responsibility but the age of entitlement hasn’t ended yet. Read More

  • Levy and parental leave scheme make bad politics

    12 May 2014 | The Australian Financial Review

    The temporary deficit tax has joined the gold-plated PPL scheme as a policy millstone around the neck of the Prime Minister. Read More

  • Paid parental leave without the taxpayer bill

    01 May 2014 | ABC The Drum

    The PM's announcement that the income threshold of the proposed PPL will be lowered to $100,000 does nothing to fix the scheme's underlying flaws. Read More

  • Curb education spending now to save hard cuts later

    30 Apr 2014 | The Australian

    Australian governments seeking to reduce public debt cannot quarantine school education budgets from their efforts. Read More

  • A short-term deficit levy plug does not fill a long-term hole

    30 Apr 2014 | The Australian Financial Review

    A temporary tax increase makes no economic sense. It makes no difference to what the deficit will be after the increase is removed. Read More

  • Generosity of Abbott's paid parental leave scheme puts budget in jeopardy

    29 Apr 2014 | The Guardian

    There is room for cuts when it comes to family benefits, but the case for reform is substantially weakened by the prime minister’s paid parental leave entitlement plan. Read More

  • Raising tax revenue just to throw it away is no answer

    23 Apr 2014 | Australian Financial Review

    From troubling deficit figures in recent budgets, to dire predictions of blowouts in health and ageing spending in the intergenerational reports, and Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson's warning of threats... Read More

  • No easy fix for youth unemployment

    22 Apr 2014 | The Canberra Times

    The youth unemployment rate, now 13.6 per cent, is twice the economy-wide rate, and the youth employment-to-population ratio has fallen by 10 per cent since 2008. Read More

  • Getting to the root of the 'tax crisis'

    21 Apr 2014 | Business Spectator

    Politicians have made promises that cannot be honoured from the existing tax base. Some may call that a revenue problem, but it is actually a spending problem. Read More

  • Sealing of ballot boxes brings end to ‘phony war’

    05 Apr 2014 | The Australian

    The Commission of Audit’s report will be a manifesto for a government that knows its limitations and allows its citizens space to exercise personal responsibility. Read More

  • Audit report may cut government meddling

    03 Apr 2014 | The Australian Financial Review

    Future prosperity depends on our ability to seize the fiscal downturn and the national debt crises in Europe and the United States as an opportunity to reassess the proper size and scope of government. Read More

  • States heading for a debt problem

    27 Mar 2014 | Open Forum

    If the states want to be able to spend on infrastructure, they have to keep a tight rein on operating expenses for years to come as the debt of state governments has risen dramatically in the last years. Read More

  • Protectionism no cure for our woes

    13 Feb 2014 | ABC The Drum

    We need to understand why the automotive industry is shutting up shop and avoid resorting to protectionism. Read More

  • Bring back Medicare co-payment

    19 Dec 2013 | The Australian

    The Treasury’s Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook has revealed that next year’s $47 billion federal budget deficit will be at least 50% bigger than the $30 billion deficit forecast when the Abbott... Read More

  • Fixing our runaway spending must be more profound than cuts

    13 Dec 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    If the Treasurer and Finance Minister don’t close the door now, we may have to go cold turkey on spending. Read More

  • Giving Holden money is like putting a Band-Aid on a corpse

    11 Dec 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    It’s time for politicians to get real and admit that taxpayer handouts are political, not economic, decisions. Read More

  • Double trouble means it's time for drastic cuts

    21 Nov 2013 | The Canberra Times

    Duplication across state and federal governments blurs the lines of responsibility and unnecessarily increases costs to taxpayers. Read More

  • The challenge facing the Abbott government

    21 Nov 2013 | The Drum

    For the Coalition's rhetoric on the 'budget emergency' to mean anything, cuts need to be made to corporate welfare and Family Tax Benefit. Read More

  • Hockey must by guided by the mantra of Mr Micawber

    14 Nov 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    The burden of restoring balance to our fiscal position will fall on future generations. The moral aspect of this problem is intense and needs to be addressed now. Read More

  • Memo to Abbott: Time is money we can’t afford

    04 Nov 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    The idea that a government needs to point to a specific electoral mandate for each of its actions is a furphy. Read More

  • Manufacturing votes and hindering business

    30 Aug 2013 | Business Spectator

    Attempts to justify the largesse that goes from taxpayers to the manufacturing industry are not persuasive. Read More

  • Don't bank on PEFO projections

    26 Aug 2013 | ON LINE Opinion

    The Projection of a surplus in 2016/17 is a chimera, based on long-term averages and unrealistic assumptions. Read More

  • Infrastructure, not entitlement, needed to boost productivity

    25 Jul 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    Wasteful misspending by the government has a high opportunity cost that strikes at the heart of productivity and competitiveness. Read More

  • Smaller government is vital for business growth

    16 Jul 2013 | The West Australian

    Australia is at risk of waking up from the mining boom with nothing to show but a debt hangover and an economic headache. Read More

  • Moral mission of small government

    27 Jun 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    Regardless of which party wins the election in September, the new government will have much more important issues to deal with than whose turn it is to be leader. Read More

  • Taxpayer money wasted chasing film productions

    20 Jun 2013 | The Drum

    Should the Australian public be supporting Hollywood productions with only dubious benefit to Australia? Read More

  • It's time to put the break on corporate welfare

    23 May 2013 | The Drum

    Corporate welfare for a favoured few - like Australia's car manufacturers - cannot be justified. Read More

  • Gillard Deal Risks NDIS Timebomb

    13 May 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    In its eagerness to lock in the funding and governance arrangements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Gillard government seems to have created a fiscal time bomb, where future federal... Read More

  • Only a super-style savings system now will help Medicare survive

    30 Apr 2013 | The Australian

    THE intergenerational reports have told us repeatedly that escalating government spending on health is unsustainable in an ageing Australia. But despite the warnings about the future of the health system,... Read More

  • It’s time for surgery: the public purse is in dire health

    26 Apr 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    Reducing inefficient spending may harm vested interests, but meaningful reform cannot occur if no one is ever allowed to be worse off. Read More

  • The magic pudding state

    23 Apr 2013 | The Drum

    Australians want government to spend more money on us, but we do not want to hand any more of our cash over to the tax office. Read More

  • Cure for a bloated public sector

    05 Apr 2013 | The Canberra Times

    TARGET30 is not a slash-and-burn campaign; it simply asks people to consider what they really need government to provide. Read More

  • Unrealistic expectations of Australian defence spending

    04 Apr 2013 | ON LINE Opinion

    Australian defence planners must abandon inefficient big-ticket capital purchases in favour of a more sustainable and balanced defence force structure. Read More

  • NDIS highlights welfare waste

    27 Mar 2013 | The Australian

    It is time to end the tax-welfare churn and return the savings to taxpayers through tax cuts. Read More

  • Need to cut fat before we all pay the price

    11 Mar 2013 | The Australian

    Governments are seemingly incapable of breaking their addiction to increasing spending. Read More

  • Buying votes does no one any good

    06 Mar 2013 | Australian Financial Review

    There’s a danger we are blundering headlong towards the spending abyss. Read More

  • Time to scrap the minimum wage?

    28 Feb 2013 | Business Spectator

    To get the unemployed back into work, the government could allow businesses a six-month exemption from the minimum award wage. Read More

  • Extending NDIS poses threat

    21 Feb 2013 | Australian Financial Review

    The age restrictions on the NDIS are crucial in maintaining the scheme’s financial integrity and maximising its benefits. Read More

  • A failure of enterprise bargaining mechanics

    30 Jan 2013 | Business Spectator

    Australia's current enterprise bargaining system makes it difficult for automotive manufacturers to improve their performance and save jobs. Read More

  • Increasing Newstart would be a costly failure

    25 Jan 2013 | The Punch

    An increase in the base rate of Newstart Allowance will not do much to break down the barriers to employment for the long term unemployed. Read More

  • Car industry subsidies a waste of money

    23 Jan 2013 | Australian Financial Review

    Government assistance to the automotive industry has been an expensive failure. Read More

  • Improving lives or just a welfare monster in the making?

    15 Nov 2012 | The Australian

    There is a real danger the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be even bigger and more expensive than we imagine. Read More

  • The real solution to poverty: J-O-B-S, J-O-B-S, J-O-B-S

    29 Oct 2012 | The Punch

    Moving people off welfare and into full-time jobs would do more to address poverty than increasing the value of welfare benefits. Read More

  • Australia’s Nuclear Sub Option

    26 Oct 2012 | The Diplomat

    Australia needs the best submarines it can get, and that means the U.S. Navy’s Virginia Class nuclear-powered attack submarine. Read More

  • Australia’s long-term fiscal future

    28 Sep 2012 | Australian Financial Review

    One of Australia’s strengths going into the global financial crisis was the condition of its public finances. We are now in danger of frittering away that strength. Read More

  • Stop-gap subsidies for the car industry must end

    26 Sep 2012 | Australian Financial Review

    The Government needs to stop throwing money at the car industry and train these employees for other industries. Read More

  • Disability, injury insurance schemes need scrutiny

    28 Aug 2012 | The Canberra Times

    The National Injury Insurance Scheme is the forgotten little brother of the bigger, brighter and more popular National Disability Insurance Scheme, but that is no reason to ignore it. Read More

  • How to fund a disability scheme

    01 Aug 2012 | The Australian Financial Review

    First there was the carbon tax, then the mining tax, then the flood tax – and now calls for a national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) levy. Will the stream of new taxes and levies never end? Read More

  • Ability, not disability, should determine access to support

    14 Jul 2012 | The Canberra Times

    Blind people are exempt from certain income support tests, and this anomaly should stop.Blind people are exempt from certain income support tests, and this anomaly should stop Read More

  • Tighten the rules on welfare payments

    08 Jun 2012 | ON LINE Opinion

    There is more to welfare reform than amalgamating the benefits. Read More

  • There are better ways to ensure State's future

    21 May 2012 | The West Australian

    The WA Future Fund announced in the State Budget last week is based on two related but fundamentally flawed ideas. Read More

  • Carmaker triumph or GM hypocrisy?

    29 Mar 2012 | Business Spectator

    It's a product of public relations that Australians believe every government supports its own car industry, and looking at General Motors' ruthless cost-cutting of its European brands puts even more focus... Read More

  • Murray's Future Fund brace is broken

    23 Mar 2012 | Business Spectator

    David Murray's defence of the Future Fund can only inspire doubt about the ability of sovereign wealth funds to enhance Australia's prosperity. Read More

  • Striking a French euro tinderbox

    14 Mar 2012 | Business Spectator

    Either Sarkozy or Hollande will win France’s presidential elections, but the project of European cooperation and integration will surely lose. And the political uncertainty dominating the coming months... Read More

  • The hypocrisy of Europe's bankers

    08 Mar 2012 | The Business Spectator

    As the eurozone crisis has now seemingly calmed down and my friend’s updates become more ecstatic by the week, I am afraid that we are edging ever closer towards his dream scenario. To most Europeans,... Read More

  • Why a sovereign wealth fund won't work

    21 Feb 2012 | Business Spectator

    Many of the desirable objectives of a sovereign wealth fund could be achieved through greater use of enforceable fiscal policy rules that would enable politicians to make long-term commitments to responsible... Read More

  • Fast rail go-slow

    10 Feb 2012 | The Geelong Advertiser

    Long-distance passenger trains are running slower than they were in the steam engine era on some lines in New South Wales and on one line in Victoria, and interstate rail freight is steadily losing market... Read More

  • Give austerity a chance

    08 Feb 2012 | Australian Financial Review

    Fiscal policy should focus on micro-economic issues such as promoting incentives to save, work and invest, as well as ensuring the long-term sustainability of public finances. Read More

  • It's time to bust open the pharmacists' closed shop

    25 Jan 2012 | The Australian

    Pharmacists are vital healthcare professionals. But as Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott look to keep the nation's health budget sustainable, it's also clear that very substantive savings can be made from... Read More

  • Spending Spree wasted decade of prosperity

    18 Nov 2011 | The National Business Review

    NZ’s decade long spending binge was prosperity wasted. Read More

  • Italy defaults on debt and sends lenders broke? So be it

    15 Nov 2011 | Crikey

    The federal government will need to cut spending to ensure a surplus in 2012-13. Read More

  • Liberals Drop Ball in Super Free-For-All

    14 Nov 2011 | Australian Financial Review

    Lifting superannuation to 12% is wrong. Read More

  • Budget surplus fetish means more harsh spending cuts

    09 Nov 2011 | Crikey

    The federal government will need to cut spending to ensure a surplus in 2012-13. Read More

  • Should super contributions be raised to 12 per cent?

    05 Nov 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Four experts debate the topic in The Question.  Here is Adam Creighton's contribution. Some compulsory saving is sensible. People will rationally save too little when they know taxpayers will help support... Read More

  • Care system still abusing forgotten children.

    03 Nov 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    In 2009 the federal parliament apologised to the Forgotten Australians who were physically, sexually, and emotionally abused in state and charitable-run orphanages between the 1920s and 1970s. The national... Read More

  • Housing sense in short supply

    21 Sep 2011 | Business Spectator

    While the rest of the world wonders what the next phase of the GFC will bring; and while the rest of Europe discusses the future of their common currency; the British are pondering an entirely different... Read More

  • Sighs of relief heard from the bankers' bunkers

    16 Sep 2011 | The Age

    Alas, the GFC showed that it is impossible for democratic governments to let large financial institutions fail, however much they should. It is a government's job to free taxpayers from unwittingly providing... Read More

  • Wet ink on a euro death notice

    13 Sep 2011 | Business Spectator

    The euro has been a moribund currency for years. The remaining options to buy it more time have been blocked by the German constitutional court. To end this farcical tragedy someone needs to put the final... Read More

  • Same cracks, just a new coat of paint

    07 Sep 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    Analysis of the NSW Budget Read More

  • Time to revisit RBA board

    07 Sep 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    Union leaders would have you believe that the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia is beholden to the big end of town, but the current unnecessarily tight monetary policy indicates that this is not the... Read More

  • NSW budget: time to cut and shed Mick Dundee image

    06 Sep 2011 | Crikey

    With a public service head count just shy of 390,000, NSW puts the Commonwealth government, with a mere 270,000 staff, to shame. Macquarie Street employs 10% of the NSW workforce. Read More

  • Don't get starry-eyed about housing

    05 Sep 2011 | Sydney Morning Herald

    In textbook markets there is no need for price forecasts. Prices are determined by the interaction of supply and demand. If you fed a supercomputer with all the relevant information about buyer preferences,... Read More

  • Don't get starry-eyed about housing

    05 Sep 2011 | Sydney Morning Herald

    In textbook markets there is no need for price forecasts. Prices are determined by the interaction of supply and demand. If you fed a supercomputer with all the relevant information about buyer preferences,... Read More

  • A miracle that masks a mirage

    01 Sep 2011 | The Australian

    As it turns out, there is not much in the German manufacturing example that Australia should copy. We would be much better advised to make the best of our own comparative advantages of being a resource-rich... Read More

  • There's no such thing as a free healthcare system

    27 Aug 2011 | Sydney Morning Herald

    But when it comes to health, Australians spurn pragmatism and tear up the laws of economics. We shackle ourselves with a government-funded and managed health system with all the hallmarks of the former... Read More

  • A poisoned chalice of EU power

    25 Aug 2011 | Business Spectator

    Eurobonds had not even been on the agenda (officially, that is), and an EU-wide tax on financial transactions almost certainly will die aborning. In another way, however, the Merkel and Sarkozy show was... Read More

  • Who needs credit ratings? They should be optional

    23 Aug 2011 | Crikey

    Banks and investors should thrive or die by the quality of their own assessments of credit risk. They have the most incentive to get it right, writes Adam Creighton, a research fellow at The Centre For... Read More

  • Value cut adrift in a sea of paper money

    16 Aug 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    Abolishing the gold standard was meant to free up gold but central banks still hold about one fifth of the world’s 166,000 tonnes of gold and have bought even more since the financial crisis. Private... Read More

  • Setting a European time bomb

    10 Aug 2011 | Business Spectator

    The announcement by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade US government debt may have been historic but largely inconsequential Read More

  • US Congress swapped a crisis yesterday for a bigger crisis tomorrow

    09 Aug 2011 | Crikey

    I provoked a tirade of abuse from Crikey readers in the past fortnight when I suggested it would be preferable that the $14.3 trillion United States debt ceiling not be raised. Read More

  • Dollars must flow if numbers to grow

    29 Jul 2011 | The Age

    Debate about Australia's population is framed with national aggregates and ignores how local governments deal with increased population. Part of the reason Australians are averse to more people is because... Read More

  • What our economists really think about politics

    26 Jul 2011 | The Conversation

    You might have expected that most economists, following Milton Friedman, view inflation as “always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” Yet only 40% of respondents agreed with the proposition that... Read More

  • No reason or evidence will cure US of its debt fetish

    26 Jul 2011 | Crikey

    The hysteria accompanying the scramble to lift the debt ceiling in the United States is misplaced and self-serving. Read More

  • Think local and give country towns the freedom to prosper or perish

    23 Jul 2011 | The Australian

    FOR politicians, and especially for town planners, letting people decide where and how they want to live has never been an acceptable idea. Administrative elites have always been convinced they know better... Read More

  • Greece bailout: prolonging pain for no real gain

    22 Jul 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    Rescuing the country with another bailout would only prolong the pain. Greece squandered money on the Olympic Games, an over-sized bureaucracy and easy loans Read More

  • Growing anger in local government

    21 Jul 2011 | The Courier Mail

    So how well are Australian local government leaders really equipped to deal with population growth? Read More

  • Local councils deserve a better financial deal

    18 Jul 2011 | The Canberra Times

    Council rates surging to pay for new residents Read More

  • Council rates surging to pay for new residents

    15 Jul 2011 | Crikey

    Local Government struggling to pay for new residents Read More

  • Tax changes are just a redistribution

    14 Jul 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    The carbon pricing scheme was sold by the federal government as containing taxation reform measures, but once again we have lip service from politicians and tinkering at the edges Read More

  • Time for Greece to be forced to live within its means

    28 Jun 2011 | Crikey

    It is morally repugnant that ordinary taxpayers around the world are forced, at great cost, to keep Greece solvent in order to prevent banks from losing money. Read More

  • Carbon tax cuts for all

    04 Jun 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    Revenue from the government’s proposed carbon tax must be returned to taxpayers through income tax cuts or alternatively, the abolishment of the Medicare levy. Read More

  • Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae: Guaranteed to fail?

    17 May 2011 | The Conversation

    The failure of Lehman Brothers was a trivial event compared to the much bigger but largely ignored failure a week before, when Freddie and Fannie were put into ‘conservatorship’ by the US government. Read More

  • Welfare reforms are worthwhile, but not an easy budget fix

    12 May 2011 | Online Opinion

    The best way to get unskilled workers into work is to find them an unskilled job – not try to train them for a skilled position they may never get. Read More

  • Spending pledges need to be backed with hard evidence

    12 May 2011 | Crikey

    The government has blown its last chance to have the sort of budget we should have got in 2008. Read More

  • Budget cuts can be popular

    10 May 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    With an election still more than two years away the government should seize this opportunity to make the sort of cuts it should have made in 2008. Read More

  • Trimming to fit budget's reduced revenue

    13 Apr 2011 | The Australian

    The expenditure review process leading up to the annual budget is rarely about making cuts to existing spending programs. It has more to do with trimming ministers' wish lists to fit the revenue forecast... Read More

  • New Zealand is in a dangerous debt spiral

    10 Mar 2011 | Business Spectator

    The earthquake that struck Christchurch was not only a national catastrophe for New Zealand. It is also becoming clear how devastating it is to the Kiwi economy. Read More

  • The myth of green jobs is leading to industrial decline

    05 Mar 2011 | The Australian

    A German study shows that renewable energy will not boost employment. Read More

  • Levy a $750 cup of coffee

    01 Mar 2011 | The Australian

    Swan has resorted to cheap tricks to spin his flood tax. Read More

  • Why we're in such a sorry state

    Robert Carling | 17 Feb 2011 | The Courier Mail

    A comparison of the six states' performances in fiscal management sheds light on why some states are under more pressure than others to change their spending, taxing and borrowing habits. Read More

  • Borrowers lose as mortgage industry takes its $4bn win

    Stephen Kirchner | 14 Dec 2010 | The Age (Business)

    Rather than taking a hard line, the government is a soft touch. Read More

  • Britain's 'bold' debt detractors

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 28 Oct 2010 | Business Spectator

    The kneejerk Keynesian reactions against the British government’s plans only demonstrate that critics have not fully understood the seriousness of the UK’s long-term fiscal position. Read More

  • Britons brace for age of austerity

    Peter Saunders | 08 Oct 2010 | The Australian

    The British government is looking to the Australian model for welfare reforms. Read More

  • The mining tax debate highlights the terms of trade boom

    Stephen Kirchner | 15 Jul 2010 | The Australian (Business)

    Is the Future Fund the best option to manage the fiscal consequences of the trade boom? Perhaps the revenue would be better used today to provide a lower tax burden or productivity–enhancing infrastructure. Read More

  • Misguided government gets poor return for largesse

    Stephen Kirchner | 17 Mar 2010 | The Age

    The Rudd government’s home insulation program demonstrates the dangers of activist fiscal policy. Read More

  • The seasonal satisfaction index

    Stephen Kirchner | 26 Dec 2009 | Sydney Morning Herald

    According to Joel Waldfogel’s book Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays, you shouldn’t have bought his book as a Christmas gift. The gifts received from family and friends... Read More

  • Big spending, poor results

    Stephen Kirchner | 16 Dec 2009 | The Australian

    Big government spending leads to poor results. Read More

  • Capital gains tax won’t make housing more affordable

    Stephen Kirchner | 23 Nov 2009 | Online Opinion

    Many commentators think a CGT on owner-occupied housing is good economics, but bad politics. In reality, it is bad economics too. Read More

  • The US deficit canary has rattled the cage in warning of dire eventualities

    Robert Carling | 27 Oct 2009 | The Age

    The US government’s finances are in such bad shape that the Congressional Budget Office sounded a public alarm about the risk of debt default, a flight of capital out of the country, an exchange rate... Read More

  • It’s time for a new Medicare

    John Humphreys | 22 Oct 2009 | Online Opinion

    Thirty-five years after the Whitlam government voted for the introduction of universal health care, and following the report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s report, the Rudd... Read More

  • Policymakers Sold Australia Short

    Stephen Kirchner | 14 Oct 2009 | The Australian Financial Review

    The government has argued that GDP growth and the unemployment rate numbers demonstrate the effectiveness of its fiscal stimulus measures. In reality, they demonstrate only that policymakers sold Australia... Read More

  • We’re wasting billions on tax churn

    John Humphreys | 08 Oct 2009 | Business Spectator

    By pulling the middle class into the welfare net, the government is crowding out civil society and undermining personal responsibility, self-esteem, and social capital. Ultimately, our current welfare... Read More

  • Making things worse

    John Humphreys | 11 May 2009 | Business Spectator

    There is an ongoing debate about whether the government’s spending spree is going to work or whether it is a waste of money. Read More

  • Stimulus is a waste of taxpayer’s dollars

    Robert Carling | 05 Feb 2009 | The Newcastle Herald

    Too much is being expected of fiscal stimulus. Read More

  • Tax circle good for no one

    Peter Saunders | 10 Jul 2007 | The Australian

    In the past 40 years, our relationship with state and commonwealth governments has been revolutionised. Before the 1960s, most people lived the majority of their lives relatively autonomously of government.... Read More

  • We need better results from social spending

    | 16 May 2007 | The Independant Financial Review

    Unlike Paris Hilton though, Finance Minister Michael Cullen doesn’t have to pay for it himself. He now spends $55 billion a year of our money on our behalf, which is $20 billion higher than it was seven... Read More

  • Places left untouched by reform

    Andrew Norton | 16 May 2007 | The Australian

    The $5 billion Higher Education Endowment Fund announced in last week's budget gives the Government what it has long lacked: a positive symbol of its support for higher education. University leaders, whose... Read More

  • None of the Treasurer's budget handouts makes any economic sense

    Peter Saunders | 10 May 2007 | The Australian

    What was the overall rationale driving Peter Costello's 12th budget? What fundamental objectives was he trying to achieve? What key principles informed his decisions? His big idea this year was the $5billion... Read More

  • NSW Transport misses the bus by sinking the ferry

    Jessica Brown | 07 May 2006

    Long suffering Sydney commuters could be forgiven for thinking that the NSW government and its conglomerate of over-manned, state-owned transport bureaucracies would take any help they can get to address... Read More

  • Will higher funding really deliver higher education?

    Andrew Norton | 03 Sep 2002 | The Age

    A curious feature of the current higher education debate is that very little of it is about education as such. A few brief arguments about teaching quality and how it can be improved aside, most discussion... Read More

  • Leave off, tax breaks can redress child costs

    Barry Maley | 01 May 2002 | The Australian

    Three fundamental issues underlie the maternity leave debate. First is the form and level of assistance governments should provide to help meet the costs of having children. Read More

  • Give choice a chance: Market phobia sees universities clinging to the stable penury of government funding

    Andrew Norton | 13 Mar 2002 | The Australian

    Five years ago, like today, there were signs that commonwealth higher education policy might be changing. On that occasion, the review of higher education financing and policy, chaired by Roderick West,... Read More

  • A tax credit system should be the basis for funding education

    Jennifer Buckingham | 20 Oct 2001 | The Australian Financial Review

    There is not much for parents or schools to get excited about in the education policies of either of the major parties. As usual, both have taken the middle road, with one leaning slightly toward facilitating... Read More

  • Equity and the costs of learning

    Jennifer Buckingham | 31 Aug 2001 | The Daily Telegraph

    Once again the knives have come out over school funding. But what is the real basis of the opposition to public funding of non-government schools? Is it about the proper use of taxpayers’ money? Or is... Read More

  • Knowledge is a costly affair

    Andrew Norton | 03 Jul 2001 | The Australian Financial Review

    The Knowledge Nation Taskforce's comprehensive agenda for upskilling Australia was widely welcomed yesterday. But the ultimate fate of the task force's report depends on a short passage near the end of... Read More

  • Stop Subsidising a Failure

    Andrew Norton | 09 Aug 2000 | The Australian Financial Review

    John Quiggin is a well- known microeconomic reform sceptic, and in these pages last week questioned whether competition was a practical policy for improving investment in human capital. Read More

  • Publications

    1. The Age Old Problem of Old Age: Fixing the Pension

      Matthew Taylor, Simon Cowan | 27 Apr 2015 | Research Reports

      The Age Pension is unfair to poorer pensioners, badly targeted, and imposing an unsustainable rising cost on the taxpayer. Pension... Read More...

    2. The Age Old Problem of Old Age: Fixing the Pension

      Matthew Taylor, Simon Cowan | 27 Apr 2015 | TARGET30 Papers

      The Age Pension is unfair to poorer pensioners, badly targeted, and imposing an unsustainable rising cost on the taxpayer. Pension... Read More...

    3. Towards a more competitive Medicare: The case for deregulating medical fees and co-payments in Australia

      David Gadiel | 20 Mar 2015 | Research Reports

      This research paper outlines how to introduce a price signal for Medicare without introducing a GP copayment.

    4. Public Money: Federal-State Financial Relations and the Constitutional Limits on Spending Public Money

      Anne Twomey, Robert Carling | 29 Oct 2014 | Occasional Papers

      This paper surveys and explains the history of how the Australian Constitution was intended to deal with federal-state financial... Read More...

    5. Sovereignty, Blame Games and Tony Abbott’s New Federalism

      Anne Twomey, Jeremy Sammut, Nick Greiner, Robert Carling | 28 Aug 2014 | Policy Forum

      This volume brings together the four presentations made to a Centre for Independent Studies public forum on reforming the... Read More...

    View All

    Opinion & Commentary

    1. Reform spending not taxes

      Greg Lindsay | 03 Aug 2015 | Australian Financial Review

      The response to increasing spending on health costs should not be raising the GST, but in reforming expenditure and making ... Read More

    2. Don’t hike the GST, reform hospital spending instead

      Jeremy Sammut | 23 Jul 2015 | ABC The Drum

      Under no circumstances should the GST rate be raised to pour larger sums of taxpayer’s money into the fiscal black holes ... Read More

    3. Federal comfort zones must be abandoned

      Robert Carling | 22 Jul 2015 | Canberra Times

      Much has been said about the contest between political expediency and visionary leadership in the recent conduct of public ... Read More

    4. The big problem with raising the GST

      Robert Carling | 21 Jul 2015 | Business Spectator

      Mike Baird’s daring call for a 50% increase in the GST has put a bold idea on the table and is to be commended for that. ... Read More

    5. The government still doesn’t get childcare

      Trisha Jha | 15 Jul 2015 | SBS

      Despite the 2015 Budget’s huge increase in childcare spending, the government still isn’t addressing the key problems ... Read More

    View All


    1. 3 (wrong) attitudes towards ageing

      Simon Cowan | 31 Jul 2015

      Our population is ageing. This will bring profound economic and fiscal challenges that will require significant changes in ...

    2. Moratorium on health tax and spend policies

      Jeremy Sammut | 31 Jul 2015

      We urgently need to change the conversation about health. The Intergenerational Reports have warned for more than a decade ...

    3. Reform retreat a tax-fest

      Robert Carling | 24 Jul 2015

      Paul Keating once warned, "Never stand between a state premier and a bucket of money". Rarely has the hazard been more on ...

    4. Time to focus on the family

      Trisha Jha | 17 Jul 2015

      The developmental impacts of quality childcare for children who have a deficient home environment are well known....

    5. Co-payment debacle reflections

      Jeremy Sammut | 17 Jul 2015

      The Abbott government's Medicare co-payment proposal prompted the organised medical profession to wage a political campaign ...

    View All