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Ideas@TheCentre brings you ammunition for conversations around the table.  3 short articles from CIS researchers emailed every Friday on the issues of the week.

  • Pensioners can unlock more income

    01 May 2015

    Australia can have a fairer and more sustainable age pension - but only if we stop ignoring pensioners' biggest asset and help them put all of their savings to work. Read More

  • Pensioners should not be ring-fenced from budget repair

    13 Mar 2015

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

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

    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 be no doubt that there is need for pension reform. Read More

  • Morrison should reconsider ACNC backdown

    20 Feb 2015

    New facts have vindicated Kevin Andrews’s strong position on abolishing the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC), just as his successor as minister for Social Services has backed... Read More

  • Stop the state 'playing Dad'

    23 Jan 2015

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

  • Health reform needs a 'Plan B'

    28 Nov 2014

    This is the attitude that advocates of health reform must adopt now that the Abbott government’s co-payment initiative appears doomed to defeat. Read More

  • The Grey Army of early Newstart retirees

    21 Nov 2014

    The Abbott government chalked up a modest win this week with the first of its social services budget measures passed by the Senate with the help of Labor and Senators Day, Leyonhjelm and Muir. One budget... Read More

  • The third retirement pillar - home equity and pension inequity

    21 Nov 2014

    The system for supporting retired Australians is said to rest on three pillars: the age pension, superannuation and the family home. Read More

  • Child Protection: too few adoptions mean too much of everything else

    14 Nov 2014

    Rather than not doing enough early intervention, the problem with the child protection system is that we have too much of everything. Read More

  • Combating (genuine) poverty need not punish 'the rich'

    24 Oct 2014

    By defining poverty in these terms, the focus is shifted away from living standards towards income inequality so that poverty can only be eradicated through an extreme policy of income redistribution that... Read More

  • There is no 'right' to help yourself to the taxes of others

    03 Oct 2014

    Political, social or economic problems are readily cast as human rights issue these days. Read More

  • Don't Save the Charity Commission

    03 Oct 2014

    An interesting letter arrived at the CIS office this week. Dr Andrew Leigh MP wrote to inform the Centre that ‘Kevin Andrews and the Coalition Government want to abolish the Australian Charities and... Read More

  • Time-limits the alternative to waiting times for the dole

    12 Sep 2014

    Among the most controversial of the measures announced in the May budget was the move to deny 15 to 29-year-olds access to unemployment benefits for up to six months. Read More

  • Robin Hood is alive and well in Australia

    29 Aug 2014

    Critics of budget measures appear to believe that social benefits both individually and in aggregate should only ever go one way (up) and that the desirability of more redistribution is a given. Read More

  • Making work, not the dole, the easier option

    29 Aug 2014

    If we want to uphold the moral principle that those who can work should work, we cannot afford to make life on the dole the easier option. Read More

  • Sorting child protection facts from fiction

    22 Aug 2014

    Ideology and propaganda often gets in the way of a clear-eyed view of the problems in the child protection system. The first task for the South Australian Royal Commission will be to sort fact from fiction,... Read More

  • No crisis but DSP still needs reform

    15 Aug 2014

    Calling the recent growth in DSP a crisis is hyperbole. Two thirds of the increase has come from declining economic conditions and mistakes in Australia's income support policy framework that can be rectified. Read More

  • A clearer payments system needed to help families

    08 Aug 2014

    Current budget conditions necessitate not just spending cuts, but a broader look at policy analysis and reform, particularly in the family payments system. Read More

  • Unemployment - one size fits some

    01 Aug 2014

    The biggest drawback to recent welfare reform plans on unemployment is in wrongly treating the unemployed as a homogenous mass. Read More

  • No apology necessary, Jenny Macklin

    28 Mar 2014

    The former Labor government did not get it wrong on single parent income support entitlements, and there is no reason for Jenny Macklin to apologise. Read More

  • DSP: The not so universal payment

    07 Mar 2014

    We need to provide income support payments that reflect the work capacities of those with a disability that does not encourage them to opt out of participation. Read More

  • Welfare review has serious blind spots

    24 Jan 2014

    Family Tax Benefit should be a target of scrutiny, yet the welfare review announced by the government has excluded it. Read More

  • Perhaps Newstart doesn't require a new start

    17 Jan 2014

    Kevin Andrews’ idea to create multiple tiers of the DSP and Newstart would blur the necessary line between what constitutes a pension and what constitutes an allowance. Read More

  • Not looking for work

    02 Aug 2013

    The government has managed to hide the unemployed on unemployment benefits and effectively reduced the unemployment rate in Australia. Read More

  • From parenting payment to prostitution?

    12 Jul 2013

    Claims that people on welfare are being ‘forced’ into prostitution because of cuts to welfare should be treated with scepticism. Read More

  • The Snowden scandal is a hollow victory for Beijing

    21 Jun 2013

    The moral malaise at the heart of Washington’s intelligence apparatus seems mild when compared to Beijing’s use of surveillance. Read More

  • The moral case for a smaller state

    14 Jun 2013

    People need to be able to sort out their own problems, rather than having the state take this responsibility away from them. Read More

  • Avoiding the carbon tax compensation nightmare

    07 Jun 2013

    Little has been said about the Coalition’s backflip on its promise to abolish the carbon tax compensation package. Read More

  • Timid cuts to middle class welfare

    17 May 2013

    The budget has delivered a new tax and some tinkering with the FTB system to pay for DisabilityCare instead of serious reforms to age or disability pensions. Read More

  • Prospects for NDIS blowout

    10 May 2013

    The NDIS could experience average annual growth of around 8% per year, which would make the entire scheme financial unsustainable in the long run. Read More

  • Reforming the welfare state

    28 Mar 2013

    Of the $316 billion spent on the welfare state in 2010-11, over half was on tax welfare churn. Read More

  • Easy moralism on forced adoption ‘sorry’

    22 Mar 2013

    The apology on forced adoption condemned the sins of the past, while ignoring the current day sins of ‘enlightened’ social policies that are toxic for child welfare. Read More

  • Fairness in the welfare state

    15 Mar 2013

    The welfare state must stop rewarding irresponsible behaviour and distinguish between deserving and undeserving cases. Read More

  • A European-style welfare crisis for Australia?

    08 Mar 2013

    Future levels of welfare spending are setting Australia on the path of a European style catastrophe. Read More

  • Victorian revival highlights lost ground on child welfare

    15 Feb 2013

    Failure to regularly send children to school symbolises the breakdown of behavioural standards. Read More

  • NDIS cost blowout has begun

    15 Feb 2013

    The government is starting to buckle over the NDIS as certain groups ramp up pressure to expand eligibility for the scheme. Read More

  • Karate Line

    08 Feb 2013

    Are welfare payments supposed to provide basic support or much more? Read More

  • Improving welfare or wasting money?

    11 Jan 2013

    The debate over the adequacy of the dole has again flared up. Read More

  • Making people worse off

    30 Nov 2012

    A serious attempt to reform welfare payments must be made in Australia. Read More

  • Mead: Dutiful but defeated

    23 Nov 2012

    People on welfare should never be better off than those who work. Read More

  • An NDIS tax?

    23 Nov 2012

    The NDIS will start big and get bigger rapidly, and grow to become the new leviathan of the Australian welfare state. Read More

  • NDIS: The New Leviathan

    16 Nov 2012

    The NDIS will start big and get bigger rapidly, and grow to become the new leviathan of the Australian welfare state. Read More

  • Adoption: Proof think tanks CAN DO

    02 Nov 2012

    There is still a long way to go to lift the official ‘taboo’ on adoption. Read More

  • The MYEFO pork barrel

    26 Oct 2012

    This year’s MYEFO shows the government gravy train is chugging along quite nicely. Read More

  • Self-sustaining leviathan

    19 Oct 2012

    The welfare state has gone far beyond a ‘safety net’ concept. Read More

  • The fall in Australian poverty

    19 Oct 2012

    Getting people into the workforce rather than handing more money to welfare recipients would be a better means of addressing the causes of poverty. Read More

  • Abusing the logic of human rights

    12 Oct 2012

    Parents of school-aged children who will be moved from Parenting Payment to Newstart Allowance are not victims of human rights abuse. Read More

  • The dangerous idea of abolishing private schools

    12 Oct 2012

    Abolishing private schools is a dangerous idea. Read More

  • The self perpetuating welfare state

    21 Sep 2012

    The welfare state perpetuates its own existence by growing ever larger and spending increasing amounts of other people’s money. Read More

  • Productivity Commission misleads on Indigenous expenditure

    07 Sep 2012

    The Productivity Commission’s second Indigenous Expenditure Report, released earlier this week, shows that Commonwealth, state and territory taxpayer spending on Indigenous Australians has risen by 16%... Read More

  • Government responsible for poor Indigenous outcomes, not culture

    31 Aug 2012

    Aboriginal people, like all other Australians, should have the opportunity to become private home and business owners on their own land if they choose. Read More

  • The NDIS will cost $22 billion a year, says new report

    24 Aug 2012

    Given the sheer size and scope of the NDIS, taxpayers deserve to have accurate information about the overall cost of the NDIS because they will be footing the bill. Read More

  • A fair welfare system

    24 Aug 2012

    People must be helped, but the way we do it must be fair. Read More

  • No need for universal dole increase

    16 Aug 2012

    A targeted financial supplement for Newstart aimed at the long-term unemployed who are looking for work would be cheaper and more appropriate than a broad increase in the base rate of Newstart for everyone. Read More

  • For the love of gold, let’s find a better way to fund sport

    16 Aug 2012

    Rather than lining up more athletes to suckle on the government teat, we should explore innovative new funding models for sport. Read More

  • Indigenous benefits need disadvantage test

    09 Aug 2012

    Identity alone can no longer be the basis for awarding Indigenous benefits. Read More

  • Putting children’s needs before issues of racism

    09 Aug 2012

    The voices of women and children suffering in remote Indigenous communities are often silenced by the more powerful men in their communities – and human rights groups. Read More

  • The NDIS – more cuts, less taxes

    02 Aug 2012

    What have we been paying tax for if not for the sorts of services and supports that the NDIS is supposed to provide? Read More

  • The nanny state is responsible for all business success

    27 Jul 2012

    Success in business is primarily about ideas and risks. Read More

  • When to move town

    20 Jul 2012

    Should small remote Indigenous towns be allowed to naturally decline or do we do something about it? Read More

  • Home, sweet home

    13 Jul 2012

    After generations of decrepit public housing, Baniyala families will finally have the option of building and living in new houses built to capital city standards. Read More

  • Is preventing ‘another stolen generation’ racist?

    06 Jul 2012

    Aboriginal children are placed in inappropriate and dangerous situations because the suitability of kinship carers is overlooked in the rush not to repeat past racist errors. Read More

  • Shaking the 2012–13 money tree

    06 Jul 2012

    The hot topics of carbon tax and immigration have pushed social policy reforms under the radar in recent months. Read More

  • Indigenous education – a poor performer

    29 Jun 2012

    Government needs to respond to poor NAPLAN results for Indigenous students by bringing non-performing and under-performing schools up to speed within the decade. Read More

  • Address the demand for alcohol, not the supply

    25 May 2012

    For long-term changes, governments should be tackling the reasons why people are drinking rather than simply controlling the consumption of alcohol. Read More

  • DSP reform under Labor hits the brakes

    25 May 2012

    The Rudd-Gillard Labor government is famous for its policy failures, but one of the few bright spots on its report card has been its reforms to the Disability Support Pension. Read More

  • Scrap the National Children’s Commissioner for children’s sake

    25 May 2012

    Appointing a National Children’s Commissioner will only add to the bureaucratic maze and do no good to children. Read More

  • Care, but responsibly

    04 May 2012

    Welfare programs in Australia, Britain, and the United States have belatedly begun to be reformed to try to prevent claimants ripping them off. Read More

  • Politics muddies euro economics

    27 Apr 2012

    Even before the crisis hit, Eurozone countries to a greater or lesser extent showed scant regard for the virtues of fiscal discipline. Read More

  • Culturally deaf to causes of child abuse

    20 Apr 2012

    Single-mother households are over-represented in cases of child abuse and neglect. Read More

  • The Road to Broadcasting House

    16 Mar 2012

    Social mobility in England is not a big problem. Read More

  • Crowding of the welfare state is detrimental to everyone

    02 Mar 2012

    Prime Minister Gillard’s victory speech after defeating Kevin Rudd for the leadership of the Labor Party on Monday raised some important issues for those interested in public administration. Read More

  • Hardly fair to vulnerable children

    03 Feb 2012

    Restore citizen-control over the child protection services or watch it fail. Read More

  • The great Medicare swindle

    20 Jan 2012

    Basic market disciplines are needed to control the cost of Medicare and prevent over-servicing. Read More

  • Nudge, nudge, here come the Germans

    20 Jan 2012

    Germans can teach us a lot when it comes to family and social policy. Read More

  • Disability pension needs tough love

    16 Dec 2011

    With the number of people on the Disability Support Pension continuing to grow, government needs to introduce stringent reforms to stem the problem. Read More

  • Paternalist not punitive management of underclass

    09 Dec 2011

    Government should intervene in highly dysfunctional families to ensure children are given every opportunity to fulfil the full human potential. Read More

  • Overcoming a culture of low expectations

    11 Nov 2011

    Given the right help, many people with very serious disabilities can work. Read More

  • Individualism does not mean being self-centred

    04 Nov 2011

    Individualism is not about being self-centred but about recognising that you are responsible for your own actions and how your life turns out. Read More

  • 1 for the nanny state, 0 for commonsense

    14 Oct 2011

    Welfare has gone mad in Britain – child misbehaves, parent gets a car. Child’s team loses football game by 20 points – they will never know. Read More

  • The holy grail of welfare reform

    07 Oct 2011

    We must reduce the number of people on the Disability Pension Scheme by helping them to find work. Read More

  • For richer, for poorer

    07 Oct 2011

    The right needs to address the growing popular resentment about banks, big corporations, and rich individuals avoiding tax, receiving hand-outs, and deserting people at home by relocating overseas. Read More

  • Sigh, another review

    07 Oct 2011

    Another government review into Aboriginal welfare but will it result in any policy changes? Read More

  • Dying before their time

    23 Sep 2011

    Sara Hudson writes about the deplorable condition and despair in Aboriginal communities she saw on her recent trip to Central Australia. Read More

  • Buying spirit level bubbles

    09 Sep 2011

    In his new book When Prophecy Fails (released by the CIS), Peter Saunders writes a further rebuttal to Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book, The Spirit Level. Read More

  • Connect cyber with reality

    19 Aug 2011

    Suggestion of social media restrictions in the UK in times of turmoil. Read More

  • Stick it to ‘em

    12 Aug 2011

    Society’s lack of a moral compass led to the London riots. Read More

  • Tough on welfare but light on detail

    21 Apr 2011

    Gillard’s pronouncements on welfare reform have so far been largely rhetorical. Read More

  • DSP the wrong target for budget savings

    Jessica Brown | 18 Feb 2011

    Welfare reform, especially of Disability Support Pension, must continue to be a policy priority but is unlikely to help us find a spare billion dollars in this year's budget. Read More

  • Welfare double dipping

    Andrew Norton | 19 Nov 2010

    Should welfare recipients be able to claim the expenses of making themselves eligible for welfare? Read More

  • Liberalism and child protection

    Jeremy Sammut | 10 Sep 2010

    Child protection reform that upholds the independent rights of children needs to be on the policy agenda of liberals because liberals live in a world that, in many respects, liberals did not make. Read More

  • Overcoming poverty of ambition

    Jessica Brown | 16 Jul 2010

    Study shows that children of the poorest parents – both in terms of income and education – can go on to become tomorrow’s doctors and lawyers. Read More

  • Money doesn’t grow on trees

    Sara Hudson | 19 Mar 2010

    Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s decision to support Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin’s income management bill signals a much-needed change in attitudes to welfare in Australia. Read More

  • Latest Indigenous health scheme shows policymakers are still in ‘la la land’

    Sara Hudson | 18 Dec 2009

    Chronic diseases, in particular cardiovascular disease, are the biggest single killers of Indigenous people. But the government’s plan to tackle chronic diseases amongst the Aboriginal population owes... 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...

    View All

    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 ...

    View All