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Occasional Papers


Occasional Papers (OP) are short publications usually based on a lecture or presentation given at the CIS. Our annual John Bonython and Acton Lectures are part of the OP series.

  • The Right to the Good Life: Improving Educational Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children

    01 Oct 2013 | OP133

    Indigenous students should be treated not as incommensurately different but like all other students who are required to become competent in the national curriculum, argues Professor Marcia Langton AM.... Read More

  • After the Welfare State: Politicians Stole Your Future … You Can Get It Back

    08 Apr 2013 | OP132

    History, economics, sociology, political science, and mathematics are the tools to understand and evaluate welfare states, rather than emotional responses or conspiracy theories. This little book, edited... Read More

  • Re-moralising the Welfare State

    13 Mar 2013 | OP131

    The welfare state should be fair as well as caring. Fairness requires that claimants are not treated more favourably than people who work; that more deserving cases are treated differently from less deserving... Read More

  • Capitalism and Virtue: Reaffirming Old Truths

    07 Feb 2013 | OP130

    In the 2012 Annual John Bonython Lecture, eminent political scientist Charles Murray describes the larger historical forces that have been at work in the United States (and, to a lesser extent, Australia)... Read More

  • Sustainability of Indigenous Communities

    20 Dec 2012 | OP127

    Social indicators of Indigenous disadvantage prove that the orthodox methods of delivering services to Indigenous people have not worked. The failure of these methods is also indicated by the proliferation... Read More

  • The Power and the Responsibility: Child Protection in the Post-Welfare State Era

    Jeremy Sammut | 08 Sep 2010 | OP117

    Government-run child protection services in Australia are plagued by systemic problems, including a misguided emphasis on family preservation. This paper examines the cultural, political and ideological... Read More

  • Declaring Dependence, Declaring Independence: Three Essays on the Future of the Welfare State

    Peter Saunders | 01 Aug 2008 | OP111

    In a time when governments are running up enormous welfare bills and intrusively regulating everyday life, this series of essays remind us that many people do not need to rely on the government to survive. Read More

  • In Praise of Elitism

    Charles Murray, Claire Fox and Denis Dutton | 01 Feb 2008 | OP107

    Australian society is frequently characterised as egalitarian: belief in a 'fair go' for all and a love for cutting down tall poppies are canonical elements of the national character. Does our distrust... Read More

  • The Ethic of Respect: A Leftwing Cause

    Frank Field | 09 Mar 2006 | OP102

    Frank Field argues that nineteenth century Christianity bequeathed us a "rich deposit of ethical values", which he summarises as an 'ethic of respect'. In this paper he warns that this ethic is rapidly... Read More

  • Welfare Reform and Economic Development for Indigenous Communities

    Noel Pearson | 25 Oct 2005 | OP100

    Noel Pearson's lecture is to set out a case for a comprehensive reform agenda in Cape York Peninsula. Read More

  • Smothering By the Security Blanket: Risk, Responsibility and the Role of Government

    Caspar Conde | 19 Sep 2005 | OP95

    To what extent can the government manage risk in our society without smothering self-responsibility and impinging on personal liberties? Conde outlines strategies for reducing risks citing examples of... Read More

  • Conspicuous Compassion: Why sometimes it really is cruel to be kind

    Patrick West | 19 Sep 2004 | OP91

    This book by Patrick West challenges the trend towards dramatic public displays of 'concern' which have very little to do with genuine compassion. Such displays of empathy do not change the world for the... Read More

  • Boys' Education - Research & Rhetoric

    Jennifer Buckingham | 01 Jan 2004 | OP89

    There is significant evidence that boys have been experiencing educational disadvantage. In this paper, Jennifer Buckingham puts forward recommendations for schools - in particular for teachers - which... Read More

  • A Self-Reliant Australia. Welfare Policy for the 21st century

    Peter Saunders | 16 Mar 2003 | OP86

    In this paper Peter Saunders suggests that the time has come to turn back the growth of this expensive, damaging, demeaning and largely unnecessary welfare state behemoth Read More

  • Six Questions About Civility

    Nicole Billante and Peter Saunders | 03 Jul 2002 | OP82

    Civility is a moral virtue and a social responsibility, contributing to the public good and the quality of life. Yet the term civility is often used without a true understanding of what it is and why it... Read More

  • The Social Foundations of a Free Society

    Peter Saunders | 12 Feb 2002 | OP79

    A look at five main areas where current trends may be eroding the free society - family life, schooling, community relations, the welfare state, and the values, norms and beliefs that comprise our common... Read More

  • Reconnecting Compassion and Charity

    Roger Kerr | 01 Jan 1999 | OP67

    Supporters of big government and the welfare state regularly accuse their opponents of lacking ‘compassion’. But how much have they thought about what compassion really involves? And how do they reconcile... Read More

  • Democracy and the Welfare State

    Kenneth Minogue | 01 Sep 1997 | OP61

    The welfare state has now been experienced by several generations. In this Occasional Paper, Professor Kenneth Minogue looks at some of its effects on the character of Western states and societies. The... Read More

  • A Private Education for All

    Mark Harrision | 01 Feb 1996 | OP56

    Mark Harrison argues in A Private Education for Allthat public education suffers from a lack of competition and a political process that favours teachers and bureaucrats over students, parents and employers.... Read More

  • Civic Capitalism- An Australian Agenda for Institutional Renewal

    Nick Greiner | 01 May 1995 | OP54

    A new political middle ground is forming around the idea that successful societies depend on ‘social capital’- the goodwill, trust and sense of mutual obligation that underpin co-operation and community.... Read More

  • The Social Roots of Prosperity

    Brigette Berger | 01 May 1995 | OP55

    A society’s prosperity depends on its families. That is the central message of Brigitte Berger’s analysis of economic an and political success. Read More

  • The Moral Sense: An Essay

    James Q. Wilson | 01 Aug 1994 | OP50

    The distinctive feature of The Moral Sense: An Essay is that it uses the findings of modern science and social science to provide extensive evidence that natural human inclinations toward sociability lay... Read More

  • Welfare State and the Problem of the Commons, The

    David Thompson | 01 Dec 1992 | OP43

    In this contribution to the CIS Social Welfare Research Program, David Thomson argues that the typical welfare state produces unintended generational inequity because it is an ill-designed common: since... Read More

  • From Welfare State to Welfare Society

    Michael James | 01 Jul 1992 | OP38

    The legitimacy of the welfare state has survived the shift in recent years towards smaller government and a greater role for individual initiative and enterprise in the economy.  Michael James argues... Read More

  • Equalising People: Why Social Justice Threatens Liberty

    David Green | 01 Dec 1991 | OP37

    In this Occasional Paper, David Green challenges the pursuit of social justice on three grounds: It is based on a shallow and materialistic conception of human nature that ignores unpriced and unrewarded... Read More

  • The Education Monopoly Problem

    Edwin G. West | 12 Dec 1989 | OP26

    Professor Edwin West explores the various mechanisms that have evolved in several countries for enhancing choice both within state school systems and between state and private schools. Read More

  • The Long Debate on Poverty

    R.M. Hartwell | 10 May 1988 | OP21

    In The Long Debate on Poverty, Professor Hartwell analyses the debate on poverty and its historical roots; demonstrates the remarkable similarity between earlier and modern discussions on the subject;... Read More

  • Social Welfare: The Changing Debate

    David Green | 05 May 1988 | OP20

    David D. Green’s monograph Social Welfare: The Changing Debate, summarises the research findings and arguments of several recent studies of welfare dependency. Read More

  • The Rhetoric and Reality of Income Redistribution

    Gordon Tullock | 25 Sep 1981 | OP5

    In this survey of a variety of aspects of income redistribution, Gordon Tullock asks not that we should necessarily change our behaviour, but that we should at least speak the truth about what we are doing. Read More

  • Social Welfare: The Changing Debate

    David Green | 30 Nov -0001

    The Centre for Independent Studies Social Welfare Program has commissioned studies by qualified economists and other social researchers and thinkers into various aspects of the welfare issue and the policy... Read More

  • Population Growth: Curse or Blessing?

    Peter T. Bauer | 30 Nov -0001

    Population growth is widely regarded as self-evidently a cause of poverty and backwardness in Third World countries. In this Occasional Paper, Lord Bauer challenges this belief and argues that population... Read More

  • Preventative Policing

    Nicole Billante | 30 Nov -0001 | OP88

    In this companion paper to "Six Questions About Civility" (2002), Nicole Billante explores ways to combat the problem of rising crime in Australia, looking particularly at the initiatives carried out in... Read More