Economic Policy

The Centre for Independent Studies is guided by the philosophy of free markets and individual responsibility. Our economic policy research centres on ideas that will strengthen Australia’s economy for the future and challenge the reach of big government. With ongoing uncertainty for economies around the world, the CIS’ research into financial and monetary issues is more vital than ever in helping shape public policy.

Continuing economic reform is desperately needed in Australia, and that is why our TARGET30 program seeks to reduce waste in government and in the public sector, and to bring government spending under control.

For more information on our economic research, please proceed to:

Featured Publication


From Reform to Retreat: 30 Years of Australian Fiscal Policy
Robert Carling
10 December 2017 | OP161

Australia entered an era of economic reform in the mid-1980s as policymakers resolved to liberalise the country’s economy and strengthen its public finances. Fiscal reform, which is the subject of this paper, was an important part of the process. These reforms included management of the…

UBI – Universal Basic Income is an Unbelievably Bad Idea
Simon Cowan
05 November 2017 | RR32

The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), paid by the government to its citizens with few restrictions, has been around for a long time. One of the main justifications for introducing a UBI is the impending changes to the labour market as a result…

Medi-Mess: Rational Federalism and Patient Cost-Sharing for Public Hospital Sustainability in Australia
David Gadiel, Jeremy Sammut
16 July 2017 | RR30

The latest attempt to ‘end the blame game’ between the state and federal governments over health funding was scuttled after state premiers rejected Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘tax swap’ federalism reform proposal at the April 2016 COAG meeting.  The intransigence of the states —and the…

Industrial Relations in Australia: a Handbrake on Prosperity
John Slater
09 July 2017 | OP157

Since the defeat of the Howard Government, industrial relations has come to be seen as the third rail of Australian politics. However, Australia faces a number of major demographic and technological challenges that require much more than piecemeal changes to penalty rates. In order to…

The Major Bank Levy: We’re all going to be hit
Michael Potter
19 June 2017 | RR29

The major bank levy was proposed in the 2017–18 Budget. The levy has numerous flaws including: The costs of the levy will likely be passed on as higher interest rates for mortgages and business loans, harming households and business investment which is very weak. The…

Media & Commentary

Another week, another tax grab
Robert Carling
16 March 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

It was entirely predictable that the Shorten government-in-waiting would eventually get around to cancelling the refundable status of dividend franking credits. After all, they have big spending promises to pay…

Franking credits raid just another piecemeal revenue grab
Robert Carling
14 March 2018 | The Australian Financial Review

It was entirely predictable that Labor in opposition or in government would eventually get around to withdrawing the refundable status of dividend franking credits. After all, in government they would…

Private sector will build Indigenous construction industry
Charles Jacobs
02 March 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

The government’s new  $20 million program to help Indigenous construction businesses stump up the hefty bonds often required to guarantee project delivery creates a significant dilemma. While the announcement is…

Producers vs consumers
Eugenie Joseph
23 February 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

Too often, economists inadvertently fall into the trap of promoting the interests of producers, rather than the welfare of consumers. Adam Smith once wrote, “The interest of the producer ought…

Economics in One Lesson
Matthew O’Donnell
23 February 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

Just over 70 years ago, economist Henry Hazlitt wrote an economics textbook, Economics in One Lesson, which is still regarded as one of the best introductory economic texts available to…