Simon Cowan

Research Manager & TARGET30 Director

Simon Cowan

Expertise: Government industry policy, car industry 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

  • 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…...
    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…
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Media & Commentary

  • The fiscal nuclear option: pass unfunded tax cuts and leave the mess for Labor 20 January 2018 | THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
    The Turnbull government is reportedly considering tax cuts in the next budget. Given the deficit, they are expected to be modest. While this would be prudent fiscal management, there is an argument for the government to take a much bolder,…
    The Turnbull government is reportedly considering tax cuts in the next budget. Given the deficit, they are expected to be modest. While this would be prudent fiscal management, there is an argument for the government to take a much bolder,…
    read more
  • It’s not time for a republic 12 January 2018 | IDEAS@THECENTRE
    The Australian Republican Movement has identified few tangible benefits from making a constitutional change. It has neither a model to advocate for, nor any clear rationale for making the change.
    The Australian Republican Movement has identified few tangible benefits from making a constitutional change. It has neither a model to advocate for, nor any clear rationale for making the change.
    read more
  • Republican misstep 06 January 2018 | CANBERRA TIMES
    After mistakenly opening the door earlier this week to the idea of a quick postal survey on Australia becoming a republic, the Prime Minister has rightfully shot down hope. This comes after former Prime Minister Paul Keating delivered a trademark…
    After mistakenly opening the door earlier this week to the idea of a quick postal survey on Australia becoming a republic, the Prime Minister has rightfully shot down hope. This comes after former Prime Minister Paul Keating delivered a trademark…
    read more
  • Australia's political winners and losers of a year of uncertainty 23 December 2017 | CANBERRA TIMES
    As 2017 began with the resignation of a Cabinet Minister, you would have been forgiven for thinking that might have been a defining moment of the political year. Forgiven, but wrong all the same. 2017 revealed more of how the…
    As 2017 began with the resignation of a Cabinet Minister, you would have been forgiven for thinking that might have been a defining moment of the political year. Forgiven, but wrong all the same. 2017 revealed more of how the…
    read more
  • Blaming High Court for citizenship debacle simply deepens public's mistrust 09 December 2017 | Canberra Times
    As citizenship dramas spread through the parliament like flu through a public transport system, many are searching for someone to blame. I mean, besides themselves or their preferred party’s deficient systems of course — after all those attracted to politics…
    As citizenship dramas spread through the parliament like flu through a public transport system, many are searching for someone to blame. I mean, besides themselves or their preferred party’s deficient systems of course — after all those attracted to politics…
    read more

Publications

  • 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
  • Principles and recommendations for tax reform - CIS submission National Reform Summit 27 August 2015 | CIS Submission
    The slant towards cutting taxes before 2010 was welcome, but for such an approach to return in the foreseeable future, the growth of government spending will have to be curbed and the size of government as a share of GDP reduced. Although tax reform may be pursued independently of the…...
    The slant towards cutting taxes before 2010 was welcome, but for such an approach to return in the foreseeable future, the growth of government spending will have to be curbed and the size of government as a share of GDP reduced. Although tax reform may be pursued independently of the…
    READ MORE
  • Principles and recommendations for tax reform - CIS submission National Reform Summit 30 July 2015 | The centre for Independent Studies
    The slant towards cutting taxes before 2010 was welcome, but for such an approach to return in the foreseeable future, the growth of government spending will have to be curbed and the size of government as a share of GDP reduced. Although tax reform may be pursued independently of the…...
    The slant towards cutting taxes before 2010 was welcome, but for such an approach to return in the foreseeable future, the growth of government spending will have to be curbed and the size of government as a share of GDP reduced. Although tax reform may be pursued independently of the…
    READ MORE