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

  • Labor's unprincipled attack on refunds 02 February 2019 | The Sydney Morning Herald
    Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen has doubled down on Labor’s tax agenda, telling retirees who are unhappy with Labor’s policy on dividend imputation they are “entitled to vote against us.” The history of politicians who have dismissed the concerns of voters on…
    Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen has doubled down on Labor’s tax agenda, telling retirees who are unhappy with Labor’s policy on dividend imputation they are “entitled to vote against us.” The history of politicians who have dismissed the concerns of voters on…
    read more
  • Australians shouldn’t be ashamed 25 January 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre
    In recent weeks we have been treated to yet another #changethedate campaign based on how terrible it is to celebrate Australia Day on the day of the arrival of the First Fleet, the day Australia was invaded by the British.…
    In recent weeks we have been treated to yet another #changethedate campaign based on how terrible it is to celebrate Australia Day on the day of the arrival of the First Fleet, the day Australia was invaded by the British.…
    read more
  • Heed the lesson of 2016: don't ignore the disempowered 19 January 2019 | The Sydney Morning Herald
    This week saw British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal defeat, then confidence-vote victory, all in the space of 30 hours. In the United States, the government has been shut down for almost a month, while both President Donald Trump…
    This week saw British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal defeat, then confidence-vote victory, all in the space of 30 hours. In the United States, the government has been shut down for almost a month, while both President Donald Trump…
    read more
  • The mistakes the Coalition can't afford in an election year 05 January 2019 | The Canberra Times
    A new year always brings with it new challenges and new hope. And since the government already has too many challenges, it could sure do with some more hope. More specifically, it is in desperate need of an election strategy to…
    A new year always brings with it new challenges and new hope. And since the government already has too many challenges, it could sure do with some more hope. More specifically, it is in desperate need of an election strategy to…
    read more
  • Winners and losers of 2018 18 December 2018 | SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
    Is it possible to make sense of a tumultuous year in Australia politics (as if there is any other kind these days)? It’s fair to say that those on the centre left probably look back and see a mostly positive…
    Is it possible to make sense of a tumultuous year in Australia politics (as if there is any other kind these days)? It’s fair to say that those on the centre left probably look back and see a mostly positive…
    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