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Opinion & Commentary


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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • China-Australia Free Trade Agreement: The lump of labour fallacy resurges

    18 Jun 2015 | ABC The Drum

    The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is a landmark victory for Australians, opening up a cornucopia of future export opportunities. Yet unions and industry groups were quick to criticise the... Read More

  • ASIC new funding model is backdoor taxation

    05 Jun 2015 | Independent Financial Advisor

    The sugar-coated proposal to directly charge an industry — as if everyday Australians would be spared any cost — is misguided and opportunistic. Read More

  • A market-oriented solution for the too-big-to-fail problem

    01 Jun 2015 | Business Spectator

    The Australian financial watchdog should embrace the new ERN convertible bonds, allowing banks to use these novel convertible bonds to meet the higher capital levels recommended by the recent Financial... Read More

  • The distance from Athens to Canberra

    28 May 2015 | Australian Financial Review

    How far is Australia from Greece?  Pretty far, but, sadly, they’re getting closer every day.  Not because the Earth is shrinking, but because the Australian government is very gradually easing... 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

  • 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

  • Individual choice on financial advice costs

    01 Apr 2015 | The Mandarin

    However the FSI’s impact is in danger of being subsumed by a triad of reports attempting to build a requirement for qualifications without a solid foundation. Read More

  • Individual choice on financial advice costs

    01 Apr 2015 | The Mandarin

    However the FSI’s impact is in danger of being subsumed by a triad of reports attempting to build a requirement for qualifications without a solid foundation. Read More

  • Car crashes and banking capital levels

    23 Mar 2015 | Business Spectator

    Are we willing to slow the speed limit of Australia’s financial market? The impact on production, economic development and jobs could be devastating. 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

  • Fair and logical to put super into homes

    12 Mar 2015 | Australian Financial Review

    Despite vocal opposition, Australia’s Superannuation System would actually be strengthened by letting super savings be used for property. 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

  • Rorts for the rich are a myth

    19 Feb 2015 | Australian Financial Review

    Tax concessions in areas such as superannuation, capital gains and GST are under attack like never before. 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Blame game risks missing a chance to change

    26 Nov 2014 | Australian Financial Review

    It looks like Australia is finally having a long overdue debate about reform of the federation and, more importantly, reform of federal-state financial relations. Read More

  • Personal freedom leads to economic freedom

    27 Oct 2014 | Australian Financial Review

    It is clear now that economic liberty has supported a massive global reduction of poverty, disease and other key factors. It is also clear that the relationship holds—even controlling for geography,... 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

  • 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

  • It’s time for a free trade agreement with Tasmania

    14 Aug 2012 | ON LINE Opinion

    Tasmanians should not have their lifestyle subsidised because they have chosen to live in Tasmania, any more than people in the city or country should be subsidised for living in the city or country. 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

  • Independent body needed to preserve integrity of fiscal forecasts

    21 May 2012 | The Conversation

    Treasury has not gone wrong in its forecast for recovery, but in its expectations for the preceding downturn. Read More

  • Greens have got us tilting at windmills

    30 Apr 2012 | The Daily Telegraph

    The debate on climate change has less to do with scientific rationalism and more with the dogma of religious faith. Read More

  • How taxing housing diminishes affordability

    18 Apr 2012 | The Conversation

    Australia’s under-supplied housing market and housing affordability problem is largely due to the tax burden on housing. Read More

  • Losing sight of the lucky country

    05 Apr 2012 | Business Spectator

    Australia is a country that barely understands, let alone appreciates, its own luck. 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

  • A zero-sum carbon game

    01 Mar 2012 | Business Spectator

    There is no point trying to subsidise reductions in carbon emissions if the total amount of emissions is capped anyway. Read More

  • Stepping stones to an EU inferno

    05 Oct 2011 | Business Spectator

    Don’t read too much into last week’s vote in the German parliament to extend the European Financial Stability Facility bailout fund. Read More

  • RBA pay: why Glenn Stevens is not Elizabeth Taylor

    20 Sep 2011 | Crikey

    Notwithstanding the Reserve Bank’s excellent record and deft management of Australia’s economy, especially during the GFC, its decision to jack up the pay of its most senior management by 30% during... 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

  • A euro power play that backfired

    17 Aug 2011 | Business Spectator

    As it turns out, the euro is not only an unworkable currency. It actually started as a French insurance policy against German power. But even as an insurance policy it has failed. Against their will, it... 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

  • Paying dearly for European insanity

    21 Jul 2011 | Business Spectator

    it would be tempting to seize the moment and rehash all the arguments for why the euro will never work and cannot be saved. 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

  • Learning from Europe's competitive spirit

    14 Jul 2011 | Business Spectator

    One of the classic questions of economic history is how the West grew rich. 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

  • Carbon tax could have united us all

    13 Jul 2011 | The Age

    More than 3 million households will be worse off come July, about a third of Australian taxpayers. Indeed, many thousands of individuals with incomes between $67,000 and $80,000 face the prospect of their... Read More

  • Perk Street is not as one-way as employed, childless renters think

    01 Jul 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Childless renters pay a lot of federal tax but are exempt from many state taxes Read More

  • The phantom giant of Luxembourg

    30 Jun 2011 | Business Spectator

    Under the veil of its legendary diplomatic finesse, Luxembourg hides its profiteering role in the sad state of Europe’s economy and politics. Read More

  • Dwelling upon 'investment'

    23 May 2011 | The Age

    Buying a house or unit isn't the financial investment Australians believe it to be. Read More

  • Look to Britain and hold the champagne

    25 Apr 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    The UK property bust provides worrying parallels for our self-congratulatory local economy. Read More

  • Smokers already being ripped off -- plain packaging is just insulting

    12 Apr 2011 | Crikey

    Smokers are being already being ripped off. The push for plain packaging is just insulting. Read More

  • GDP no real guide to wealth or welfare

    31 Mar 2011 | The Australian

    The confusion about what makes a country prosper arises from our fixation with GDP, which is a misleading metric of economic performance that no entity would pay to calculate itself. 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

  • How the Germans keep a lid on prices

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 14 Feb 2011 | Sydney Morning Herald

    You get a lot more house for your money in Germany and there's a simple explanation for the stability in the housing market — steady growth in supply. Read More

  • The iPad app upper hand

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 30 Dec 2010 | Business Spectator

    Given the poor track record of forecasting the way people inform themselves, the impact of the latest wave of new technologies is not a foregone conclusion. Read More

  • Why consumers should resist the enemies of choice

    James Paterson | 24 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    Behaviourists are wrong to say people should be protected from irrational financial decisions. Read More

  • A fundamental Euro flaw

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 16 Dec 2010 | Business Spectator

    There are good economic reasons for Europe’s economic crisis. The fiscal catastrophe across the continent is the result of decades of reckless spending policies. Read More

  • German polemic has resonance for West

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 04 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    He’s blunt, but Thilo Sarrazin makes a lot of sense. Read More

  • G20 should tend to their own backyards

    Stephen Kirchner | 16 Nov 2010 | ABC News

    The principal flaw of the G20 is the assumption that the group as a whole can somehow be more than the sum of its parts. Read More

  • Europe's most dangerous man

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 11 Nov 2010 | Business Spectator

    Ahead of the G20 summit in Seoul this week, the mood music between member countries is markedly different from previous conferences as the political differences between the main players are far more visible... Read More

  • Why world must take interest in our boom

    Greg Lindsay | 11 Oct 2010 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Discussion of Hayek's ideas and the Austrian school of economics have had a lot of attention recently and this week Sydney is hosting this year's general meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society, founded by... Read More

  • Game on in the states of Monopoly

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 11 Oct 2010 | The Australian Financial Review

    Parker Brothers' Monopoly has been around for 75 years, and needs an update. To make the game more reflective of reality, perhaps rules such as gaining a real estate licence, toll payments at each corner... 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

  • Economists should learn some history

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 01 Oct 2010 | Spectator Australia

    The inability of economists to see beyond their own models left them unprepared when the global economy hit trouble. Read More

  • Let’s ignore snobs of Old Europe

    Jens Schroeder | 13 Apr 2010 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Proudly plebeian, Australia has no need to apologise for its egalitarianism and should celebrate its achievements more self-consciously. Read More

  • The 'postmodern economy' was a con

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 08 Apr 2010 | Business Spectator

    The ‘postmodern economy’ in Britain was a con. Read More

  • The home ownership nightmare

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 01 Apr 2010 | Business Spectator

    There is a dark side to Britain’s property mania. The stampede into home ownership has created at least as many problems as it has solved. Read More

  • The flawed giant of Europe

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 25 Mar 2010 | Business Spectator

    Australians worried about their productivity performance in international rankings may relax a little, as Germany shows productivity performance is not the only measure of a successful economy. Read More

  • Benefits grow in monthly CPI data

    Stephen Kirchner | 01 Mar 2010 | Canberra Times

    Australia should adopt a monthly consumer price index. Read More

  • Mr Swan’s preoccupation with superannuation

    Robert Carling | 19 Feb 2010 | Online Opinion

    The government needs to examine how to treat saving within the tax system and whether super should continue to be more lightly taxed than other forms of saving. Read More

  • More inscrutable than the Chinese

    Stephen Kirchner | 19 Feb 2010 | The Australian

    Why are foreign investment criteria a secret? Read More

  • Europe’s slow, painful death

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 17 Feb 2010 | Business Spectator

    The potential Greek bankruptcy is only the beginning of Europe’s inevitable decline. Read More

  • The euro is a failed experiment that should be cashed in

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 10 Feb 2010 | The Australian

    Europe was never ready for a common and the recent global financial crisis highlights this. Read More

  • Ripped off and overcharged? Not necessarily

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 02 Feb 2010 | The Courier-Mail

    Why should consumers believe that they have a right to pay the same price wherever they go? And can a market economy really exist and function without the ability to vary prices? 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

  • We aren't just larrikins

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 24 Dec 2009 | The Australian

    Too many Australians take for granted that they live in a prosperous and vibrant nation with a fantastic quality of life and is a good place in which to do business. Read More

  • Activists should stop talking about global warming and start acting

    John Humphreys | 23 Dec 2009 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    If climate activists had spent the past 10 years acting instead of wasting time at talkfests such as the one at Copenhagen, we would already have a price signal on greenhouse gas emissions. Read More

  • Property bias

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 04 Dec 2009 | The Australian

    Newspapers have a big heart for heavily indebted homeowners. Perhaps occasionally they should show equal compassion for tenants and savers. Read More

  • Doomsayer does his dough

    Stephen Kirchner | 18 Nov 2009 | The Australian

    Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows capital city house prices up 6.2% for the year ended in September, University of Western Sydney academic Steve Keen conceded defeat and will be donning hiking... Read More

  • Return to Flyer times with business class

    Jennifer Buckingham | 29 Oct 2009 | The Newcastle Herald

    Train travel was not only more pleasant early in the last century, it was also faster. In 1937, the ‘Newcastle Flyer’ travelled to Sydney in two hours 26 minutes – seven minutes faster than the current... Read More

  • We're Not So Healthy

    Greg Lindsay | 28 Oct 2009 | American Enterprise Institute

    According to a new study from the Legatum Institute, an international development think tank based in London, these kinds of inefficiencies are hurting Australia’s prosperity. Read More

  • Life’s joys get a little lost down holes of health-cost analyses

    Eric Crampton | 21 Oct 2009 | The Canberra Times

    Any time we make a decision that lets us enjoy a bit of fun but with some risk to our health, that decision is considered irrational and cannot generate any real enjoyment. Read More

  • ‘Healthist’ doomsayers are spoiling all our fun

    Eric Crampton | 16 Oct 2009 | The New Zealand Herald

    The hidden cost of healthist cost reports is the slow erosion of liberty that ensues when we take them at face value. By conflating the costs that risk-takers impose on themselves with the costs they impose... Read More

  • Canberra's Investment Confusion

    Stephen Kirchner | 30 Sep 2009 | The Wall Street Journal

    Chinese companies are increasingly looking to invest overseas, and foreign capitals are calibrating their policy responses. Australia, which has been the destination for several high-profile attempted... Read More

  • For Merkel, it’s now or never to get serious

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 29 Sep 2009 | The Australian

    The strong showing of the pro-market Free Democrats is one of the greatest shifts in Germany’s political tectonics that the country has ever experienced. The tremors will be felt for years to come, affecting... Read More

  • Australian libertarians revealed

    John Humphreys | 10 May 2009 | Open Forum

    It seems left-wing economic journalist Ross Gittins has just discovered the word ‘libertarian,’ and the revelation seems to have him spooked. Read More

  • We need to start emissions debate

    John Humphreys | 18 Feb 2009 | The Australian

    The climate change policy debate should not be based on popularity but careful analysis of the benefits and costs of various options. Read More

  • The real priorities

    Bjorn Lomborg | 08 Aug 2006 | The Australian

    A Mayor has a $10million surplus, which he wants to allocate to a good cause. Ten groups clamour for the cash. One wants to buy new computers for an inner-city high school. Another hopes to beautify a... Read More

  • System not in the finest health

    Peter Saunders | 22 Sep 2005 | The Australian Financial Review

    As the welfare-to-work proposals are made public, Peter Saunders looks at the question of self-funding. Read More

  • Fix policies to make housing affordable

    Peter Saunders | 16 Mar 2005

    The house price bubble has finally burst. While it lasted, the boom added substantially to the wealth of existing home owners, but it has made home ownership more expensive for aspiring new buyers. Read More

  • Commercialising highways

    Robert W. Poole | 20 Nov 2000

    Most people consider the modern auto-highway system a great success. In the United States, automobiles provide 95% of all individual surface trips, and trucks transport an ever-larger majority of all freight.... Read More