Events - The Centre for Independent Studies
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The Centre for Independent Studies strongly believes in the importance of events to facilitate public engagement and foster debate. After all, to quote the great John Stuart Mill, “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.” From lectures to conferences, book launches and more we host a wide range of events you can get involved in.

Our events program focuses on marketing our research, responding to current affairs, and has highlighted speakers from around the world. We run in-person events from our in-house space on Macquarie St in Sydney, while also intermittently hosting events in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. These events are a great forum to see us in action, meet like-minded people and be challenged by lively debate. In addition to in-person events, we focus on producing videos, podcasts, and webinars that you can watch anytime.

  • Visit our upcoming events page for a full listing of our upcoming events.
  • Visit our podcasts page or listen via your favourite podcasting app. Just search for Centre for Independent Studies on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.
  • Visit our videos page or watch on the CISAus YouTube channel.

John Bonython Lecture Series

The John Bonython Lecture series began in 1984 to honour the founding Chairman of the Board of Trustees and has had a tremendous impact on fostering debate, and injecting new ideas into the broader public-policy discourse. This annual gala event gathers CIS supporters, members and friends and provides the opportunity to honour our commitment to the core principles for which we stand.

Upcoming Lecturers

Stay tuned. Our 2024 annual gala event is yet to be announced.

2023 Jason Riley | The Soul of Black Conservatism

2022 Ambassador John Bolton | The U.S. vs the China-Russia entente

2019 Lionel Shriver | Creativity in an Age of Constraint

2018 Daniel Hannan | Individualism and the Paradox of Affirmative Action

2016 Ayaan Hirsi Ali | Liberal Democracies in an Era of Jihad and Mass Migration

2014 David Kilcullen | Islamism and the Threat to Liberal Ideas

2013 Deidre McCloskey | Cautiously Optimistic: Bourgeois Dignity & Global Prosperity

2012 Charles Murray | Capitalism and Virtue: Reaffirming Old Truths

2011 Frank Furedi | Leadership, Liberty and the Crisis of Authority

2010 Niall Ferguson | Empires on the Edge of Chaos

2009 P.J. O’Rourke | Invisible Hand versus Visible Fist: Securing the Future Wealth of Nations. Excerpts: The Ten Commandments Charming Leftists  What would Adam Smith say?

2007 Lawrence Mead | Anglo Primacy at the End of History: The Deep Roots of Power

2006 Arthur Herman | History as the Story of Liberty: A Globalised Western Civilisation

2005 Johan Norberg | The Wealth of Generations: Capitalism and the Belief in the Future

2004 Robert Kagan | The Crisis of Legitimacy: America and the World

2003 Josef Joffe | Gulliver Unbound: Can America Rule the World?

2002 Francis Fukuyama | Has History Restarted Since September 11?

2001 Lauchlan Chipman | What Governments Can’t Know: The Knowledge Economy and the Market

2000 Anne Krueger | Trading Phobias: Governments, NGOs and the Multilateral System

1999 Jerry Jordan | The End of Chaos? Global Markets in the Information Era

1998 Antonio Martino | The Modern Mask of Socialism

1997 James Q. Wilson | The Morality of Capitalism and video of event.

1996 Ray Ball | Institutions of Innovation and Prosperity

1995 Brigette Berger | The Social Roots of Prosperity

1994 Rupert Murdoch | The Century of Networking

1993 Mario Vargas Llosa | Questions of Conquest and Culture

1992 Kenneth R. Minogue | How Much Justice Does A Society Need?

1991 Vaclav Klaus | Dismantling Socialism: A Preliminary Report

1990 James Buchanan | Socialism is Dead But Leviathan Lives On

1989 Peter T. Bauer | Economic Control or Economic Development?

1988 Thomas Sowell | Endangered Freedom

1987 Shirley Robin Letwin | Law and Liberty

1986 Ralph Harris | The Enemies of Progress

1985 Ronald Max Hartwell | The Anti-Capitalist Mentality: Post Mortem for an Ideology

1984 Israel Kirzner | The Role of the Entrepreneur in the Economic System


Named in honour of noted economist and freedom advocate, Ronald Max Hartwell. Each year, CIS hosts an international scholar for a month-long residency. In 2014, in honour of Max’s legacy, CIS introduced the Scholar-in-Residence program. Since then, we have showcased scholars from the US, UK and Canada. Max Hartwell (1921–2009) was an Australian-born economic historian of the British Industrial Revolution.

Upcoming Scholars

This will be announced shortly.

Past Scholars

Alice Han (November 2022) Alice Han holds an AB in history and economics from Harvard and a MA in East Asian Studies from Stanford with a focus on Chinese political economy and fintech. She previously worked as research assistant to Ambassador Nicholas Burns, former U.S. Under Secretary of State and current U.S. Ambassador to China, at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center (2014-2016) and to Niall Ferguson at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University (2016-2020). Her Harvard senior thesis on Cold War Sino-French relations won the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize. Her academic work and media publications on China and fintech have been published by Tsinghua University, the Hoover Institution, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy. She is the director of China for global macroeconomic and geopolitical advisory firm Greenmantle. She specializes in Chinese macro and political economy in addition to global fintech and crypto research.

James Mann (February 2023) James Mann is a Washington-based author who has written a series of award-winning books about American foreign policy and about China. He is a former newspaper reporter, foreign correspondent and columnist who wrote for more than twenty years for the Los Angeles Times. He is now an author-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Mann’s best-known work is Rise of the Vulcans: A History of Bush’s War Cabinet.

Doug Bandow (February 2020). A Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute who specialises in foreign policy and civil liberties, Doug writes regularly for publications such as Fortune magazine, National Interest, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times.

Anastasia Lin (August 2019). An actress and former Miss World Canada 2015, Anastasia is the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Ambassador for China policy and a senior fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.

James Bartholomew (October 2018). A journalist and author with a particular interest in the harm welfare states can do to nations, he has been a leader-writer for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail and has written for many other publications including The Spectator.

Kay Hymowitz (March 2017). Kay is the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. She writes extensively on childhood, family issues, poverty, and cultural change in America.

Theodore Dalrymple (April 2016). Former medical doctor Anthony Daniels, more popularly known by his pen name Theodore Dalrymple, has been a regular columnist with The Spectator (UK) and Quadrant. He is the author of Life at the Bottom.

Tom G. Palmer (April 2015). Tom is a libertarian author and theorist, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, and Vice President for International Programs at the Atlas Network. He is the author of Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice and editor of The Morality of Capitalism, After the Welfare State and many other publications.

Brendan O’Neill (March 2014). Brendan is editor of spiked online, the magazine that wants to make history as well as report it, and is a columnist for The Big Issue in London and for The Australian. He is author of A Duty to Offend and Anti-Woke.

Student Conferences          Applications will open soon!

A condensed but comprehensive course in classical liberal philosophy, this longstanding conference is aimed at providing students with an empowering forum for testing and challenging their ideas about freedom and individual liberty. Liberty and Society is a program designed for undergraduates, recent graduates, and postgraduates fostering an environment where intellectual inquiry thrives. It calls for those who are ready to question the standard answers they are getting regarding social, political, and economic issues.

We are at an age where the continuity of a free society and individual liberalism depends on the intellect of its youth. Through our Liberty & Society (L&S) Student Program, CIS aims to identify, nurture and support young people who have an interest in exploring the foundations of a free society. Our goal is to provide the participants with an experience that goes beyond the passive attendance; it is an opportunity to actively contribute to and shape dialogues that delve into the heart of contemporary issues – as groundwork to prepare individuals who will lead course of public policy.

The conference is a great opportunity for university students to meet, debate and network with other like-minded people, many of whom stay engaged in our network and form part of our large L&S alumnus. We foster real debate on topics such as individual freedom, private property, limited government, and free trade.

For many years, L&S has provided a rare forum for young people who may be questioning consensus views on social, political, and economic issues, with the live-in weekend conference exploring the world from a classical liberal perspective. Students attend sessions and discussions on economics, political thought, law, and public policy over the weekend, interspersed with arguments about foreign policy, education and social policy.

Consilium Conferences           Register your interest

From its humble beginnings in 2000, Consilium has grown to become one of Australia’s most prestigious conferences. At Consilium, speakers and delegates have the unique experience of contributing meaningfully to the discussion. Consilium promotes free choice, individual liberty, defends cultural freedom, and the open exchange of ideas which exemplifies the mission of the CIS.

Consilium is designed as a retreat to facilitate debate, discussion and networking whilst offering intellectually rigorous content and broad perspectives. Over three days, leaders of business, politics, academia and the wider community are drawn together for intensive deliberation on major economic, social, cultural and geopolitical issues facing Australia.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Consilium or attending the conference, please visit to register your interest.