Simon Cowan

Research Director

Simon Cowan

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

Simon Cowan is Research Director at the CIS.  He is currently working on a project examining Australia’s worker class and whether they will be ‘Left Behind’. Simon is also 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. 

His latest work includes Let Money Speak,  Defending the Dual Citizen Ban and he has co-authored research reports on pensions and retirement policy and the UBI.


Media & Commentary

  • Pre-polling doesn’t prove democracy is in decline 17 May 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre
    If you were a naysayer, the unprecedented level of pre-poll voting for this year’s federal election, could be yet another entry in the folder marked ‘the failure of democracy’. Anecdotally, there is a sense of exhaustion with this election campaign.…
    If you were a naysayer, the unprecedented level of pre-poll voting for this year’s federal election, could be yet another entry in the folder marked ‘the failure of democracy’. Anecdotally, there is a sense of exhaustion with this election campaign.…
    read more
  • Pre-polling does not spell the end of democracy 13 May 2019 | CANBERRA TIMES
    If you were a naysayer, the unprecedented level of pre-poll voting for this year’s federal election, combined with the relative disinterest in the leaders’ debates, could be yet further entries in the folder marked “the failure of democracy.” The live…
    If you were a naysayer, the unprecedented level of pre-poll voting for this year’s federal election, combined with the relative disinterest in the leaders’ debates, could be yet further entries in the folder marked “the failure of democracy.” The live…
    read more
  • Campaigns fail on Newstart 03 May 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre
    One contentious issue that has many motivated activists, but received relatively little attention from politicians in the election campaign, is the adequacy of Newstart as a welfare payment. It has been presented as a moral challenge: that a wealthy society…
    One contentious issue that has many motivated activists, but received relatively little attention from politicians in the election campaign, is the adequacy of Newstart as a welfare payment. It has been presented as a moral challenge: that a wealthy society…
    read more
  • Morals and money: why Newstart can't gain traction as an election issue 27 April 2019 | The Canberra Times
    One contentious issue that has much motivated activists, but received relatively little attention from politicians in the election campaign, is the adequacy of Newstart as a welfare payment. ACOSS has run a campaign for several years to raise the base…
    One contentious issue that has much motivated activists, but received relatively little attention from politicians in the election campaign, is the adequacy of Newstart as a welfare payment. ACOSS has run a campaign for several years to raise the base…
    read more
  • Folau free speech debate: both sides need to show tolerance 21 April 2019 | CANBERRA TIMES
    It will be deeply ironic if rugby union star Israel Folau is fired for condemning a bunch of various categories of ‘sinners’ to hell unless they repent. After all rugby is supposedly the game they play in heaven. Yet the…
    It will be deeply ironic if rugby union star Israel Folau is fired for condemning a bunch of various categories of ‘sinners’ to hell unless they repent. After all rugby is supposedly the game they play in heaven. Yet the…
    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