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Opinion & Commentary


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

  • Pension reform: Pensioner against pensioner or old against young?

    18 Jun 2015 | SBS

    Upon announcing that the opposition would not support the government’s budget measure to move the wealthiest age pensioners off payment, Bill Shorten accused the government of “setting pensioner... Read More

  • At last, PPL targeted at those who need it

    20 May 2015 | SBS

    Budget 2015 proposes to do what the Gillard government should have done in 2011: Ensure taxpayer funded Paid Parental Leave (PPL) payments go to those who need them. 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

  • New Supported Living Pension would provide greater fairness

    02 Mar 2015 | SBS

    The final report of the Review in Australia’s Welfare System recommends what is probably the most comprehensive restructure of Australia’s income support system since its inception. Read More

  • Means testing free hospital care will make Medicare sustainable

    08 Jan 2015 | The Australian

    Unless a means test is employed, and so long as the Medicare continues to offer ‘free and universal’ public hospital care paid for by taxes, consumers will have scant incentive to take out private... Read More

  • Overloading welfare state leaves children to pay

    05 Jan 2015 | Australian Financial Review

    As 2014 ended, many of us felt as though public life had short-changed us. Read More

  • There is no more money for childcare

    17 Dec 2014 | SBS

    When the government announced last year that the Productivity Commission childcare inquiry would be expected to deliver new policy recommendations that fit within the existing funding envelope, there was... 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

  • Pensions and asset deeming: the real reform needed

    07 Nov 2014 | The Mandarin

    Reform of asset deeming must go beyond recent changes proposed by the federal government. The reform represents modest savings to the budget and does nothing make sure the age pension goes to those who... Read More

  • How the Whitlam mums have begun to vanish

    29 Oct 2014 | Australian Financial Review

    Context, they say, is everything. True or not, it certainly matters, and a glance at context illuminates Gough Whitlam’s decision in 1972 to introduce a special payment for single parents additional... Read More

  • Comment: Disability Support Pension “bludger” mantra does nothing to improve policy

    07 Oct 2014 | ABC: The Drum

    The Daily Telegraph’s recent report about websites that allegedly coach welfare fraudsters on how to claim the Disability Support Pension (DSP)... 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: Human right to the dole is nonsense

    02 Oct 2014 | Daily Telegraph

    These days any political, social or economic problem is quickly cast as a human rights issue.  Read More

  • Government funding of families a puzzle

    08 Aug 2014 | Newcastle Herald

    Are families really well served by the $32 billion family payments system? Read More

  • Tax disincentives for working mums should be removed

    06 Aug 2014 | The Australian

    To increase female labour force participation and repair the budget deficit, start by looking at the perverse incentives in the tax-and-transfer system. Read More

  • Unemployment crackdown: one size doesn't fit all

    01 Aug 2014 | ABC The Drum

    Forrest's solution of extending income management to all unemployed people ignores the fact that people are unemployed for different reasons and so need different policy responses. 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

  • Simple lessons on offer in plugging the welfare drain

    07 Jun 2014 | The Australian

    Britain's welfare reforms show it is possible to get people off welfare and into work without a dramatic overhaul of the whole payments system. Read More

  • Penalty rates cut will give youth a chance to find jobs

    21 May 2014 | The Australian Financial Review

    The Fair Work Commission has handed down a decision that will boost the job prospects of casual workers, reducing Sunday penalty rates for hospitality workers. 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

  • 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 millionaires off the old-age pension

    15 Apr 2014 | The Daily Telegraph

    Joe Hockey should look to address the pension means test that allows millionaires to receive welfare. Read More

  • It's all relative: The poverty wars are back

    04 Feb 2014 | The Drum

    Relative poverty is a poor measure when it comes to forming public policy aimed at helping Australians who are doing it tough. Read More

  • Fiddling with criteria to hide unemployed

    31 Jul 2013 | The Australian

    The government has been hiding the unemployed on unemployment benefits by turning them from 'jobseekers' into 'non-jobseekers.' Read More

  • Policy conflict on jobs for disabled

    22 Jul 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    The social and economic objectives of DisabilityCare cannot be achieved without reform to the disability support pension. 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Disability pension reform key to NDIS success

    20 Dec 2012 | Australian Financial Review

    Reform of the disability support pension is necessary to maximise the benefits of the NDIS. 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

  • Government policy driving dole growth

    12 Sep 2012 | ON LINE Opinion

    The increasing number of people who are on the dole but are exempted from job-search requirements is a serious concern. Read More

  • Higher dole should come as bonus for serious job-seekers only

    31 Aug 2012 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Higher dole should come as bonus for serious job-seekers only. Read More

  • The NDIS will cost us more than we’re being told

    30 Aug 2012 | The Punch

    The National Disability Insurance Scheme presents an opportunity to re-evaluate current and future government expenditure in a moral light: Do they pass an “NDIS test”? 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

  • Disability employment: noble cause, failed policy

    25 Jun 2012 | The Drum

    The National Disability Recruitment Coordinator program is the latest in a series of policy failures from the Government. 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

  • Child protection: generation lost by not being 'stolen'

    05 Jun 2012 | The Drum

    It is incredibly simplistic and misleading to blame the serious problems many troubled children experience on the decision to take them into care. Read More

  • Let's start to expect greater outcomes

    11 Apr 2012 | The Canberra Times

    Fewer than half of Australians with a disability are employed. But we know that given the right help many people, even those with serious disabilities, can work. Read More

  • Mandatory reporting has not failed children

    10 Apr 2012 | The Drum

    Far from the failure it is made out to be, mandatory reporting by police, education and health professionals of children at risk of harm has worked incredibly well. Read More

  • Open up debate on welfare

    10 Feb 2012 | The Canberra Times

    Poor people are often those who miss out on adequate health care: people who can’t afford to go to private hospitals and don’t have the capability to advocate for themselves. 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

  • 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

  • Changing expectations of Aboriginal school attendance

    18 Oct 2011 | The Drum

    If my son wasn't hassled every time he was late to school then he would probably continue to be late. If there were no consequences, then despite the carrot of a real job one day, he like many remote Indigenous... Read More

  • The welfare revolution that has passed disability pensioners by

    12 Oct 2011 | Online Opinion

    Unemployment has fallen. Single parents are returning to the workforce in droves. Yet the number of people on Disability Support Pension - currently more than 800,000 - continues to climb – it has to... Read More

  • We must crack down on the Disability Support Pension

    10 Oct 2011 | The Punch

    The number of people on the Disability Pension Scheme must be reduced. Read More

  • Paid leave for dads a useless, cynical waste of money

    06 Sep 2011 | The Punch

    Getting dads more involved in parenting is a noble goal. Unfortunately, there is very little evidence that paid paternity leave will help realise it. Read More

  • Women's rights push dads aside

    03 Sep 2011 | The Australian

    This is the disturbing significance of the controversial NSW birth certificate decision. That no gay spokesperson has expressed concern for the father and child stolen from each other speaks volumes about... Read More

  • Degrees of difference

    22 Aug 2011 | Online Opinion

    Many people have taken umbrage at this arguing that having a separate form for some remote communities is an example of 'positive discrimination'. Few people seem to understand the broader implications... Read More

  • Brits recoil from teaching respect for authority at home or school

    15 Aug 2011 | The Australian

    Following last week's riots in Britain, politicians and commentators have similarly been asking the wrong question. What caused thousands of (mainly) young males to torch buildings where they live, loot... Read More

  • Census apartheid: separate form separates a community

    10 Aug 2011 | The Drum

    The use of a separate Census form for some discrete Indigenous communities is not only state-sanctioned apartheid but statistically invalid. Read More

  • OOHC not working for at-risk kids

    19 Jul 2011 | The Drum

    The causes of the OHHC crisis care are multifaceted. But the consensus among experts is that at the heart of the crisis is the increasing numbers of children with 'high needs' entering care because of... Read More

  • Those who can work must not be paid to sit at home

    01 Jul 2011 | The Australian

    Job seekers with low attachment to the labour force should be required to work for the dole. Read More

  • Helping mentally ill go back to work a win for all

    28 Jun 2011 | The Australian

    Unless we find a better way to keep people with mental illness in the workforce, the number of disability pensioners will balloon. Read More

  • A disability insurance scheme offers clear benefits

    20 May 2011 | The Canberra Times

    The Productivity Commission's disability insurance scheme is promising but demands hardline decisions from the 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

  • Migration needs serious debate

    26 Feb 2011 | The Australian

    Australia became a successful nation of immigrants because the egalitarianism that is central to its national character -- the principle that Jack is as good as his mate -- was extended by "old Australians"... Read More

  • Paid parental leave adds to dilemma of family benefits

    Jessica Brown | 11 Jan 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Can we afford to keep expanding an ever more generous system of benefits for middle- and high-income families, or do we need to get more bang for our buck? Read More

  • For the poor, a job must pay better than handouts

    Peter Saunders | 14 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    The British government is taking a gamble with its welfare to work program. Read More

  • Leftist class chatter no longer matters in UK

    Peter Saunders | 01 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    Intellectuals love to peddle the myth of an unfair, privileged society, but they're wrong. Read More

  • Disability payment should not be de facto dole

    Jessica Brown | 09 Nov 2010 | The Australian

    Our welfare system should not assume that disabled people can't be in paid employment. Read More

  • Why Europe is the wrong model for paid parental leave

    Jessica Brown | 05 Nov 2010 | Online Opinion

    If we can draw one lesson from the experience of Britain and the other European states now forced into austerity, it is that the cost of new entitlements and promises gradually add up— until suddenly... 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

  • Comment: Human right to the dole is nonsense

    Peter Kurti | 02 Oct 2010 | Daily Telegraph

    These days any political, social or economic problem is quickly cast as a human rights issue.  Read More

  • Alternatives to a life on welfare

    Jessica Brown | 17 Feb 2010 | ABC News

    The Disability Support Pension (DSP) has become a one-way ticket. The government is trying to reduce the number of people who go onto DSP, but what it should be doing is improving the incentive for existing... Read More

  • Antidote to welfare dependency

    Jessica Brown | 19 Jan 2010 | The Australian

    The federal government’s extension of income management across the country, announced late last year, reflects a new consensus in Australia and internationally about the pernicious effects on individuals... Read More

  • Some kids really need to be rescued

    Jeremy Sammut | 18 Nov 2009 | The Australian

    As a researcher your gut always churns when you are about to release a new report, but when the Centre for Independent Studies published my report on child protection earlier this year, it was something... Read More

  • Motivate those on hand-outs

    Jessica Brown | 15 Oct 2009 | The Australian

    The Rudd government’s approach to sole-parent families, as with that of its predecessor, is that the best form of welfare is a job. This tactic is paying dividends. 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

  • Create a welfare system we can afford

    John Humphreys | 07 Oct 2009 | Adelaide Now

    The government recently increased the pension by up to $65 per fortnight, but the pressure for ever higher welfare benefits continues. The Greens asked for $200 per fortnight, while the Australia Institute... Read More

  • The training merry-go-round may be worse than nothing at all

    Jessica Brown | 16 Sep 2009 | The Advertiser

    Short of directly hiring more public servants, it is very difficult – impossible even – for governments to create real, sustainable jobs. Read More

  • Living off the public teat

    Peter Saunders | 21 Feb 2009 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Until the 1970s Australians were remarkably self-reliant. Unemployment was low, home ownership was widespread, and wages were generally high enough for workers to support themselves and their dependents... Read More

  • Welfare for parents increases risk of poverty

    Peter Saunders | 18 Jun 2003 | The Australian Financial Review

    It's time to eliminate the welfare incentives that keep single parents out of the workforce, a strategy most Australians agree with, argues Peter Saunders. Read More

  • Pay increases don't help the unemployed

    Kayoko Tsumori | 05 Dec 2002 | The Australian Financial Review

    A few weeks ago, the Australian Council of Trade Unions announced yet another 'living wage' claim. It plans to seek, in 2003, a $24.60 per week pay rise for all award workers, bringing the minimum wage... Read More

  • Time to care for ourselves: Instead of a welfare state, it would be cheaper and more efficient if we each made our own arrangements

    Peter Saunders | 26 Mar 2002 | The New Zealand Herald

    The welfare state has developed over a hundred years.  In this time, increasing numbers of people have become dependent upon it, not just as consumers but also as producers and managers of its services. ... Read More

  • Poverty lines tangled: An influential report claiming that one in eight Australians lives in poverty is wrong

    Kayoko Tsumori | 17 Jan 2002 | The Age

    Our paper, Poor Arguments: A Response to the Smith Family Report on Poverty in Australia - questioning the claims that one in eight Australians is living in poverty today, and that poverty has risen in... Read More

  • For richer or poorer, we're still a lucky country: Don't exaggerate the extent of poverty in Australia

    Peter Saunders | 16 Jan 2002 | The Australian

    The Australian economy experienced remarkable growth during most of the 1990s.  Yet social researchers are still claiming that poverty is extensive – and even that it is getting worse.  The latest... Read More

  • Publications

    1. Helen Hughes: A Tribute

      Glenys Byrne, Greg Lindsay, Noel Pearson, Ron Duncan, Tony Abbott | 27 Aug 2014 | Policy Forum

      CIS Senior Fellow Professor Helen Hughes AO passed away on 15 June 2013 after a lifetime dedicated to working passionately... Read More...

    2. Complex Family Payments: What it Costs the Village to Raise a Child

      Trisha Jha | 06 Aug 2014 | Policy Monographs

      The report describes the family payments system (with a focus on family tax benefits and child care fee assistance) and analyses... Read More...

    3. Fairer Paid Parental Leave

      Matthew Taylor | 07 Jul 2014 | TARGET30 Papers

      This report describes how an Income Contingent Loans (ICL) scheme could be used to provide wage replacement Paid Parental... Read More...

    4. Still Damaging and Disturbing: Australian Child Protection Data and the Need for National Adoption Targets

      Jeremy Sammut | 16 Apr 2014 | Issue Analysis

      Australian child protection policy continues to resemble Einstein’s definition of madness—doing the same thing and expecting... Read More...

    5. Submission to the National Commission of Audit

      Alexander Philipatos, Jennifer Buckingham, Jeremy Sammut, Robert Carling, Simon Cowan, Stephen Kirchner, Trisha Jha | 01 Apr 2014 | TARGET30 Papers

      The federal government’s Commission of Audit (CoA) was established in 2013 to review the performance and role of government.... Read More...

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    Opinion & Commentary

    1. Pension reform: Pensioner against pensioner or old against young?

      Matthew Taylor | 18 Jun 2015 | SBS

      Upon announcing that the opposition would not support the government’s budget measure to move the wealthiest age pensioners ... Read More

    2. At last, PPL targeted at those who need it

      Matthew Taylor | 20 May 2015 | SBS

      Budget 2015 proposes to do what the Gillard government should have done in 2011: Ensure taxpayer funded Paid Parental Leave ... Read More

    3. Doctor, charge what you dare

      David Gadiel | 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 ... Read More

    4. New Supported Living Pension would provide greater fairness

      Matthew Taylor | 02 Mar 2015 | SBS

      The final report of the Review in Australia’s Welfare System recommends what is probably the most comprehensive ... Read More

    5. Means testing free hospital care will make Medicare sustainable

      Jeremy Sammut | 08 Jan 2015 | The Australian

      Unless a means test is employed, and so long as the Medicare continues to offer ‘free and universal’ public hospital ... Read More

    View All


    1. Pensioners can unlock more income

      Matthew Taylor | 01 May 2015

      Australia can have a fairer and more sustainable age pension - but only if we stop ignoring pensioners' biggest asset and ...

    2. Pensioners should not be ring-fenced from budget repair

      Matthew Taylor | 13 Mar 2015

      Is indexing the pension to prices, rather than male wages, unfair?...

    3. Monday's 'pension increase' a side show to the real reform needed

      Matthew Taylor | 20 Feb 2015

      With the Age Pension projected to account for 12 per cent of the growth in total spending over the medium term there can ...

    4. Morrison should reconsider ACNC backdown

      Helen Andrews | 20 Feb 2015

      New facts have vindicated Kevin Andrews’s strong position on abolishing the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission ...

    5. Stop the state 'playing Dad'

      Jeremy Sammut | 23 Jan 2015

      Gary Johns has argued that compulsory contraception is needed to stop women having children and relying on the state to support ...

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