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Issue Analysis

issue-analysis

Issue Analysis (IA) are shorter publications that deal with controversial and current issues.

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

    16 Apr 2014 | IA145

    Australian child protection policy continues to resemble Einstein’s definition of madness—doing the same thing and expecting a different result. The Abbott government can provide national leadership... Read More

  • Independent Charities, Independent Regulators: The Future of Not-for-Profit Regulation

    06 Feb 2014 | IA143

    Abolishing the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission is a necessary first step in fostering an independent charity sector that is regulated effectively without excessive cost to the taxpayer. Read More

  • The New Silence: Family Breakdown and Child Sexual Abuse

    30 Jan 2014 | IA142

    Despite family breakdown exposing children to greater risk of sexual abuse, the issue receives scant attention in this country. Child sexual abuse is not fully and frankly discussed because the public... Read More

  • In the Pay of the Piper: Governments, Not-for-Profits, and the Burden of Regulation

    23 Apr 2013 | IA139

    Reforms intended to boost confidence in Australian charities risk turning the charitable sector into just another arm of government. Peter Kurti argues that the real problem is that charities appear to... Read More

  • The Fraught Politics of Saying Sorry for Forced Adoption: Implications for Child Protection Policy in Australia

    19 Mar 2013 | IA138

    Many Australians will believe a national apology for forced adoption is overdue. But there is a danger that the apology will delegitimise the use of adoption for child protection purposes and make it more... Read More

  • Australia and the Asian Ascendancy: Why Upskilling is Not Necessary to Reap the Rewards

    19 Feb 2013 | IA137

    Government programs to upskill the Australian workforce for the Asian Century are a solution to a non-problem. With more than a million Asian-born Australians, millions of speakers of Asian languages,... Read More

  • Keeping PISA in Perspective: Why Australian Education Policy Should Not Be Driven by International Test Results

    18 Dec 2012 | IA136

    International student assessments such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) provide useful information for individual... Read More

  • After the Riot: the Meaning for Multicultural Australia

    11 Oct 2012 | IA135

    The riot on 15 September in the Sydney CBD by Muslim protestors has raised questions about the health of Australian multiculturalism. Are the values that have made Australia a successful ‘immigrant nation’... Read More

  • Australia's Asia Literacy Non-Problem

    05 Sep 2012 | IA133

    New large-scale Asia literacy programs are not necessary for Australia to prosper in the Asian Century. There are approximately 2 billion English speakers globally, while English is spoken by about 800... Read More

  • Overcoming a Culture of Low Expectations

    28 Mar 2012 | IA131

    The most important thing we can do to encourage disadvantaged Australians into work – including people with disabilities, children in jobless families, and Indigenous people living in remote communities... Read More

  • School Funding, Choice and Equity

    26 Oct 2011 | IA126

    CIS Research Fellow Jennifer Buckingham says the three main goals of school funding – equity, efficiency and excellence – are not being met in the current system. Instead, we need a new school funding... Read More

  • Why a Growing Australia is Nothing to Fear

    28 Sep 2011 | IA125

    Australia’s population is growing because our economy is booming and our society is confident about the future. Rather than pretend population growth is not happening, we should be actively trying to... Read More

  • Healthy Stores, Healthy Communities: The Impact of Outback Stores on Remote Indigenous Australians

    Sara Hudson | 17 Jun 2010 | IA122

    The federal government’s initiative to improve remote community stores is crowding out the competition and not delivering on its promises. Read More

  • Defeating Dependency: Moving Disability Support Pensioners Into Jobs

    Jessica Brown | 30 Apr 2010 | IA120

    The focus of welfare reform efforts should be on encouraging some of the 750,000 existing disability support pensioners back into work. Read More

  • What’s Next for Welfare-to-Work?

    Jessica Brown | 15 Oct 2009 | IA117

    When jobs are hard to find, the incentive for unemployed people to move to other welfare payments such as DSP grows. There is a real danger that rising unemployment could undo the recent gains in reducing... Read More

  • Educating The Disadvantaged

    Jennifer Buckingham | 01 Oct 2009 | IA116

    Every child can succeed at school if education providers take the right approach. Educating the Disadvantaged, a collection of four essays, reveals the diverse stories of why some schools are failing... Read More

  • Diminishing Democracy: The Threat Posed by Political Expenditure Laws

    Andrew Norton | 31 Jul 2009 | IA114

    Electoral law reforms nearing a Senate vote risk making political activists inadvertent lawbreakers, deterring financial supporters of Australia’s civil society, and creating unnecessary bureaucratic... Read More

  • In Defence of Non-Government Schools

    Jennifer Buckingham | 02 Jul 2009 | IA112

    Non-government schools are providers of public education and deserve adequate public funding. The purposes and functions of public education – academic, social and civic – are carried out in independent... Read More

  • Indigenous Participation in University Education

    Joe Lane | 27 May 2009 | IA110

    The government’s use of race-based ‘average’ educational performance measures denigrates Indigenous achievement, ignoring the achievements of the 24,000 Indigenous university graduates in Australia. In... Read More

  • In Defence of Civil Society: The Virtue of Prescribed Private Funds

    John Humphreys | 18 Feb 2009 | IA107

    The Commonwealth government is looking to change the rules governing charitable funds which may harm philanthropic giving and consequently, undermine civil society. Given the current economic climate,... Read More

  • Fixing Prices: Why Vouchers Won't Work While Governments Set Fees

    Andrew Norton | 11 Feb 2009 | IA105

    The Bradley report is another chapter in the long story of pricing neglect in higher education. The report should have gone further to solve the financial problems of underfunded universities by deregulating... Read More

  • Making the Grade: School Report Cards and League Tables

    Jennifer Buckingham | 20 Nov 2008 | IA103

    International research shows that students in schools that publish their results publicly perform better than students in schools that do not. It is time for Australian schools to be accountable too. Read More

  • Million Dollar Babies: Paid Parental Leave and Family Policy Reform

    Jessica Brown | 18 Nov 2008 | IA102

    Support for the introduction of paid parental leave has been so vocal that rather than being a means to an end, paid parental leave has become the end itself. Evidence-based policy has been sidelined... Read More

  • Baby Steps Toward Self-Funded Parental Leave

    Jessica Brown | 18 Sep 2008 | IA100

    The debate about increasing the aged pension highlights the fact that, once again, government handouts lead to increasing burdens on taxpayers. When considering a government-funded paid maternity leave... Read More

  • Child Care and the Labour Supply

    Jennifer Buckingham | 23 Jul 2008 | IA97

    This report investigates whether child care is unaffordable and if government funding is contributing to its affordability or making it more expensive. Read More

  • A Whiff of Compassion? The Attack on Mutual Obligation

    Peter Saunders | 10 Jun 2008 | IA96

    The Rudd government is planning to water down the existing work requirements and mutual obligation policies that have helped unemployed people find jobs. Read More

  • What are Low Ability Workers To Do When Unskilled Jobs Disappear? Part 2

    Peter Saunders | 14 Feb 2008 | IA93

    Despite low unemployment, working-age welfare dependency remains high, partly because demand for unskilled labour is in decline. Instead of more government spending on education and training, we need to... Read More

  • What are Low Ability Workers To Do When Unskilled Jobs Disappear? Part 1

    Peter Saunders | 06 Dec 2007 | IA91

    Nearly two million working-age people are on welfare benefits. The fall in the unemployment figures has disguised a displacement of jobless people into other benefits like the Disability Pension and Parenting... Read More

  • Child Care: Who Benefits?

    Jennifer Buckingham | 24 Oct 2007 | IA89

    Child care has gone from something that families would use sparingly and only if necessary to being an alleged human right. The research base of many claims about child care does not support their weight. Read More

  • Kava and after in the Nhulunbuy (Gulf of Carpenteria) Hinterland

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 08 Oct 2007 | IA88

    Ending kava sales will have positive effects only if the factors that make the Nhulunbuy hinterland dysfunctional are tackled. If underlying deprivation is not ended, alcohol and drugs are likely to replace... Read More

  • What Is Working in Good Schools in Remote Indigenous Communities?

    Kirsten Storry | 04 Apr 2007 | IA86

    School‑side and community‑side interventions with which good schools are trying to break the cycle of low attendance, achievement and retention show that we need a new focus on school performance... Read More

  • Mismatch: Australia’s Graduates and the Job Market

    Andrew Norton | 23 Mar 2007 | IA84

    The Commonwealth-directed higher education system has produced a mismatch between available graduates and jobs. Australia’s centrally controlled system of allocating university places has failed to... Read More

  • The HIV/AIDS Crisis in Papua New Guinea

    Miranda Darling Tobias | 08 Feb 2007 | IA81

    The rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea has created a health emergency, with at least 120,000 Papua New Guineans likely to have HIV/AIDS. If present rising infection trends persist, 18% of the... Read More

  • Teachers and the Waiting Game: Why Decentralisation is Vital for Public Schools

    Jennifer Buckingham | 05 Feb 2007 | IA80

    Centralised staffing systems, which fiercely protect regulations that shelter poor teachers and privilege longevity over performance, are in need of change so that teachers and principals are able to make... Read More

  • A Welfare State for Those Who Want One, Opts-outs for Those Who Don't

    Peter Saunders | 30 Jan 2007 | IA79

    A system of welfare state opt-outs will help increase people’s independence from government and reverse the unrelenting growth of public spending. Under the scheme, people who want to pay higher taxes... Read More

  • Indigenous Governance At the Crossroads: The Way Forward

    John Cleary | 29 Nov 2006 | IA78

    Under the current local government framework, there are too many layers of government in remote Indigenous communities, resulting in conflict between, and duplication of, administrative structures. It... Read More

  • Tackling Literacy in Remote Aboriginal Communities

    Kirsten Storry | 31 Aug 2006 | IA73

    Literacy rates among children and adults in remote Aboriginal communities are appallingly low, and cannot be reversed without genuine and innovative education reform. Read More

  • School Autonomy: A Key Reform for Improving Indigenous Education

    Julie Novak | 21 Jun 2006 | IA72

    The government school model is failing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and urgently needs reform. School autonomy should be part of a comprehensive policy package to improve the long-term... Read More

  • Family Relationship Centres: Why We Don’t Need Them

    Arti Sharma | 12 Apr 2006 | IA70

    As part of a major overhaul of the Family Law Act, the Australian government plans to spend $200 million establishing a network of Family Relationship Centres. Despite good intentions, the Centres will... Read More

  • HELPless: How the FEE-HELP Loans System Lets Students Down and How to Fix it

    Andrew Norton | 27 Feb 2006 | IA68

    Three new loans schemes were introduced in 2005 to fix omissions in the HECS system, but a more realistic FEE-HELP loan cap needs to be implemented so FEE-HELP can achieve its stated objectives of reducing... Read More

  • Twenty Million Future Funds

    Peter Saunders | 21 Dec 2005 | IA66

    The government’s claim that we need a Future Fund to pay for public servants’ superannuation is bogus. In fact, the Future Fund should be denationalised and the money distributed into individual savings... Read More

  • Education and Learning in an Aboriginal Community

    Veronica Cleary | 06 Dec 2005 | IA65

    The principal reason why so many Aboriginal people are unable to find jobs is that children in remote areas, such as the Tiwi Islands, leave primary school without the skills that would enable them to... Read More

  • Good Teachers Where They Are Needed

    Jennifer Buckingham | 19 Oct 2005 | IA64

    Allowing qualified professionals to become teachers through school-based education has the potential to reduce Australia’s ever-increasing shortage of teachers. Read More

  • The Economics of Indigenous Deprivation and Proposals for Reform

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 23 Sep 2005 | IA63

    For remote Indigenous communities to have productive employment opportunities with mainstream earnings, decent health outcomes, decent housing, and the same security and standards of living that other... Read More

  • The Free Market Case Against Voluntary Student Unionism (But for Voluntary Student Representation)

    Andrew Norton | 31 Aug 2005 | IA62

    The federal government plans to introduce ‘voluntary student unionism’ (VSU) into Australia’s universities by banning the current compulsory fee for non-academic services. However, market-based policies... Read More

  • Six Arguments in Favour of Self-Funding

    Peter Saunders | 14 Jul 2005 | IA61

    The welfare state served us well in the past but is decreasingly relevant to current conditions. It came into existence to provide health care, education, and income security which people needed but could... Read More

  • Clearing Muddy Waters: Why Vinnies are Wrong on Inequality

    Peter Saunders | 21 Jun 2005 | IA60

    A recent St Vincent de Paul Society report claimed income inequality in Australia is dramatically widening. CIS suggested the report was grossly exaggerated. The authors of the report responded by telling... Read More

  • A Headlong Dash into the Chasm of Hyperbole

    Peter Saunders | 08 Jun 2005 | IA59

    The St Vincent de Paul Society’s recent paper, The Reality of Income Inequality in Australia, warns of Australia’s ‘current headlong dash into the chasm of inequality,’ basing its claims about... Read More

  • Papua New Guinea’s Choice: A Tale of Two Nations

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 31 May 2005 | IA58

    The recent withdrawal of the Australian police is disastrous for the people of Papua New Guinea. The police deployed under the Enhanced Cooperation Programme had only been in place for six months, but... Read More

  • Lessons from the Tiwi Islands: The Need for Radical Improvement in Remote Aboriginal Communities

    John Cleary | 24 May 2005 | IA55

    The governance structures created during the last 30 years for remote Aboriginal communities are so dysfunctional that the many millions of dollars that have been channelled into various programmes for... Read More

  • The $85 Billion Tax/Welfare Churn

    Peter Saunders | 07 Apr 2005 | IA57

    Given the government’s newly-won control of the Senate, most attention is focused primarily on the next 18 months, but it is important to think longer term about the kind of tax and welfare systems we... Read More

  • Universities in a State: The Federal Case Against Commonwealth Control of Universities

    Andrew Norton | 24 Mar 2005 | IA56

    The Commonwealth Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, has suggested that the federal government assume full legal responsibility for universities. However, tranferring power over universities from the... Read More

  • A New Deal for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in Remote Communities

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 and Jenness Warin | 01 Mar 2005 | IA54

    A New Deal for Aborigines: Private property rights, educational reform, health care privatisation, and the application of the rule of law are urgently needed in Australia’s remote communities if Aborigines... Read More

  • The Pacific is Viable!

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 02 Dec 2004 | IA53

    Whilst all is relatively quiet in the Pacific, there is still no growth. With aid runing at more than $1.5 billion a year to cushion the effects of stagnation, Pacific governments continue to opt for inaction.... Read More

  • Only 18%? Why ACOSS is Wrong to be Complacent about Welfare Dependency

    Peter Saunders | 02 Sep 2004 | IA51

    A new report from the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) accepts that welfare dependency among working age Australians has reached 18% but denies this is a problem. It says that Australia still... Read More

  • Why We Must Reform the Disability Support Pension

    Peter Saunders | 06 Apr 2004 | IA47

    There has been a big increase in people claiming the Disability Support Pension (DSP) although at least half of the claimants are capable of holding down a job. A large part of the increase in DSP numbers... Read More

  • Lies, Damned Lies and the Senate Poverty Inquiry Report

    Peter Saunders | 01 Apr 2004 | IA46

    A recent Senate Report claims that ‘poverty’ in Australia is widespread and has been getting worse is ‘seriously flawed’ and its use of evidence is ‘partial and selective.’ Its treatment of... Read More

  • How Union Campaigns on Hours and Casuals are Threatening Low-skilled Jobs

    Kayoko Tsumori | 22 Jan 2004 | IA44

    For several years now Australian unions have been waging campaigns to limit working hours and the growth in casual employment in the name of improving workers’ well-being. Yet these campaigns are little... Read More

  • Valuing Education: A Response to the Australia Institute Report 'Buying an Education'

    Jennifer Buckingham | 21 Jan 2004 | IA43

    The Australia Institute, in publishing this report, has done nothing to advance serious and constructive debate on education in Australia. Its underlying argument, that paying for one’s education is... Read More

  • The Open Front Door Tourism, Border Control and National Security

    William Maley | 14 Jan 2004 | IA42

    Terrorists could easily exploit a serious weakness in Australia’s border protection regime, warns immigration expert Professor William Maley. While the Howard government has committed substantial resources... Read More

  • How To Reduce Long Term Unemployment

    Peter Saunders | 11 Sep 2003 | IA40

    More than half the people claiming unemployment allowances in Australia have been on benefits for more than a year. Introducing a six-month time limit on unemployment benefits could dramatically reduce... Read More

  • Reforming Divorce Law

    Barry Maley | 01 Sep 2003 | IA39

    Marriage has evolved from a relatively stable bond to a highly uncertain one. High divorce rates, the substitution of cohabitation for marriage, later ages at marriage, falling fertility, and the ill effects... Read More

  • The Beat Goes On: Policing for Crime Prevention

    Nicole Billante | 01 Jul 2003 | IA38

    A visible police presence in the community and increased police resources must form a key part of a crime prevention strategy in Australia. Australian policymakers and police should take note of the successful... Read More

  • Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Dr Nelson Mixes Price Flexibility and Rigid Quotas

    Andrew Norton | 18 Jun 2003 | IA37

    Education Minister Dr Brendan Nelson’s proposed reforms of higher education will improve the quality of Australian higher education through increased investment and competition for fee-paying students.... Read More

  • The Tender Trap: Reducing Long-Term Welfare Dependency by Reforming the Parenting Payment System

    Peter Saunders | 11 Jun 2003 | IA36

    Moving single parents whose children are at school off welfare and into work is a key component of a broader strategy to eradicate poverty since joblessness is the biggest cause of poverty. It is essential... Read More

  • Is the ‘Earnings Credit’ the Best Way to Cut the Dole Queues?

    Kayoko Tsumori | 13 May 2003 | IA35

    The 'earnings credit' proposed by the 'Five Economists' in 1998 will not sufficiently decrease joblessness in Australia, and may in fact encourage welfare dependency. The 'earnings credit' – a tax break... Read More

  • Michael in a Muddle: Michael Pusey’s Bungled Attack on Economic Reform

    Andrew Norton | 09 May 2003 | IA34

    Andrew Norton reveals many serious errors of fact and logic in his detailed critique of Michael Pusey's new book, The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform. The main thrust of... Read More

  • Aid Has Failed the Pacific

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 07 May 2003 | IA33

    The Pacific islands are an arc of instability threatening Australia’s security. While current problems are of considerable strategic concern to Australia, the principal victims are the people of the... Read More

  • Student Debt: A HECS on Fertility?

    Andrew Norton | 02 Apr 2003 | IA32

    Opponents of university fees are tapping into concern about declining fertility levels by arguing that there may be a link between student debt and fewer births. Read More

  • Reflections on Class Size and Teacher Quality

    Jennifer Buckingham | 21 Mar 2003 | IA29a

    The statistical evidence showing that boys have lower literacy levels and lower average performance than girls in almost all school subjects is overwhelming. Boys in New Zealand’s schools are disadvantaged... Read More

  • The Thinning Blue Line

    Nicole Billante | 19 Mar 2003 | IA31

    The likelihood that a criminal will be caught after committing an offence is an important deterrent for potential offenders. However, on average across Australia, the number of police has not increased... Read More

  • The Missing Links: Class Size, Discipline, Inclusion and Teacher Quality

    Jennifer Buckingham | 19 Feb 2003 | IA29

    The Vinson Report is let down by a lack of rigour and an apparent partiality in its analysis of reforms that have important implications, such as class size. Read More

  • Poor Laws (2): The Minimum Wage and Unemployment

    Kayoko Tsumori | 02 Dec 2002 | IA28

    More than half the poor in Australia are unemployed. It is joblessness, not low-paid jobs, that is the biggest source of poverty in Australia. Given that the risk of being poor is far greater for those... Read More

  • Getting it Right Some of the Time: An Appraisal of the Report on the Inquiry into the Education of Boys

    Jennifer Buckingham | 14 Nov 2002 | IA27

    The 2002 parliamentary inquiry and report into the education of boys has failed to recognise that boys from single parent families are more at risk of underperforming at school. Read More

  • Families, Fertility and Maternity Leave

    Barry Maley | 12 Jun 2002 | IA24

    Sound family policy is being side-tracked by the concentration on the role of maternity leave in raising the fertility rate. Falling fertility is a genuine cause for concern, but it does not justify the... Read More

  • Poor Statistics: Getting the Facts Right About Poverty in Australia

    Peter Saunders | 03 Apr 2002 | IA23

    Some welfare organisations suggest that poverty statistics are unimportant and that the CIS critique of the Smith Family’s figures was a distraction from the real business of tackling poverty. But the... Read More

  • The Importance of Teacher Quality

    Ken Rowe | 28 Feb 2002 | IA22

    When all other sources of variation in performance are taken into account – including socioeconomic background and differences between schools – the most important sources of variation in student achievement... Read More

  • Poor Arguments: A Response to the Smith Family Report on Poverty in Australia

    Kayoko Tsumori | 16 Jan 2002 | IA21

    The welfare lobby, including The Smith Family and NATSEM, continues to inflate poverty statistics to advance a political agenda of income redistribution. The Smith Family report claimed that one in eight... Read More

  • Public Education in New South Wales: Submission to the ‘Vinson’ Inquiry

    Ross Harold | 28 Nov 2001 | IA20

    The most effective way of improving school performance without increasing recurrent funding is to enable schools to respond to the needs of their students, using their own experience and expertise, and... Read More

  • School Funding for All: Making Sense of the Debate over Dollars

    Jennifer Buckingham | 12 Oct 2000 | IA17

    Public debate over school funding is characterised by misinformation and misunderstanding, making any agreement or compromise unlikely. Jennifer Buckingham explains the current funding system (who gets... Read More

  • Code of Silence: Public Reporting of School Performance

    Alison Rich | 04 Oct 2000 | IA16

    The refusal of state governments to release any comparative school data means the public and parents are powerless to combat bad schools and bad teachers. Read More

  • Playing with Fire: Churches, Welfare Services and Government Contracts

    Samuel Gregg | 14 Aug 2000 | IA14

    Striking a balance between state funding and religious autonomy is the latest challenge for church-based welfare agencies. Church-based welfare agencies risk losing their autonomy if they accept government... Read More

  • The Truth about Private Schools in Australia

    Jennifer Buckingham | 01 Aug 2000 | IA13

    The evidence strongly suggests that private schools offer their students something that goes beyond financial resources and family background. Contributing factors could be the quality and dedication... Read More

  • Degrees of Difficulty: The Labour Market Problems of Arts and Social Science Graduates

    Andrew Norton | 19 Jul 2000 | IA12

    That the Australian higher education system is comprehensively rigged against students is evident from the current oversupply of graduates in the humanities and social sciences and its impact on their... Read More

  • Trailing the Class: Sole Parent Families and Educational Disadvantage

    Alison Rich | 26 Jun 2000 | IA11

    The association between family structure and educational performance has been the focus of much research in recent years. It seems that a child’s education is often one of the casualties of family instability... Read More

  • Shooting the Messenger: A Critique of Australia’s Internet Content Regulation Regime

    Heath Gibson | 02 Feb 2000 | IA10

    With the expansion of the Internet into society, media reports of pornography, paedophiles and racist web sites have induced government regulatory measures across the globe. This Issue Analysis studies how... Read More

  • The Puzzle of Boys’ Educational Decline: A Review of the Evidence

    Jennifer Buckingham | 18 Nov 1999 | IA9

    Although research has attempted to explain the decline in boy's performance at school, lack of empirical evidence has precluded conclusions to date and tends to raise more questions than it answers. Read More

  • Tax Injustice: Keeping the Family Cap-in-Hand

    Lucy Sullivan | 10 Jul 1998 | IA3

    There is a growing awareness of financial pressure on the family, together with anomalies in the interaction of family earnings, taxation and welfare benefits. Increasingly generous welfare benefits appear... Read More

  • Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value: Moving Toward, Or Away From, Wage Justice for Women?

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 26 Jun 1998 | IA2

    Concerns about equity for working women are being misused to move back to industry-wide wage fixing and its attendant dangers of increased unemployment.   Read More