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Policy Monographs


Policy Monographs (PM) are pieces directly commenting on government policy, new programs or legislation.

  • Complex Family Payments: What it Costs the Village to Raise a Child

    06 Aug 2014 | PM141

    The report describes the family payments system (with a focus on family tax benefits and child care fee assistance) and analyses how the multiple programs overlap. It also explores how the phenomenon of... Read More

  • Not Looking for Work: The Rise of Non-Jobseekers on Unemployment Benefits

    31 Jul 2013 | PM136

    Following the global financial crisis, the incumbent Labor government introduced policies that reduced the job search requirements for people on unemployment benefits. As a result, there are now around... Read More

  • test T30

    26 Feb 2013

    Test T30 Read More

  • Back to the Bad Old Days? Industrial Relations Reform in Australia

    06 Dec 2012 | PM133

    Has the Fair Work Act thrown industrial relations back to ‘the bad old days?’ This report analyses the changes in industrial relations reform over the past 20 years and assesses the role in which each... Read More

  • Compulsory Super at 20: ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ Without the Libertarianism

    25 Nov 2012 | PM132

    Examines the economic case for compulsory superannuation contributions and questions whether compulsory super is the most effective way of promoting household and national saving and reducing future demands... Read More

  • The New Leviathan: A National Disability Insurance Scheme

    15 Nov 2012 | PM131

    The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been touted as the biggest social reform since Medicare. Currently, there is only a naive understanding of the scheme. This report makes the case that... Read More

  • Future Submarine Project Should Raise Periscope for Another Look

    24 Oct 2012 | PM130

    Australia should not spend $40 billion to repeat the mistakes of the Collins Class submarine. Nuclear submarines, such as the US Navy’s Virginia Class submarine, would provide a much greater capability... Read More

  • How the NSW Coalition Should Govern Health: Strategies for Microeconomic Reform

    11 Jul 2012 | PM128

    In an ever-tightening fiscal environment, the focus of NSW health policy must be the microeconomic reform of the rigid, public service monopoly model of public hospital care. The adoption of market or... Read More

  • Indigenous Education 2012

    27 Jun 2012 | PM129

    Indigenous Education 2012 reviews the lack of progress by states and territories in improving Indigenous literacy and numeracy. It examines causes of Indigenous students’ success and failure, and the... Read More

  • Future Funds or Future Eaters? The Case Against a Sovereign Wealth Fund for Australia

    20 Feb 2012 | PM126

    This paper considers the arguments for and against greater use of a sovereign wealth fund in Australia. It argues that the existing Future Fund is unnecessary and that greater use of a sovereign wealth... Read More

  • Price Drivers: Five Case Studies in How Government is Making Australia Unaffordable

    14 Dec 2011 | PM125

    Government influences price levels in more ways than is immediately apparent. Through its direct and indirect interventions in the market, government is one of the most important price drivers in Australia... Read More

  • Working Towards Self-Reliance: Three Lessons for Disability Pension Reform

    05 Oct 2011 | PM124

    To successful reduce the number of pensioners on disability support, policymakers must apply the lessons of other welfare reforms. Disability pensioners must be categorised based on their ability to work;... Read More

  • Hands, Mouths and Minds: Three Perspectives on Population Growth and Living Standards

    19 Sep 2011 | PM123

    The long-run relationship between population growth and living standards has been a source of controversy among economists. This monograph examines three perspectives on the issue and argues that population... Read More

  • Selection, Migration and Integration: Why Multiculturalism Works in Australia (And Fails in Europe)

    01 Sep 2011 | PM121

    Australia’s migrants are extremely well integrated by international standards, particularly Europe. The reason why multiculturalism works better in Australia than in Europe may be Australia’s more... Read More

  • Australia’s Angry Mayors: How Population Growth Frustrates Local Councils

    14 Jul 2011 | PM120

    To understand the effects of a growing population on Australia’s councils, CIS surveyed local authorities from all over the country. The results are alarming. The level of frustration with inadequate... Read More

  • Alcohol Policy and the Politics of Moral Panic

    26 May 2011 | PM118

    New Zealand’s proposed liquor legislation marks a return to old attitudes towards alcohol regulation that perversely believe, in part due to dubious economic analyses, that placing restrictions on access,... Read More

  • Why Does Government Grow?

    13 Apr 2011 | PM117

    This paper examines some of the stylised facts in relation to the growth of government in the Western world generally, and Australia in particular. It then reviews some of the main theories advanced to... Read More

  • Droughts and Flooding Rains: Water Provision for a Growing Australia

    31 Mar 2011 | PM115

    In the 2010 federal elections, the debate over Australia’s population surfaced once again. Groups concerned with the impacts of a growing population have focused on the life source of any settlement:... Read More

  • Populate and Perish? Modelling Australia's Demographic Future

    Jessica Brown and Oliver Marc Hartwich | 07 Oct 2010 | PM112

    Since the publication of the 2010 Intergenerational Report, Australia has been debating its demographic future and whether it is desirable for the nation to grow to more than 35 million people by 2050.... Read More

  • The Unfinished Business of Australian Income Tax Reform

    Robert Carling | 10 Mar 2010 | PM108

    Robert Carling says the reform agenda for personal income tax should be to cut marginal tax rates; implement automatic indexation of thresholds for inflation; scale back the myriad selective tax breaks... Read More

  • Indigenous Employment, Unemployment and Labour Force Participation: Facts for Evidence Based Policies

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 10 Feb 2010 | PM107

    Professor Helen Hughes, Senior Research Fellow at the CIS and Mark Hughes highlight that Indigenous non-labour force participation is a much greater problem than unemployment. ‘Indigenous unemployment... Read More

  • Like the Curate’s Egg: A Market-based Response and Alternative to the Bennett Report

    Jeremy Sammut | 26 Nov 2009 | PM104

    The National Health and Hospital Reform Commission (NHHRC) has acknowledged the need to ensure health services are responsive to the needs of patients, and has recommended some very limited market-based... Read More

  • Reforming Capital Gains Tax: The Myths and Reality behind Australia’s Most Misunderstood Tax

    Stephen Kirchner | 12 Nov 2009 | PM103

    The implications of the Ralph Capital Gains Tax (CGT) reforms vary widely depending on the type of taxpayer, asset class, and inflation environment.  This report examines the CGT and considers possible... Read More

  • Ending the Churn: A Tax/Welfare Swap

    John Humphreys | 07 Oct 2009 | PM100

    John Humphreys argues that removing middle-class welfare in exchange for income tax cuts, the government could reduce tax and welfare by about $80 billion without leaving anybody worse off. Read More

  • Fiscal Rules for Limited Government: Reforming Australia’s Fiscal Responsibility Legislation

    Robert Carling | 28 Jul 2009 | PM98

    The paper outlines the rationale for fiscal responsibility legislation and a rules-based approach to fiscal policy. It examines the shortcomings of the existing CBH, showing how it has failed to prevent... Read More

  • Bubble Poppers: Monetary Policy and the Myth of ‘Bubbles’ in Asset Prices

    Stephen Kirchner | 28 Mar 2009 | PM 93

    The monograph considers some of the practical problems that are likely to be encountered in implementing an activist approach to asset prices. These difficulties help explain why historical attempts to... Read More

  • Radical Surgery: The Only Cure for New South Wales Hospitals

    Wolfgang Kasper | 27 Jan 2009 | PM91

    Wolfgang Kasper argues that the hospital malaise can only be remedied by removing the central, bureaucratic control of hospitals and creating opportunities for spontaneous, decentralised and customer-oriented... Read More

  • A Streak of Hypocrisy: Reactions to the Global Financial Crisis and Generational Debt

    Jeremy Sammut | 15 Dec 2008 | PM90

    Dr Jeremy Sammut says that ‘household savings have collapsed due to an unnecessary dependence on welfare handouts. A new era of thrift is overdue!’ Read More

  • Harmacy: The Political Economy of Community Pharmacy in Australia

    David Gadiel | 10 Dec 2008 | PM89

    The regulatory environment that governs community pharmacy has created one of Australia’s most protected industries. It is a beneficiary of government largesse and central regulation and control in state,... Read More

  • Capital Xenophobia II: Foreign Direct Investment in Australia, Sovereign Wealth Funds, and the Rise of State Capitalism

    Stephen Kirchner | 01 Nov 2008 | PM88

    Stephen Kirchner offers a timely analysis of Australia’s foreign investment regime and gives his ideas on how to improve this critical ingredient for Australia's prospective stability, prosperity, and... Read More

  • The Faulty Arguments Behind Australia’s Corporate Tax

    Sinclair Davidson | 01 Oct 2008 | PM87

    This paper investigates Australian corporate tax and highlights a number of issues that deserve greater public awareness. Read More

  • The False Promise of GP Super Clinics: Part 1: Preventive Care

    Jeremy Sammut | 06 May 2008 | PM84

    Dr Jeremy Sammut examines the evidence for preventive care programs to help make the Medicare system sustainable, given the demands of the ageing of Australia’s population, the rising chronic disease... Read More

  • State Tax Reform: Progress and Prospects

    Robert Carling | 10 Mar 2008 | PM82

    This paper analyses the state taxation issues in further detail. After reviewing various reform options, it outlines the key features of what a much improved state tax system would look like. Read More

  • Fiscal Illusion: How Big Government Makes Tax Look Small

    Sinclair Davidson | 21 Jan 2008 | PM81

    Sinclair Davidson in this paper canvasses an issue that cuts across all taxes and all levels of government: fiscal illusion and how it contributes to the growth of the state. Exposing the policies and... Read More

  • Exploring a Carbon Tax for Australia

    John Humphreys | 06 Nov 2007 | PM80

    It is not a foregone conclusion that we need a carbon trading scheme or a carbon tax. Humphreys provides much food for thought on the nature of the optimal policy response and how it can fit in with broader... Read More

  • The Coming Crisis of Medicare: What the Intergenerational Reports should say, but doesn’t, about health and ageing

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 Oct 2007 | PM79

    The demographic and medical realities of the twenty-first century mean that Medicare can no longer provide every citizen with ‘free’ access to all the new medicine.  Without reform, healthcare in... Read More

  • Tax Competition: Much To Do About Very Little

    Sinclair Davidson | 15 Oct 2007 | PM78

    Sinclair Davidson challenges the notion of ‘harmful’ international tax competition. He argues that in the sphere of taxation, as elsewhere, competition should be welcomed as a force for good, not stifled... Read More

  • Tax Earmarking Is It Good Practice?

    Robert Carling | 16 Jul 2007 | PM75

    This Monograph critically analyses the use of earmarked (or ‘hypothecated’) taxes in Australia. Read More

  • The Organisation of Residential Aged Care for an Ageing Population

    Warren Hogan | 02 Jul 2007 | PM76

    At the heart of this new paper is the re-assertion of the need for a system of accommodation bonds. Hogan reiterates that a key factor limiting the supply of extra beds is the high cost of developing new... Read More

  • The Government Giveth and the Government Taketh Away: Tax Welfare Churning and the Case for Welfare State Opt-Outs

    Peter Saunders | 14 May 2007 | PM74

    Australians are more prosperous than ever before, so the number of people needing government assistance should be falling. Yet the welfare state keeps getting bigger. The book explores this paradox. It... Read More

  • State Taxation and Fiscal Federalism: A Blueprint for Further Reform

    Robert Carling | 03 Nov 2006 | PM73

    This paper identifies major structural flaws in our current taxation system and develops a set of radical proposals to put them right. The flaws it identifies lie in the fiscal relation between the Commonwealth... Read More

  • Reform 30/30: Rebuilding Australia’s Tax and Welfare Systems

    John Humphreys | 25 Nov 2005 | PM70

    John Humphreys has a vision of how the tax and welfare systems could be refashioned to break through the dispiriting problems that currently bedevil them. It is for those who reject this vision to put... Read More

  • Are There Any Good Arguments Against Cutting Income Taxes?

    Sinclair Davidson | 22 Aug 2005 | PM69

    Sinclair Davidson explains why, in a sharply ‘progressive’ tax system like ours, tax cuts that appear to favour high earners more than low earners are not only ‘fair’ but are to a large extent... Read More

  • The Costs of Taxation

    Alex Robson | 21 Aug 2005 | PM68

    The question the government needs to ask is not whether it can do good through more spending, but is whether the relentless increase in the personal tax burden needed to finance all this spending is costing... Read More

  • The Road to Work: Freeing Up the Labour Market

    Kayoko Tsumori | 15 Jul 2005 | PM64

    This monograph outlines a framework for a more flexible, deregulated labour market which could strengthen employment, raise living standards and promote workers' wellbeing. Read More

  • How Highly Taxed Are We? The Level and Composition of Taxation in Australia and the OECD

    Peter Burn | 19 Nov 2004 | PM67

    Rather than establishing the case for even higher taxes on earnings, a careful analysis of OECD statistics shows what many Australian workers and businesses have long suspected; we are being squeezed much... Read More

  • The Very Idea of a Flat Tax

    Lauchlan Chipman | 29 Oct 2004 | PM66

    Lauchlan Chipman questions a key principle that has long been embedded in our system of taxation and which most Australians probably accept as being self-evidently the ‘best’ and ‘fairest’ way... Read More

  • Will You Still Vote for Me in the Morning? Why Politicians Aren’t Rushing to Increase Taxes

    Andrew Norton | 16 Jul 2004 | PM65

    Norton’s review of the evidence does not indicate the existence of a population keen to pay more tax. The politicians know this, which is why the Coalition delivered limited tax cuts (as well as a lot... Read More

  • Who Pays the Lion’s Share of Personal Income Tax?

    Sinclair Davidson | 13 Jul 2004 | PM63

    Davidson’s paper performs a service by exposing the absurdities of some of the claims that are being made about who pays what. Higher income earners are paying much more than their ‘fair share’ in... Read More

  • Tax Reform to Make Work Pay

    Peter Saunders | 29 May 2004 | PM62

    We are paying more tax than ever before. Australia’s tax burden is higher than in the United States and Japan, taxes on incomes are as high as in many European countries, and corporate taxation is higher... Read More

  • The Taxation of Shared Family Incomes

    Terry Dwyer | 29 Apr 2004 | PM61

    Terry Dwyer’s paper makes a compelling case for recognising family income sharing for tax purposes, and his arguments and proposals should be central to any future discussion of how to achieve a fairer... Read More

  • The Tax Wilderness How to Restore the Rule of Law

    | 18 Mar 2004 | PM60

    The importance of Geoffrey Walker’s paper is that it shows the price we are paying as a nation for government’s failure to keep its tax demands within reasonable bounds. It is bad enough that escalating... Read More

  • Poverty in Australia: Beyond the Rhetoric

    Peter Saunders | 01 Mar 2004 | PM57

    This report challenges prevailing definitions and measurements of poverty, and calls for an alternative strategy for poverty alleviation based on American-style welfare reform, lower taxation and job creation. Read More

  • The Unchained University

    Andrew Norton | 19 Nov 2002 | PM56

    Australia's universities are not preparing students adequately for their futures.  Report author and higher education expert Andrew Norton argues that universities are failing students in several ways. Read More

  • Sustainable Immigration and Cultural Integration

    Wolfgang Kasper | 15 Aug 2002 | PM55

    Professor Kasper outlines the benefits of past migration. He points out that Australians can be justifiably proud of the successful integration of so many migrants into a decent society, a stable, free... Read More

  • The Art of Corporate Governance: a return to first principles

    Samuel Gregg | 23 Jun 2002 | PM51

    Calls for big business to be more ‘ethical’ and ‘socially responsible’ have never been louder, nor more misguided.  Samuel Gregg argues these calls come at a time ‘when the public understanding... Read More

  • Taxing the family : Australia's forgotten people in the income spectrum

    Lucy Sullivan | 22 Aug 2001 | PM50

    Over the last two decades, the tax burden has shifted from taxpayers without to taxpayers with dependent children.  While social security expenditure on welfare dependency has risen, spending on family... Read More

  • Behavioural Poverty

    Lucy Sullivan | 09 Apr 2000 | PM45

    The welfare debate is bedeviled by the failure to distinguish behavioural from financial poverty. The minimum income available to families on welfare are commensurate with those of families on average... Read More

  • Reforming Central Banking

    Stephen Kirchner | 01 Mar 1997 | PM36

    This book is about which monetary institutions and monetary regimes are most likely to promote price stability. Read More

  • Working Youth:Tackling Australian Youth Unemployment

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 01 May 1996 | PM34

    Working Youth proposes reforms to the labour market and educationthat would begin the task of creating jobs for Australia's young people. Read More

  • Corporate Control, Economic Efficiency and Shareholder Justice

    Peter Dodd and R.R Officer | 18 May 1986 | PM9

    This book is an examination of the theoretical background and economics of the market for corporate control. Read More

  • Private Correspondence: Competition or Monolopy in Australia's Postal Services?

    Robert Albon | 18 Oct 1985 | PM7

    Dr Albon believes that the most important and practical way to improve postal services to the public is to allow competition. Read More

  • Capital Xenophobia: Australia's Controls of Foreign Investment

    Wolfgang Kasper | 18 Dec 1984 | PM6

    An early study by the CIS which supported the lifting of controls on  foreign investment in Australia. Read More

  • The Resource Rent Tax. A Penality of Risk Taking

    John Bowers and Ray Ball | 16 Aug 1983 | PM5

    We see no evidence that the Australian resources industries are not competitive. Therefore if the RRT were a true resources rent tax, with the Government subsidising negative economic rents as well as... Read More

  • Lessons from the Ord

    B.R. Davidson | 01 Jan 1982 | PM2

    The Ord Scheme, indeed, offers ample ammunition for those who take the extreme view that responsibility is directly proportional to the taxing power. Certainly even those who hold a less extreme position... Read More

  • On Buying a Job: The Regulation of a Taxicab in Canberra

    Peter Swan | 12 Dec 1979 | PM1

    Throughout the world, the taxi industry attracts government regulation. Government agencies determine what vehicles may be used, who is eligible to receive a driver's oran owner's licence, where and how... Read More