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

  • Religious freedom not under threat, but we should debate limits 13 October 2018 | The Sydney Morning Herald
    The immediate eruption of controversy over the selective leaking of recommendations from the Ruddock report on religious freedom shows both why the government has sought to avoid releasing the report, and just how big the issue of religious freedom could…
    The immediate eruption of controversy over the selective leaking of recommendations from the Ruddock report on religious freedom shows both why the government has sought to avoid releasing the report, and just how big the issue of religious freedom could…
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  • Does inequality matter? 05 October 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre
    This week we hosted an interesting discussion on inequality (see video). CIS Senior Fellow Robert Carling argued inequality is actually an integral part of a market economy, because the incentive of massive wealth drives and rewards innovation and risk taking.…
    This week we hosted an interesting discussion on inequality (see video). CIS Senior Fellow Robert Carling argued inequality is actually an integral part of a market economy, because the incentive of massive wealth drives and rewards innovation and risk taking.…
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  • Partisan infection is spreading to Australia 29 September 2018 | The Sydney Morning Herald
    There are lessons for Australia in the extraordinary scenes surrounding the confirmation hearing of US President Donald Trump’s proposed Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. There is no question that this situation says much about how not to handle sexual-assault allegations…
    There are lessons for Australia in the extraordinary scenes surrounding the confirmation hearing of US President Donald Trump’s proposed Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. There is no question that this situation says much about how not to handle sexual-assault allegations…
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  • An economic narrative for re-election 15 September 2018 | The Sydney Morning Herald
    When he rolled Tony Abbott for the Prime Ministership, one reason Malcolm Turnbull gave was that he thought he could provide better economic leadership. While history will judge the truth of that statement, new Prime Minister Scott Morrison has undoubtedly…
    When he rolled Tony Abbott for the Prime Ministership, one reason Malcolm Turnbull gave was that he thought he could provide better economic leadership. While history will judge the truth of that statement, new Prime Minister Scott Morrison has undoubtedly…
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  • Inequality isn't Australia's issue - poverty should be our focus 01 September 2018 | The Sydney Morning Herald
    Purveyors of doom were dealt a blow this week when the Productivity Commission neatly punctured the inequality debate with some long-needed facts. It found that, while overall income inequality has risen slightly over the past three-plus decades, social mobility remains…
    Purveyors of doom were dealt a blow this week when the Productivity Commission neatly punctured the inequality debate with some long-needed facts. It found that, while overall income inequality has risen slightly over the past three-plus decades, social mobility remains…
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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…
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  • 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…
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  • 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…
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  • 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