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.


Featured Publication

  • 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…...
    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…
    READ MORE

Media & Commentary

  • Claims of tax gender bias are absurd 09 June 2018 | SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
    The sheer absurdity of claims that the Turnbull government’s income tax cuts are gender biased will hopefully represent the apex of the current obsession with redistributive fairness. The fact that men might receive a larger portion of the benefit of…
    The sheer absurdity of claims that the Turnbull government’s income tax cuts are gender biased will hopefully represent the apex of the current obsession with redistributive fairness. The fact that men might receive a larger portion of the benefit of…
    read more
  • Minor parties, Major problems 08 June 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre
    Liberal Democrat’s Senator David Leyonhjelm CIS leadership lunch speech this week revealed the challenges of life on the crossbench. He spoke of the role of minor parties, and his belief they are an important part of democracy in Australia. It…
    Liberal Democrat’s Senator David Leyonhjelm CIS leadership lunch speech this week revealed the challenges of life on the crossbench. He spoke of the role of minor parties, and his belief they are an important part of democracy in Australia. It…
    read more
  • New CIS research: No reason to reform S44 31 May 2018 | MEDIA RELEASE
    There is no reason to reform section 44(i) of the Constitution, a policy paper published today by the Centre for Independent Studies finds. In his paper, Defending the Dual Citizen Ban, author and former lawyer Simon Cowan outlines why the…
    There is no reason to reform section 44(i) of the Constitution, a policy paper published today by the Centre for Independent Studies finds. In his paper, Defending the Dual Citizen Ban, author and former lawyer Simon Cowan outlines why the…
    read more
  • Personal responsibility, not regulation, will fix rogue banks 26 May 2018 | The Sydney Morning Herald
    A clear narrative is emerging from the Banking Royal Commission that the banking industry’s only problem was that its unregulated ‘wild west’ culture allowed for misbehaviour. No blame should apparently fall on the supposedly poor, under-powered regulator: they valiantly toiled…
    A clear narrative is emerging from the Banking Royal Commission that the banking industry’s only problem was that its unregulated ‘wild west’ culture allowed for misbehaviour. No blame should apparently fall on the supposedly poor, under-powered regulator: they valiantly toiled…
    read more
  • Tax cuts story may be overwhelmed 12 May 2018 | Canberra Times
    It seems the fate of the Abbott/Turnbull Coalition governments to have an uphill fight selling their budgets. For the first time in a number of years the Treasurer has a positive story to tell the electorate, a budget with tax…
    It seems the fate of the Abbott/Turnbull Coalition governments to have an uphill fight selling their budgets. For the first time in a number of years the Treasurer has a positive story to tell the electorate, a budget with tax…
    read more

Publications

  • 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
  • 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