About – The Centre for Independent Studies


2011-JBL-2 policy-books jen-buckingham-sbs-apr14 ls-about-2

Our Mission

The Centre for Independent Studies promotes free choice and individual liberty, and defends cultural freedom and the open exchange of ideas.


Research and Activities

Since 1976, the CIS has produced valuable research that has shaped and influenced public policy. Our overall research agenda is set by our Executive Director, in consultation with the research staff, and the CIS Academic Advisory Council.

The CIS runs an extensive range of events including lectures, forums and conferences.  We seek to engage with the general public, business, media, academics, policymakers and politicians across the political spectrum.

As an independent think tank, we do not undertake any research on request.

A word from our Executive Director

The coronavirus pandemic is a grave moment in human history. But it should not prove to be so pivotal it changes society profoundly and permanently.

Once the main threat has passed, restoring the liberty of citizens to go where they wish on public property — when they wish, and with whom they wish — may prove the least of the problems for societies that have chosen draconian measures to combat the spread of the disease. It will be far more difficult for governments to remove wage subsidies, reduce debt and restabilise economies.

On April 16, Prime Minister Scott Morrison signalled that after the immediate pandemic-induced crisis, a market-oriented reform agenda is needed to help the economy rebound and drive investment for tomorrow’s prosperity. A growth agenda that is provided not by politicians throwing money at favoured sectors, but by the private sector being freed to invest by being taxed and regulated less.

This is precisely what CIS has been advocating for several years. We are delighted that Canberra plans to use the crisis as a licence to implement economic reforms to fire up entrepreneurial energy and get the market economy moving once the coronavirus passes.

Beyond addressing short-term hardship and calming the panic, what should Canberra ultimately do? Simply put, boost business and public confidence with a wide-ranging structural agenda to improve the investment climate and liberate risk-taking.

CIS is working on a project, From Pandemic to Prosperity, that will recommend various policies for the post-coronavirus era: lower taxes, slash excessive regulatory red tape, reduce adversarial workplace regulation, loosen infrastructure bottlenecks, teach children basic skills essential for higher learning, fix the state-based payroll tax duties and stamp duties on property and end our compulsory retirement saving system.

We will also seek to identify areas where governments have cut a lot of red tape and regulations during the pandemic, and why they should not return once the crisis passes.

Our proposals may be controversial; but they would improve the incentives to work, lift productivity, spur a revival in business confidence and competitiveness and strengthen long-term growth and living standards.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, CIS will hold dear to our age-old principles: governments can’t create optimism, wealth and jobs; only the private sector can do it. Innovation and progress spring not from bureaucracy but from the brilliance of individuals. And our civil society should be vibrant enough to tolerate all people of whatever ethnic, gender or religious persuasion.

With your support, the CIS will continue to champion a free, open and prosperous future — one that we can bequeath to our children and grandchildren with great pride and confidence. To help back this ongoing work, click here.

Watch my video on the challenges we face ahead, and how CIS will focus on policy to help Australia emerge from this crisis in a stronger and freer position.

Tom Switzer, 
Executive Director
The Centre for Independent Studies