Barry Maley

Senior Fellow

Barry Maley

Expertise: Family, social policy, welfare state, Australian divorce law

Barry’s research primarily focuses on social policy with particular attention to family and taxation. Other areas of interest include cultural change, the British and Continental Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, the scope and limits of government, ethics, and civil society.  His most recent publication is Magna Carta: Talisman of Liberty.

Barry joined the Centre in 1989 after retiring as Senior Lecturer in Behavioural Sciences, University of New South Wales. While he was teaching at UNSW, Barry contributed a chapter titled ‘The Entrepreneurial Spirit’ to The Entrepreneur in Society (CIS, 1983). Since then, he has written numerous books and policy monographs, including Family & Marriage in Australia (2001), Divorce Law and the Future of Marriage (2003), and Family on the Edge (2009).

Over the last 20 years or so, Barry has addressed numerous groups and conferences about his work and published in excess of 150 opinion pieces in all major newspapers on a wide variety of topics. He was a Eureka Prize finalist in the field of ‘Ethics’ for his book Divorce Law and the Future of Marriage (2003). He has been appointed to several professional advisory committees of the federal government – most recently the Australian Health Ethics Committee, 2006–08.


Featured Publication

  • The High Court, Democracy and Same Sex Marriage 19 July 2016 | OP147
    The High Court in 2013 overturned the understanding of marriage in the Marriage Act 1961 as an exclusive, voluntary, heterosexual union for life, and that the Constitution therefore allowed the introduction of same sex marriage if the Parliament so decided.…...
    The High Court in 2013 overturned the understanding of marriage in the Marriage Act 1961 as an exclusive, voluntary, heterosexual union for life, and that the Constitution therefore allowed the introduction of same sex marriage if the Parliament so decided.…
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Media & Commentary

  • Doing the right thing 10 April 2018 | The Spectator: Flat White
    As calm settles over the cricket ball-tampering crisis and the extraordinary public reaction to it, and as the game’s authorities look to the future, we might ask what has been the meaning of it all. Why so many words, such…
    As calm settles over the cricket ball-tampering crisis and the extraordinary public reaction to it, and as the game’s authorities look to the future, we might ask what has been the meaning of it all. Why so many words, such…
    read more
  • Marriage a la mode and how infidelity became everyday 03 March 2018 | THE SPECTATOR: FLAT WHITE
    Marriage as an institution has changed greatly since the introduction of no-fault divorce in 1975. Quite apart from the recent advent of same-sex marriage, the facts of heterosexual marriage reveal a fourfold increase in divorce, a massive retreat from marriage…
    Marriage as an institution has changed greatly since the introduction of no-fault divorce in 1975. Quite apart from the recent advent of same-sex marriage, the facts of heterosexual marriage reveal a fourfold increase in divorce, a massive retreat from marriage…
    read more
  • Michael Kirby underestimates Australians on marriage equality 09 August 2016 | Spectator Flat White
    Michael Kirby’s anxiety to see same-sex marriage quickly legalised by Parliament reveals a pessimistic view of democracy and the capacity of Australians to make sound judgements about their government and their Constitution. This is alarming, but perhaps not surprising, in…
    Michael Kirby’s anxiety to see same-sex marriage quickly legalised by Parliament reveals a pessimistic view of democracy and the capacity of Australians to make sound judgements about their government and their Constitution. This is alarming, but perhaps not surprising, in…
    read more
  • Marriage deserves a referendum, not a quickie plebiscite 26 July 2016 | The Australian
    Australians are being short-changed and rushed to judgment on same-sex marriage: short-changed because their Constitution has been misinterpreted, and rushed because the politicians want to get it approved by a plebiscite and finished with as quickly as possible. Very few…
    Australians are being short-changed and rushed to judgment on same-sex marriage: short-changed because their Constitution has been misinterpreted, and rushed because the politicians want to get it approved by a plebiscite and finished with as quickly as possible. Very few…
    read more
  • Beyond Innovation 13 February 2016 | The Spectator
    In economically sluggish and uncertain times it is not surprising that our federal politicians should offer us new ideas to get things moving again. So they search for remedies that will promise a brighter future. One solution this time is…
    In economically sluggish and uncertain times it is not surprising that our federal politicians should offer us new ideas to get things moving again. So they search for remedies that will promise a brighter future. One solution this time is…
    read more

Publications

  • Submission to the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into Personal Choice and Community Impacts 2015 11 August 2015 | CIS Submission
    The CIS submission into the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry proposed two tightly targeted areas be changed: 1. That the Department of Health withdraw all financial support for the Health Star Rating system, including explanatory websites, public awareness campaigns, and studies of its effectiveness. 2. That the government restore the tax on ready-to-drink…...
    The CIS submission into the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry proposed two tightly targeted areas be changed: 1. That the Department of Health withdraw all financial support for the Health Star Rating system, including explanatory websites, public awareness campaigns, and studies of its effectiveness. 2. That the government restore the tax on ready-to-drink…
    READ MORE
  • Magna Carta: Talisman of Liberty 26 June 2015 | OP142
    Eight hundred years ago, in 1215, an English king was confronted by rebellious barons – the great landholders of England – who demanded that his royal powers be curbed in favour of their liberties. Their Magna Carta (or ‘Great Charter’) listed their proposals. That singular event became the foundation of…...
    Eight hundred years ago, in 1215, an English king was confronted by rebellious barons – the great landholders of England – who demanded that his royal powers be curbed in favour of their liberties. Their Magna Carta (or ‘Great Charter’) listed their proposals. That singular event became the foundation of…
    READ MORE
  • Family on the Edge: Stability and Fertility in Prosperity and Recession 16 September 2009 | PM101
    Over the last 40 years or so, there have been great changes in the Australian family system, especially in the importance of marriage as a permanent relationship and, hence, the best environment within which children may be raised to maturity. De facto or cohabiting relationships, along with couples in a…...
    Over the last 40 years or so, there have been great changes in the Australian family system, especially in the importance of marriage as a permanent relationship and, hence, the best environment within which children may be raised to maturity. De facto or cohabiting relationships, along with couples in a…
    READ MORE
  • Divorce Law and the Future of Marriage 02 March 2004 | PM58
    No-fault divorce law has precipitated marital instability in Australia, discouraging people from marrying, staying together, acting to support their spouses and having children. According to respected social commentator Barry Maley, divorce law erodes confidence in marriage by creating opportunities for spouses to exploit each other. In his new book, Divorce…...
    No-fault divorce law has precipitated marital instability in Australia, discouraging people from marrying, staying together, acting to support their spouses and having children. According to respected social commentator Barry Maley, divorce law erodes confidence in marriage by creating opportunities for spouses to exploit each other. In his new book, Divorce…
    READ MORE
  • Reforming Divorce Law 01 September 2003 | IA39
    Marriage has evolved from a relatively stable bond to a highly uncertain one. High divorce rates, the substitution of cohabitation for marriage, later ages at marriage, falling fertility and the ill effects of family instability on children and adults have occurred in conjunction with social and economic changes, including changes…...
    Marriage has evolved from a relatively stable bond to a highly uncertain one. High divorce rates, the substitution of cohabitation for marriage, later ages at marriage, falling fertility and the ill effects of family instability on children and adults have occurred in conjunction with social and economic changes, including changes…
    READ MORE