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Opinion & Commentary


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

  • Queering their pitch

    17 Jul 2015 | The Spectator

    In the wake of the Irish referendum in May and the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell v Hodges, same-sex marriage proponents in Australia have the winds of change at their backs... 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

  • An Honourable Estate?

    15 Jun 2015 | Quadrant

    Major casualties of the institutional ravaging that began 50 years ago are marriage and family formation and the assumptions and expectations that maintained their stability. 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

  • 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

  • Cases for more local and overseas adoptions are different, but the same

    21 Apr 2015 | ABC The Drum

    International adoptions of foreign-born children in Australia have fallen to record lows. And the reasons are clear to pinpoint. Read More

  • The totalitarianism of marriage equality

    26 Mar 2015 | The Spectator

    This isn’t democracy — it’s the totalitarian tactics of personal intimidation. 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

  • Children are the victims of violence too

    24 Feb 2015 | Daily Telegraph

    There are striking differences between the debate on child protection and the debate about family violence. 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

  • 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

  • No ‘War on Christmas’ Here

    15 Dec 2014 | Canberra Times

     To my great delight as an immigrant, there is no ‘War on Christmas’ in Australia. Read More

  • We risk an Indigenous lost generation

    08 Dec 2014 | The Australian

    Placing Indigenous children in accordance with the ACPP threatens to compromise child wellbeing and keep open the gaps in Indigenous social outcomes. 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

  • Childcare reforms are failing to benefit children

    05 Nov 2014 | The Australian

    As the cost of childcare to the Australian family and taxpayer has ballooned over recent years, it’s imperative to examine the evidence for increasing regulations and standards that contribute to the... 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Innovators have the right to fail

    12 Jul 2014 | The Australian

    We need to teach kids that failure is part of life and it's not always somebody’s fault when things don’t work out. 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

  • 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

  • Nanny rebates aren't about helping the rich

    03 Jul 2014 | ABC The Drum

    Extending subsidies to nannies and means-testing existing subsidies will serve to increase equity in childcare, rather than decrease it. 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

  • 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

  • Mixed messages on the handout front

    17 May 2014 | The Australian

    When we discuss ending the age of entitlement, often we are wanting to draw a line between those who are morally worthy and those who are not. 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • The madness of child protection policy in Australia

    23 Apr 2014 | Online Opinion

    In December 2013, the Abbott government announced plans to take adoption out of the 'too-hard basket' and make it easier for Australian parents to adopt children both locally and from overseas.The chief... Read More

  • Boost adoption rate through national target

    22 Apr 2014 | Open Forum

    The chief barrier to more local adoptions is that state and territory child protection authorities almost never take legal action to free children. Read More

  • Let’s adopt a more sensible approach to kids in care

    16 Apr 2014 | The Australian

    In 2012-13, only 135 children were adopted from state care, even though more than 40,000 children were in care. Read More

  • Why feminists should support childcare deregulation

    27 Mar 2014 | ABC The Drum

    Despite the previous Labor government funding the establishment of new services, it is still difficult for parents to procure an affordable childcare place, so what exactly is the problem? Read More

  • Commission must also address welfare of children in care

    13 Mar 2014 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    The work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is revealing the way that history is repeating itself today. Read More

  • Reaping the whirlwind: The 'new silence' about broken families and child sexual abuse

    04 Feb 2014 | ABC Religion & Ethics

    The belief that the royal commission will "break the silence" surrounding child sexual abuse is marred by evidence of the breakdown of the traditional family and the risk of child sexual abuse. Read More

  • Abuse a bigger danger in non-traditional families

    30 Jan 2014 | The Australian

    It may not be fashionable to say it, but marriage, divorce, and sole parenting do matter for children. Read More

  • The enemy within NSW child protection

    28 Aug 2013 | ON LINE Opinion

    The real and systemic problem with child protection in Australia concerns the large number of children who are re-reported because of unresolved safety concerns. Read More

  • Our fear of adoptions is hurting vulnerable children

    15 Jul 2013 | The Drum

    Rather than further pursuing often futile parental rehabilitation programs, we need to get children out of harm's way through adoption. Read More

  • The fair go is fact, not political platitude

    16 May 2013 | ON LINE Opinion

    Australia's social escalator moves so quickly that the poorest Australians can find fortune in just a few years. With the controversy over the adequacy of unemployment benefits heating up again, the divide... Read More

  • The politics of apologies: Easy moralism for past sins, but ignorance about the present

    26 Mar 2013 | ABC Religion & Ethics

    Official apologies tend to descend into simplistic condemnations of people and times past rather than criticising current practices. Read More

  • Why adoption should, in some cases, continue

    22 Mar 2013 | Crikey

    The "never again" approach to separating parents from children because of previous forced adoption practices has implicatons for current child protection policies. Read More

  • Apologise but allow adoption

    19 Mar 2013 | The Australian

    The federal parliament cannot ignore the politics behind the national apology and implications for child protection policy, which include casting doubt on adoption. Read More

  • Don't mention the M-word

    31 Jan 2013 | The Drum

    Australian academics have allowed their staunch advocacy for family diversity to get in the way of reasoned analysis on how to best raise children. Read More

  • Masses rapt in hippy values

    22 Dec 2012 | The Canberra Times

    Christmas in Australia is drifting from tradition. 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

  • 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

  • Liberals Drop Ball in Super Free-For-All

    14 Nov 2011 | Australian Financial Review

    Lifting superannuation to 12% is wrong. Read More

  • Focus on 'prevention' abusing kids

    09 Nov 2011 | On Line Opinion

    Despite increasing government spending on programs meant to prevent child abuse and entries into care, record numbers of children are currently in Out of Home Care (OOHC) in Australia, and this is the... Read More

  • Myths, lies and adoption

    08 Nov 2011 | The Geelong Advertiser

    IN 2009-10, 36,000 children were in out-of-home care in Australia and more than two-thirds had been there for at least two years. Many of these children will remain in out-of-home care indefinitely after... 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Custody for Indigenous kids more than black and white

    01 Jun 2011 | ABC News

    We should find better ways of combining Aboriginal child safety and the passing down of traditional lore by responsible elders. 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Interventionist child protection policies are right for the liberal right

    Jeremy Sammut | 02 Oct 2010 | The Australian

    The state has a responsibility to protect children from inadequate parents. Read More

  • Child protection underbelly sells out at risk kids

    Jeremy Sammut | 14 Sep 2010 | ABC News

    Recent events in Victoria and NSW expose the underbelly of Australian child protection – the extent to which the system is driven by the interests of taxpayer-funded charitable organisations rather than... Read More

  • Statistics, lies and DoCS

    Jeremy Sammut | 12 Jul 2010 | ABC News

    One–third of NSW children aged 12 to 17 have been reported to the Department of Community Services and this research shows that severely at risk children have been reported time and time again, without... Read More

  • Equal help for home and working mums

    Jessica Brown | 28 May 2010 | The Australian

    A new parental leave scheme should not be based around the kind of work their mothers do or don't do. Instead, it should be designed around the needs of newborns. Read More

  • Working versus stay-at-home is not the mother of all battles

    Jessica Brown | 25 May 2010 | Sydney Morning Herald

    Parental leave policy should reflect the variety of different decisions that families make about how to divide their time between staying  at home with the children and working. Read More

  • Woo mums and big end of town

    Jessica Brown | 10 Mar 2010 | The Australian

    The enthusiasm with which the Opposition Leader has embraced the cause of working mothers shows just how keen Tony Abbott is to shed his image as a patriarchal conservative and win the support of the female... 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

  • Neglect the champers, not the children in 2010

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 Dec 2009 | The Age

    Suspected abuse and neglect of children living in danger should be properly investigated and at-risk children should be removed from their families to be safe – the earlier that statutory intervention... Read More

  • Crash the glass floor

    Jessica Brown | 20 Nov 2009 | The Australian

    Governments throughout the Western world, including in Australia, are gradually introducing legislation aimed at making the workplace more family friendly. 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

  • Ferguson shown the door by media and the mob

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 Sep 2009 | The Newcastle Herald

    Managing the media takes precedence over dealing with controversial issues in an honest, open and effective manner. Read More

  • Time to end silence on child abuse

    Jeremy Sammut | 18 Sep 2009 | Online Opinion

    Heightened awareness is clearly essential to educate the community about the shared responsibility for preventing harm to children. However, organisations committed to protecting children’s rights, such... Read More

  • Rarely a case of happy ever after

    Barry Maley | 18 Sep 2009 | The Australian

    Marital relationships in Australia have never been more unstable. The consequences of divorce for individuals and children constitute major social and economic problems for which family law must take a... Read More

  • Birth rate bubble

    Barry Maley | 16 Sep 2009 | ABC News

    Australia is in the middle of an unusual, unrecognised and unintended experiment that may give us insight into the connections between rises and falls in our birth rate and changing economic conditions.... Read More

  • Better protection is needed for vulnerable children

    Jeremy Sammut | 03 Jul 2009 | The Newcastle Herald

    The conviction of the Hawk Nest couple accused of starving their daughter to death again highlights the need for governments to better protect the most vulnerable children in our community. The question... Read More

  • Remove endangered children from their abusive parents

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 Jun 2009 | The Australian

    Ever since the ‘starved girl’ case hit the headlines in 2007, we have struggled to comprehend the incomprehensible. How is it that children live and sometimes die in the custody of obviously dysfunctional... Read More

  • There’s no real reform for health and hospitals on the horizon

    Jeremy Sammut | 20 Jun 2009 | The Australian

    Despite not many surprises being anticipated, all observers are keenly waiting for the final report of the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission to be submitted to the federal government at the... Read More

  • Dole must not be first option

    Jessica Brown | 29 Jan 2009 | The Australian

    Welfare reform still needed despite rising unemployment. Read More

  • There is more to quality child care than UNICEF’s arbitrary standards

    Jessica Brown | 22 Dec 2008 | The Courier Mail

    Australia achieves similar levels of poverty reduction as the Scandinavian countries with a much lower tax burden. Read More

  • Senate does away with the right to remain single

    Jessica Brown | 12 Nov 2008

    We all know how it goes.  Boy meets girl.  Dinner, movies, candlelit walks.  A little while later they  move in together.  A few years down the track comes the wedding– for better or worse, richer... Read More

  • The ABC of policy failure

    Jeremy Sammut | 11 Nov 2008 | Business Spectator

    The federal government is suggesting that ABC’s fall illustrates how desperately the children industry needs re-regulation and is yet another example of excessively greedy capitalism and the free-market... Read More

  • The battle for paid maternity leave is raging

    Jessica Brown | 30 Sep 2008 | The Herald Sun

    The battle over paid maternity leave is raging. Stay-at-home versus working mums, feminism versus patriarchy, big business, big government, fertility and even super-sized mortgage repayments - this debate... Read More

  • Money for nothin’ and paid parental leave for free

    Jessica Brown | 23 Sep 2008 | Crikey

    Paid parental leave for a year sounds like a great idea – hey, why not make it two? Lots of time to bond with the new bundle of joy, with money from the government coming in to keep up the mortgage repayments.... Read More

  • We need a fair compromise for paid maternity leave

    Jessica Brown | 18 Sep 2008 | ABC News Online

    In the emotion charged world of social policy debate, nothing stirs up passions more than the ongoing argument over paid maternity leave.  Stay-at-home versus working mums, feminism versus patriarchy,... Read More

  • We must separate family services from child protection

    Toby OBrien | 21 Aug 2008 | The Australian

    Child Protection authorities around Australia have been engulfed in controversy this year. This has followed a number of high profile cases where children have failed to be removed from abusive homes with... Read More

  • Babies: blight or blessing?

    Barry Maley | 24 Jul 2008 | The Canberra Times

    Australia’s birth rates and faltering fertility are in the news again. Cardinal Pell has made a powerful statement about the implications of birth rates below the population replacement level of 2.1... 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

  • Sure, we’ll breed (if we can afford it)

    Jennifer Buckingham | 24 Sep 2002 | The Age

    More women would put careers on hold to stay at home with their child if it wasn't so costly, writes Jennifer Buckingham. Read More

  • Dysfunction runs in the family

    Barry Maley | 17 Sep 2002 | The Courier Mail

    The preoccupation with paid maternity leave and our falling fertility rate is shifting attention away from deeper problems. Particular issues such as low birth rates and maternity leave need to be put... Read More

  • The Parent Trap: Will paid maternity leave really lift the birthrate?

    | 20 Jul 2002 | The Australian Financial Review

    Heather Ridout, deputy chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, says government-funded basic maternity leave is desirable but needs to be augmented by more child care support and flexible working... Read More

  • Now is the time for fecund thoughts

    Jennifer Buckingham | 18 Jul 2002 | The Australian

    It's easy to find reasons to put off having a baby. You want to travel first. You want to have a career first. You want to buy a house first. You want to maintain your independence for a while longer.... 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

  • A generation drowns in boos: Repairing society's attitude to rearing children would be revolutionary

    Frank Devine | 13 Dec 2001 | The Australian

    The Centre’s eight-year research project, Taking Children Seriously, has established empirically that at least this generation’s children get the best start to life in the environment Peter Saunders... Read More

  • Children pay the price of gender feminism war

    Barry Maley | 12 Dec 2001 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    For some radical feminists, males are patriarchal oppressors and the family is their torture chamber. Hence their taboo on men talking about the effects of feminism upon family life and the rearing of... Read More

  • The damage done by the decline of marriage

    Barry Maley | 08 Dec 2001 | The Age

    In the past generation, Australian family life and marriage have undergone a revolution that has left wounds in the lives of thousands of adults and children, and, directly or indirectly, in the quality... Read More

  • Tax system that's stifling the family

    | 25 Aug 2001 | The Daily Telegraph

    Everyone knows the family is in trouble these days, but what is not widely recognised is that one of the main reasons for this is changes made to the taxation system since the 1970s. Read More

  • Why Learning is a Hard Haul Without a Dad

    Alison Rich | 15 Jul 2000 | The Age

    Research over the last few years has shown that, on average, children from sole parent families have significantly lower levels of school achievement than children from couple families. This lower achievement... Read More

  • Beyond the Classroom: How Parents Influence Their Children's Education

    Alison Rich | 15 Mar 2000

    In a society that demands a high level of education and skill for a successful and stable future, a decent education is becoming increasingly important. A child’s education is the shared responsibility... Read More