Simon Cowan

Research Director & TARGET30 Director

Simon Cowan

Expertise: Welfare and retirement incomes policy, Government budgets and regulation.

Simon Cowan is a Research Fellow in the economics program, and Director of the CIS TARGET30 program that aims to reduce government spending to less than 30% of GDP over the next 10 years. He is a leading media commentator on policy and politics, frequently appearing on the Sky network, ABC television and commercial radio. He has also written on government industry policy, defence and regulation and appeared before the Australian Senate discussing the budget and health policy. 

He co-authored the leading CIS research report on pensions and retirement policy, released in 2015, The Age Old Problem of Old Age: Fixing the Pension.


Media & Commentary

  • The benefits of making super voluntary might be substantial 08 December 2018 | The Sydney Morning Herald
    It is becoming ever more difficult to avoid the conclusion that Australia’s superannuation system has long relied on those funding it — both taxpayers and savers — being ignorant of what is happening to their money. Thankfully, the uncompetitively high…
    It is becoming ever more difficult to avoid the conclusion that Australia’s superannuation system has long relied on those funding it — both taxpayers and savers — being ignorant of what is happening to their money. Thankfully, the uncompetitively high…
    read more
  • Budget surplus? 30 November 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre
    The government has announced that the next Budget will deliver a surplus: the first in more than a decade. And unlike the “four years of surpluses” Wayne Swan announced in 2012, there is a fair chance the Budget will actually…
    The government has announced that the next Budget will deliver a surplus: the first in more than a decade. And unlike the “four years of surpluses” Wayne Swan announced in 2012, there is a fair chance the Budget will actually…
    read more
  • Why the ABC’s plans for unrestrained growth diminish the entire sector 29 November 2018 | Crikey
    It is something of an article of faith on the right of politics that the greatest problem with the ABC is its bias against the right of politics generally, and the conservative wing of the right in particular. Yet there…
    It is something of an article of faith on the right of politics that the greatest problem with the ABC is its bias against the right of politics generally, and the conservative wing of the right in particular. Yet there…
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  • Should the government have control over the ABC's budget? 24 November 2018
    One unfortunate trait of the past five years of Coalition government has been its tendency to lose debates decisively over their funding decisions. Ever since the AMA thoroughly routed the government over the Medicare co-payment issue, opponents have had a blueprint to…
    One unfortunate trait of the past five years of Coalition government has been its tendency to lose debates decisively over their funding decisions. Ever since the AMA thoroughly routed the government over the Medicare co-payment issue, opponents have had a blueprint to…
    read more
  • Don't double down on compulsory super 10 November 2018 | The Sydney Morning Herald
    Our retirement system is full of funny little anomalies, like the anonymity of the government’s generous reverse mortgage scheme for pensioners. Another anomaly is that, despite the scramble for more revenue on both sides of politics, and the constant tinkering…
    Our retirement system is full of funny little anomalies, like the anonymity of the government’s generous reverse mortgage scheme for pensioners. Another anomaly is that, despite the scramble for more revenue on both sides of politics, and the constant tinkering…
    read more

Publications

  • Defending the Dual Citizen Ban 31 May 2018 | PP3
    The High Court has rightfully resisted calls to read subjective elements into section 44(i) in order to keep the current crop of ineligible politicians in their seats. This interpretation is seen as harsh, but is based on sound legal principle and a common sense interpretation of the wording in the…...
    The High Court has rightfully resisted calls to read subjective elements into section 44(i) in order to keep the current crop of ineligible politicians in their seats. This interpretation is seen as harsh, but is based on sound legal principle and a common sense interpretation of the wording in the…
    READ MORE
  • Let Money Speak 25 April 2018 | PP2
    The government’s proposal to ban foreign donations and limit political contributions from charities is a flawed and rash proposal that would undermine democracy. It purports to ‘protect’ the public from unsubstantiated threats to democracy from foreign donations and unregulated contributions to public debate. It is not clear that either of…...
    The government’s proposal to ban foreign donations and limit political contributions from charities is a flawed and rash proposal that would undermine democracy. It purports to ‘protect’ the public from unsubstantiated threats to democracy from foreign donations and unregulated contributions to public debate. It is not clear that either of…
    READ MORE
  • UBI – Universal Basic Income is an Unbelievably Bad Idea 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 of technology, with advocates arguing…...
    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 of technology, with advocates arguing…
    READ MORE
  • Welfare reform beyond decades of dependence, ‘dole bludgers’ and ‘double dipping’ 31 May 2017 | OP156
    Recent attempts to reform welfare have focused on the wrong elements of the system. In some cases, advocating tightening eligibility for unemployment benefits and single mother payments while simultaneously increasing the scope and cost of family benefits and pension payments. Blaming ‘dole bludgers’ will never result in sustainable welfare reform.…...
    Recent attempts to reform welfare have focused on the wrong elements of the system. In some cases, advocating tightening eligibility for unemployment benefits and single mother payments while simultaneously increasing the scope and cost of family benefits and pension payments. Blaming ‘dole bludgers’ will never result in sustainable welfare reform.…
    READ MORE
  • The myths of the generational bargain 01 March 2016 | Research Report 10
    There has been a marked growth in pension cost and cohort. The percentage of people of retirement age has risen from less than 2% to almost 11% between 1911 and 2011, while the percentage of people receiving the pension has increased from around 30% to 75%. This has been driven…...
    There has been a marked growth in pension cost and cohort. The percentage of people of retirement age has risen from less than 2% to almost 11% between 1911 and 2011, while the percentage of people receiving the pension has increased from around 30% to 75%. This has been driven…
    READ MORE