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Opinion & Commentary


Opinion and Commentary contains media articles written by CIS researchers.

  • The madness of child protection policy in Australia

    23 Apr 2014 | Online Opinion

    In December 2013, the Abbott government announced plans to take adoption out of the 'too-hard basket' and make it easier for Australian parents to adopt children both locally and from overseas.The chief... Read More

  • Boost adoption rate through national target

    22 Apr 2014 | Open Forum

    The chief barrier to more local adoptions is that state and territory child protection authorities almost never take legal action to free children. Read More

  • No easy fix for youth unemployment

    22 Apr 2014 | The Canberra Times

    The youth unemployment rate, now 13.6 per cent, is twice the economy-wide rate, and the youth employment-to-population ratio has fallen by 10 per cent since 2008. Read More

  • Let’s adopt a more sensible approach to kids in care

    16 Apr 2014 | The Australian

    In 2012-13, only 135 children were adopted from state care, even though more than 40,000 children were in care. Read More

  • Getting millionaires off the old-age pension

    15 Apr 2014 | The Daily Telegraph

    Joe Hockey should look to address the pension means test that allows millionaires to receive welfare. Read More

  • Why feminists should support childcare deregulation

    27 Mar 2014 | ABC The Drum

    Despite the previous Labor government funding the establishment of new services, it is still difficult for parents to procure an affordable childcare place, so what exactly is the problem? Read More

  • The myth of NAPLAN stress

    17 Mar 2014 | ABC The Drum

    Schools should be scrutinised, and parents should be aware of the test results. NAPLAN tests are not the 'high stakes' tests that some are making them out to be. Read More

  • Commission must also address welfare of children in care

    13 Mar 2014 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    The work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is revealing the way that history is repeating itself today. Read More

  • Co-payment plan is no mortal blow against Medicare

    12 Mar 2014 | The Canberra Times

    A modest GP copayment needs to be seen in context and does not represent a mortal threat to Medicare. Read More

  • It's all relative: The poverty wars are back

    04 Feb 2014 | The Drum

    Relative poverty is a poor measure when it comes to forming public policy aimed at helping Australians who are doing it tough. Read More

  • Reaping the whirlwind: The 'new silence' about broken families and child sexual abuse

    04 Feb 2014 | ABC Religion & Ethics

    The belief that the royal commission will "break the silence" surrounding child sexual abuse is marred by evidence of the breakdown of the traditional family and the risk of child sexual abuse. Read More

  • Abuse a bigger danger in non-traditional families

    30 Jan 2014 | The Australian

    It may not be fashionable to say it, but marriage, divorce, and sole parenting do matter for children. Read More

  • Co-payments key to affordable healthcare system

    09 Jan 2014 | The Australian Financial Review

    Scrapping the co-payment for GP services was one of the worst public policy decisions of the Keating government. Read More

  • Gonski: School funding deal still needs much work so let's get down to it

    04 Dec 2013 | The Canberra Times

    The new school funding model, often incorrectly referred to as the ''Gonski'' model, is far from ideal and needs to be revised. Read More

  • Don’t panic about PISA

    04 Dec 2013 | The Drum

    Simple country comparisons on a single assessment, no matter how good it might be, provide little guidance for education policy and should be viewed with caution. Read More

  • Gonski model should go back to the chalkboard

    28 Nov 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    The Better Schools funding model no longer meets the objectives it was designed to achieve. Read More

  • $haria Law

    15 Nov 2013 | Quadrant Online

    If sukuk bonds go mainstream, as is poised to happen in Britain with David Cameron's blessing, the way will be open for the wider introduction of Islamic principles. Is the likely erosion of Common Law... Read More

  • Ending racism does not require respect

    29 Oct 2013 | Open Forum

    Creating a tolerant Australia only demands benign indifference to diversity. Read More

  • How hospitals can cure themselves

    17 Oct 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    The key to addressing the challenges facing the health system is to boost public-sector productivity. Read More

  • We need more bang for our health dollars

    15 Oct 2013 | ON LINE Opinion

    Australia will face problems funding its public hospital and other publicly funded health services if cost increases continue. Read More

  • P-word may be electoral poison but we must adapt

    14 Oct 2013 | The Australian

    Australia will face problems funding the cost of Medicare if spending on public hospitals continues to grow at the same rate. Read More

  • Bad teaching kills reading skills

    30 Sep 2013 | The Australian

    Billions of dollars have been spent in the past decade on programs aimed at improving literacy, yet thousands of children still struggle with basic reading skills. Read More

  • Sick Medicare needs mending

    06 Sep 2013 | Business Spectator

    Rising healthcare costs should be a critical spending issue for Canberra. Read More

  • The enemy within NSW child protection

    28 Aug 2013 | ON LINE Opinion

    The real and systemic problem with child protection in Australia concerns the large number of children who are re-reported because of unresolved safety concerns. Read More

  • Fiddling with criteria to hide unemployed

    31 Jul 2013 | The Australian

    The government has been hiding the unemployed on unemployment benefits by turning them from 'jobseekers' into 'non-jobseekers.' Read More

  • Policy conflict on jobs for disabled

    22 Jul 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    The social and economic objectives of DisabilityCare cannot be achieved without reform to the disability support pension. Read More

  • Our fear of adoptions is hurting vulnerable children

    15 Jul 2013 | The Drum

    Rather than further pursuing often futile parental rehabilitation programs, we need to get children out of harm's way through adoption. Read More

  • My School sheds a welcome light

    17 May 2013 | The Australian

    If governments gather important information about schools and students, it should be available to everyone. The My School site simply gives parents easy access.If governments gather important information... Read More

  • The fair go is fact, not political platitude

    16 May 2013 | ON LINE Opinion

    Australia's social escalator moves so quickly that the poorest Australians can find fortune in just a few years. With the controversy over the adequacy of unemployment benefits heating up again, the divide... Read More

  • Gillard Deal Risks NDIS Timebomb

    13 May 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    In its eagerness to lock in the funding and governance arrangements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Gillard government seems to have created a fiscal time bomb, where future federal... Read More

  • Sorry, Mr Swan, the Australian fair go is still going strong

    09 May 2013 | The Drum

    In the lead up to what is likely to be a budget bloodbath on 14 May, Treasurer Wayne Swan has come out swinging. Instead of trying to steer Australia back into the black, he has resorted to the electoral... Read More

  • Only a super-style savings system now will help Medicare survive

    30 Apr 2013 | The Australian

    THE intergenerational reports have told us repeatedly that escalating government spending on health is unsustainable in an ageing Australia. But despite the warnings about the future of the health system,... Read More

  • Despite white paper worries, Asia-savvy Australia is set for success

    29 Apr 2013 | Australia China Quarterly

    Programs to upskill Australians to work in Asia’s new tiger economies are actually just white elephants. Read More

  • Federal micro-managers to rule the schools

    16 Apr 2013 | Australian Financial Review

    Responses to the federal government’s school funding proposal have been less than enthusiastic. People have rightly pointed out that increased expenditure on education does not guarantee better results.... Read More

  • NDIS highlights welfare waste

    27 Mar 2013 | The Australian

    It is time to end the tax-welfare churn and return the savings to taxpayers through tax cuts. Read More

  • The politics of apologies: Easy moralism for past sins, but ignorance about the present

    26 Mar 2013 | ABC Religion & Ethics

    Official apologies tend to descend into simplistic condemnations of people and times past rather than criticising current practices. Read More

  • Why adoption should, in some cases, continue

    22 Mar 2013 | Crikey

    The "never again" approach to separating parents from children because of previous forced adoption practices has implicatons for current child protection policies. Read More

  • Abundant Asian Century opportunities for an already Asia-savvy Australia

    25 Feb 2013 | ON LINE Opinion

    Tapping into the Asian Century bonanza does not mean that Australia requires costly education and training programs. Read More

  • Extending NDIS poses threat

    21 Feb 2013 | Australian Financial Review

    The age restrictions on the NDIS are crucial in maintaining the scheme’s financial integrity and maximising its benefits. Read More

  • No need for Asian Century panic

    21 Feb 2013 | The Drum

    Why the anxiety over readying Australia for the Asian Century? Read More

  • Don't mention the M-word

    31 Jan 2013 | The Drum

    Australian academics have allowed their staunch advocacy for family diversity to get in the way of reasoned analysis on how to best raise children. Read More

  • Increasing Newstart would be a costly failure

    25 Jan 2013 | The Punch

    An increase in the base rate of Newstart Allowance will not do much to break down the barriers to employment for the long term unemployed. Read More

  • Coal hoax fails to dig deep without a martyr to the cause

    15 Jan 2013 | The Age

    Protesters need to face legal consequences to sway public opinion. Read More

  • Disability pension reform key to NDIS success

    20 Dec 2012 | Australian Financial Review

    Reform of the disability support pension is necessary to maximise the benefits of the NDIS. Read More

  • How the rich lead poor lives

    20 Nov 2012 | Australian Financial Review

    The new upper class in the US is isolated and segregated from mainstream US culture, living in a bubble. Read More

  • Improving lives or just a welfare monster in the making?

    15 Nov 2012 | The Australian

    There is a real danger the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be even bigger and more expensive than we imagine. Read More

  • The real solution to poverty: J-O-B-S, J-O-B-S, J-O-B-S

    29 Oct 2012 | The Punch

    Moving people off welfare and into full-time jobs would do more to address poverty than increasing the value of welfare benefits. Read More

  • Hummus, Hamas and the hopeless naive

    18 Oct 2012 | Quadrant Online

    In the wake of the violent Islamist riots, concerns that western governments will seek a political accommodation and try to appease Islamofascist grievances by limiting freedom to criticise Islam are not... Read More

  • Better schooling, not uni quotas

    02 Oct 2012 | The Australian

    LARISSA Behrendt's recent report recommends doubling the proportion of indigenous students at universities. Only 1.09 per cent of university students are indigenous and Behrendt argues that the target... Read More

  • Government policy driving dole growth

    12 Sep 2012 | ON LINE Opinion

    The increasing number of people who are on the dole but are exempted from job-search requirements is a serious concern. Read More

  • Higher dole should come as bonus for serious job-seekers only

    31 Aug 2012 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Higher dole should come as bonus for serious job-seekers only. Read More

  • The NDIS will cost us more than we’re being told

    30 Aug 2012 | The Punch

    The National Disability Insurance Scheme presents an opportunity to re-evaluate current and future government expenditure in a moral light: Do they pass an “NDIS test”? Read More

  • Disability, injury insurance schemes need scrutiny

    28 Aug 2012 | The Canberra Times

    The National Injury Insurance Scheme is the forgotten little brother of the bigger, brighter and more popular National Disability Insurance Scheme, but that is no reason to ignore it. Read More

  • How to fund a disability scheme

    01 Aug 2012 | The Australian Financial Review

    First there was the carbon tax, then the mining tax, then the flood tax – and now calls for a national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) levy. Will the stream of new taxes and levies never end? Read More

  • Ability, not disability, should determine access to support

    14 Jul 2012 | The Canberra Times

    Blind people are exempt from certain income support tests, and this anomaly should stop.Blind people are exempt from certain income support tests, and this anomaly should stop Read More

  • Tighten the rules on welfare payments

    08 Jun 2012 | ON LINE Opinion

    There is more to welfare reform than amalgamating the benefits. Read More

  • Child protection: generation lost by not being 'stolen'

    05 Jun 2012 | The Drum

    It is incredibly simplistic and misleading to blame the serious problems many troubled children experience on the decision to take them into care. Read More

  • Mistakes writ large if reading goes wrong

    07 May 2012 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    A flawed report shows the muddled state of literacy policy in NSW. Read More

  • Top quality pre-school is child's play

    30 Apr 2012 | The Herald Sun

    High quality pre-school can significantly mediate the negative impact of a language and literacy-poor home environment, beginning at the age of three. Read More

  • Let's start to expect greater outcomes

    11 Apr 2012 | The Canberra Times

    Fewer than half of Australians with a disability are employed. But we know that given the right help many people, even those with serious disabilities, can work. Read More

  • Mandatory reporting has not failed children

    10 Apr 2012 | The Drum

    Far from the failure it is made out to be, mandatory reporting by police, education and health professionals of children at risk of harm has worked incredibly well. Read More

  • Opportunity for major reform

    26 Mar 2012 | Education Review

    The highlight of the Gonski report is that it is student-centred; shifting the focus from the demands of schools to the needs of children. Where the report falls short is that it is not entirely sector-neutral. Read More

  • Literacy problems hidden behind culturally separate careers

    21 Mar 2012 | The Drum

    One of the primary reasons for the problems experienced by AHWs is ambivalence about the need for English literacy and numeracy. When the role was first created in the 1970s in the Northern Territory,... Read More

  • Independent thinking for financing future

    16 Feb 2012 | Hospital and AgedCare Magazine

    Health already devours over 10 per cent of GDP each year and 70% of health funding is funnelled through federal and state government programs. Because health dollars are not spent efficiently the community... Read More

  • Gonski review must not hobble choice

    14 Feb 2012 | Australian Financial Review

    On Monday, the report of the federal government’s Review of Funding for Schooling, commonly known as the ‘Gonski review’ will be released, along with the government’s initial response. So far,... Read More

  • Open up debate on welfare

    10 Feb 2012 | The Canberra Times

    Poor people are often those who miss out on adequate health care: people who can’t afford to go to private hospitals and don’t have the capability to advocate for themselves. Read More

  • Education crucial to Aboriginal jobs

    02 Feb 2012 | Australian Financial Review

    The problem is not a shortage of jobs in the mining sector. More local Aboriginal people would be employed in mines if they had the skills for employment. Read More

  • An Indigenous program that’s boxing clever

    20 Jan 2012 | The Punch

    At risk Aboriginal youth are given an outlet to build self esteem through a boxing program with Redfern police. Read More

  • An Indigenous program that’s boxing clever

    20 Jan 2012 | The Punch

    At risk Aboriginal youth are given an outlet to build self esteem through a boxing program with Redfern police. Read More

  • An Indigenous program that’s boxing clever

    20 Jan 2012 | The Punch

    At risk Aboriginal youth are given an outlet to build self esteem through a boxing program with Redfern police. Read More

  • Who needs four uni degrees or even one for that matter?

    29 Nov 2011 | Crikey

    Most jobs don't require university degrees. A key purpose of education is to give students a chance to signal their aptitude and diligence, rather to acquire knowledge for later vocational use. Fostering... Read More

  • Italy defaults on debt and sends lenders broke? So be it

    15 Nov 2011 | Crikey

    The federal government will need to cut spending to ensure a surplus in 2012-13. Read More

  • Liberals Drop Ball in Super Free-For-All

    14 Nov 2011 | Australian Financial Review

    Lifting superannuation to 12% is wrong. Read More

  • Focus on 'prevention' abusing kids

    09 Nov 2011 | On Line Opinion

    Despite increasing government spending on programs meant to prevent child abuse and entries into care, record numbers of children are currently in Out of Home Care (OOHC) in Australia, and this is the... Read More

  • Myths, lies and adoption

    08 Nov 2011 | The Geelong Advertiser

    IN 2009-10, 36,000 children were in out-of-home care in Australia and more than two-thirds had been there for at least two years. Many of these children will remain in out-of-home care indefinitely after... Read More

  • Care system still abusing forgotten children.

    03 Nov 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    In 2009 the federal parliament apologised to the Forgotten Australians who were physically, sexually, and emotionally abused in state and charitable-run orphanages between the 1920s and 1970s. The national... Read More

  • Changing expectations of Aboriginal school attendance

    18 Oct 2011 | The Drum

    If my son wasn't hassled every time he was late to school then he would probably continue to be late. If there were no consequences, then despite the carrot of a real job one day, he like many remote Indigenous... Read More

  • The welfare revolution that has passed disability pensioners by

    12 Oct 2011 | Online Opinion

    Unemployment has fallen. Single parents are returning to the workforce in droves. Yet the number of people on Disability Support Pension - currently more than 800,000 - continues to climb – it has to... Read More

  • We must crack down on the Disability Support Pension

    10 Oct 2011 | The Punch

    The number of people on the Disability Pension Scheme must be reduced. Read More

  • Should dentistry be covered by Medicare?

    10 Oct 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    But the ''right'' to receive certain health services for ''free'' does not automatically produce good health. Bulk billing has been available since the 1970s, yet lower-income groups are still far more... Read More

  • A few home truths on people and houses

    28 Sep 2011 | The Age

    Population growth: starting acting, not discussing Read More

  • Change attitude rather than limit population

    28 Sep 2011 | The West Australian

    Population growth: starting acting, not discussing. Australia should embrace its population growth . Read More

  • Remote disadvantage even worse than reported

    27 Sep 2011 | The Australian

    Billions of taxpayer dollars are wasted on programs that mostly benefit bureaucrats IN February, the Productivity Commission released Indigenous Expenditure Report 2010 showing that an additional $5.1... Read More

  • Paid leave for dads a useless, cynical waste of money

    06 Sep 2011 | The Punch

    Getting dads more involved in parenting is a noble goal. Unfortunately, there is very little evidence that paid paternity leave will help realise it. Read More

  • Women's rights push dads aside

    03 Sep 2011 | The Australian

    This is the disturbing significance of the controversial NSW birth certificate decision. That no gay spokesperson has expressed concern for the father and child stolen from each other speaks volumes about... Read More

  • It's Anglicanism, Jim, but not as we know it

    02 Sep 2011 | ABC Religion and Ethics

    If we think of individual churches as religious firms, then collectively they form a religious market Read More

  • Degrees of difference

    22 Aug 2011 | Online Opinion

    Many people have taken umbrage at this arguing that having a separate form for some remote communities is an example of 'positive discrimination'. Few people seem to understand the broader implications... Read More

  • Living together demands civility

    19 Aug 2011 | The Canberra Times

    We should not rush to stifle public discussions on the off chance that an unhinged individual (whether politically motivated or not) misconstrues them as a clarion call to violence. Nor should the far-right... Read More

  • Gillard misses the chance to help the disabled and define her legacy

    17 Aug 2011 | The Australian

    Gillard misses a chance for concrete reform and define her legacy Read More

  • Brits recoil from teaching respect for authority at home or school

    15 Aug 2011 | The Australian

    Following last week's riots in Britain, politicians and commentators have similarly been asking the wrong question. What caused thousands of (mainly) young males to torch buildings where they live, loot... Read More

  • Census apartheid: separate form separates a community

    10 Aug 2011 | The Drum

    The use of a separate Census form for some discrete Indigenous communities is not only state-sanctioned apartheid but statistically invalid. Read More

  • Hospital reform looks sickly but the blame game is fit as a fiddle

    04 Aug 2011 | The Australian

    While critics claimed the approach was too hospital-centric, the primary focus on the financing of public hospital care was warranted. State governments have perennially blamed long waits for elective... Read More

  • A confident secularist society would tolerate school religion

    28 Jul 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    A confident secular society, one that trusted in its rationalist public institutions, should have no problem with occasional church-run classes. Read More

  • Artful dodges

    26 Jul 2011 | The Age

    Pragmatic politics alone suggest that Australian governments will rarely lift spending per higher education student, in the humanities and social science or any other field. Read More

  • Think local and give country towns the freedom to prosper or perish

    23 Jul 2011 | The Australian

    FOR politicians, and especially for town planners, letting people decide where and how they want to live has never been an acceptable idea. Administrative elites have always been convinced they know better... Read More

  • OOHC not working for at-risk kids

    19 Jul 2011 | The Drum

    The causes of the OHHC crisis care are multifaceted. But the consensus among experts is that at the heart of the crisis is the increasing numbers of children with 'high needs' entering care because of... Read More

  • Beware pink totalitarianism

    15 Jul 2011 | The Spectator

    Gay marriage dissenters deserve the same respect as advocates Read More

  • Those who can work must not be paid to sit at home

    01 Jul 2011 | The Australian

    Job seekers with low attachment to the labour force should be required to work for the dole. Read More

  • Helping mentally ill go back to work a win for all

    28 Jun 2011 | The Australian

    Unless we find a better way to keep people with mental illness in the workforce, the number of disability pensioners will balloon. Read More

  • Paying for higher education is not popular

    28 Jun 2011 | The Age

    Paying more for higher education is not popular but extra places could be provided in lower-cost teaching-only institutions. Read More

  • Lands where no one can feel at home

    25 Jun 2011 | The Australian

    Indigenous ‘community’ a misnomer. Read More

  • False notions of Indigenous community

    15 Jun 2011 | ABC News

    Indigenous communities are not homogenous. Read More

  • Population debate: we pretend growth is not inevitable

    13 Jun 2011 | The Australian

    The longer we pretend we can stop population growth, or protest that we don’t want growth to happen, the more difficult the job will become. Read More

  • Bar must be raised to curb pub violence

    07 Jun 2011 | The Newcastle Herald

    Follow NSW and crack down on problem pubs. Read More

  • Custody for Indigenous kids more than black and white

    01 Jun 2011 | ABC News

    We should find better ways of combining Aboriginal child safety and the passing down of traditional lore by responsible elders. Read More

  • Demand driven only if it suits

    01 Jun 2011 | The Australian

    Gillard rightly denies that her demand-driven system was a voucher system but doesn’t push for choice and competition. Read More

  • Back to six-pack politics

    26 May 2011 | Sydney Morning Herald

    'Wet canteens' have been tried and utterly failed in indigenous communities. Read More

  • Not all teaching is a qualified success

    24 May 2011 | The Age

    Though formal education qualifications play an increasing role in labour markets, employer judgments remain critical in most occupations. Read More

  • A disability insurance scheme offers clear benefits

    20 May 2011 | The Canberra Times

    The Productivity Commission's disability insurance scheme is promising but demands hardline decisions from the government. Read More

  • Will bonus payments for teachers improve children’s education?

    14 May 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Decentralise salaries and let the market decide what teachers are worth based on their qualifications, professional standing and record. Read More

  • Petty name-calling just adds to polarisation

    12 May 2011 | The Australian

    Increasing polarisation emerges in the aftermath of Larissa Behrendt’s tweet on Bess Price’s support of the NTI. Read More

  • Welfare reforms are worthwhile, but not an easy budget fix

    12 May 2011 | Online Opinion

    The best way to get unskilled workers into work is to find them an unskilled job – not try to train them for a skilled position they may never get. Read More

  • When it comes to university funding, the important thing now is to ensure the price is right

    12 Apr 2011 | The Age

    The federal government has introduced legislation for a Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, to replace a decentralised and, for universities, light-touch approach to standards and quality. Read More

  • Apartheid at the local pub

    06 Apr 2011 | The Australian

    Double standards in the responsible service of alcohol have contributed to the growing alcohol problem in remote indigenous communities, and are one reason why alcohol restrictions are now in place in... Read More

  • Water: Making the glass half full

    06 Apr 2011 | Climate Spectator

    It is possible to augment the water supply of our cities without a drastic overhaul. Ever-improving technologies can not only help us save billions of litres each year but supply billions of litres without... Read More

  • Fat cats feed on needy

    23 Mar 2011 | The Australian

    If government expenditure on indigenous Australians is divided among the welfare-dependent, the average per head is $75,000. Read More

  • Our Medicare Vice

    22 Mar 2011 | Open Forum

    Long waiting times for public hospital treatment in this country are almost a daily source of popular dissatisfaction. Yet few of us bother to think how this problem is related to the principles of the... Read More

  • Medicare: Australia’s very sick sacred cow

    16 Mar 2011 | The Punch

    Whether Medicare actually ‘works’ for those who most need assistance to access health services is another question altogether. Read More

  • Cure Medicare mess or waste will get worse

    16 Mar 2011 | The Australian

    We should subsidise visits to the doctor less so there is more money to spend on hospitals. Read More

  • Protecting bad teachers produces chronic failure

    09 Mar 2011 | The Australian

    My School confirms that funding is not the cause of Indigenous educational failure. Read More

  • Education the key to living in two worlds

    08 Mar 2011 | Online Opinion

    Key to the maintenance of a cultural or ethnic identity is the passing on of cultural knowledge and fostering a positive self image among the next generation. Read More

  • Migration needs serious debate

    26 Feb 2011 | The Australian

    Australia became a successful nation of immigrants because the egalitarianism that is central to its national character -- the principle that Jack is as good as his mate -- was extended by "old Australians"... Read More

  • Bureaucracy threatens academic freedom

    Andrew Norton | 22 Feb 2011 | The Age

    A tertiary education regulator will directly involve a government agency in academic affairs for the first time. It puts much at risk. Read More

  • Let's hold the line on immigration

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 27 Jan 2011 | Business Spectator

    Rebuilding the flood affected parts of Queensland will be an enormous task with big labour market implications. But should great decisions for the nation’s future population be made on the fly? Or do... Read More

  • Paid parental leave adds to dilemma of family benefits

    Jessica Brown | 11 Jan 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Can we afford to keep expanding an ever more generous system of benefits for middle- and high-income families, or do we need to get more bang for our buck? Read More

  • Paid parental leave adds to dilemma of family benefits

    Jessica Brown | 11 Jan 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Can we afford to keep expanding an ever more generous system of benefits for middle- and high-income families, or do we need to get more bang for our buck? Read More

  • Remote chance of university

    Joe Lane | 28 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    Although Indigenous graduates are taking their place in the professions and doing postgraduate studies, most of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in remote areas and on welfare... Read More

  • Glory be to Gaia, I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 20 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    Christmas is when two great religions collide: Christianity and environmentalism. Read More

  • A Politically Correct Christmas is Un-Australian

    Jeremy Sammut | 17 Dec 2010 | Spectator Australia

    Why undermine the process assimilation? Read More

  • Reform must start with Medicare

    Jeremy Sammut | 17 Dec 2010 | Australian Medicine

    If health reform is to amount to more than money shifting and rearranging the administrative deckchairs we need to address the root of the problem - Medicare itself. Read More

  • For the poor, a job must pay better than handouts

    Peter Saunders | 14 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    The British government is taking a gamble with its welfare to work program. Read More

  • Top students go backwards

    Jennifer Buckingham | 09 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    The number of high achievers at school is shrinking because all the attention goes to the weak. Read More

  • Aborigines should be given houses for free

    Sara Hudson | 08 Dec 2010 | The Newcastle Herald

    Indigenous people are locked out of home ownership. Read More

  • Leftist class chatter no longer matters in UK

    Peter Saunders | 01 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    Intellectuals love to peddle the myth of an unfair, privileged society, but they're wrong. Read More

  • Ridicule the prescription to induce health reform

    Jeremy Sammut | 01 Dec 2010 | ABC News

    After three years of hot air from the Federal Government about fundamental health reform, which has only produced a plan for marginal changes in hospital funding and administration that will be lucky to... Read More

  • Rewriting the formula on fairness

    Andrew Norton | 30 Nov 2010 | The Age

    In trying to help disadvantaged students get to uni are we making the system unfair? Read More

  • Ownership would transform Aboriginal towns

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 24 Nov 2010 | The Canberra Times

    The denial of private property rights to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders on indigenous lands continues to cause extremes of poverty and dysfunction. Read More

  • Home ownership key to ending dysfunction

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 17 Nov 2010 | The Australian

    Indigenous Australians are being denied their right to own the house they live in. Read More

  • Free hospital care is unsustainable

    Jeremy Sammut | 15 Nov 2010 | The Australian

    The elective surgery queues won't get shorter unless patients are made to pay. Read More

  • Education is only way out of ghettos

    Sara Hudson | 09 Nov 2010 | The Australian

    Separate schooling is disadvantaging indigenous children in remote communities. Read More

  • Collective apathy: alcohol and child abuse in the NT

    Sara Hudson | 09 Nov 2010 | ABC News

    What has been tolerated in Aboriginal communities would never have been tolerated in the major cities and towns of Australia. Read More

  • Disability payment should not be de facto dole

    Jessica Brown | 09 Nov 2010 | The Australian

    Our welfare system should not assume that disabled people can't be in paid employment. Read More

  • Population bomb still a fizzer 40 years on

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 08 Nov 2010 | The Australian

    Anti-population growth campaigners like Paul Ehrlich claim to be fighting for the environment and sustainability. In effect, they are actually promoting a new, green version of misanthropy. It is time... Read More

  • Why Europe is the wrong model for paid parental leave

    Jessica Brown | 05 Nov 2010 | Online Opinion

    If we can draw one lesson from the experience of Britain and the other European states now forced into austerity, it is that the cost of new entitlements and promises gradually add up— until suddenly... Read More

  • A buyer's market

    Andrew Norton | 02 Nov 2010 | The Age

    We should trust in the wisdom of the crowd to guide the direction of Australia's higher education. Read More

  • The growth of religious schooling

    Jennifer Buckingham | 13 Oct 2010 | ABC News

    As religious schools have become more numerous and more visible, they have also become more prominent in debates on education policy. Read More

  • Britons brace for age of austerity

    Peter Saunders | 08 Oct 2010 | The Australian

    The British government is looking to the Australian model for welfare reforms. Read More

  • Let's avoid the OECD cringe

    Andrew Norton | 05 Oct 2010 | The Age

    Don't let international comparisons become the only benchmarks for our higher education funding policies. Read More

  • Interventionist child protection policies are right for the liberal right

    Jeremy Sammut | 02 Oct 2010 | The Australian

    The state has a responsibility to protect children from inadequate parents. Read More

  • Patients, doctors could pay for Super Clinics election ‘pork’

    Jeremy Sammut | 15 Sep 2010 | Medical Observer

    The Gillard government appears set to go ahead with the electoral pork that GP Super Clinics are. Read More

  • Child protection underbelly sells out at risk kids

    Jeremy Sammut | 14 Sep 2010 | ABC News

    Recent events in Victoria and NSW expose the underbelly of Australian child protection – the extent to which the system is driven by the interests of taxpayer-funded charitable organisations rather than... Read More

  • Graduates can afford to top up funding

    Andrew Norton | 08 Sep 2010 | The Australian

    In higher education, the key issue of funding rate per student remains unresolved. Read More

  • A small Australia limits our creativity

    Stephen Kirchner | 07 Sep 2010 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    To advocate a small Australia is to deny the opportunities for economic, scientific and cultural advance that can flow from great concentrations of people and their inexhaustible reserves of creative potential,... Read More

  • Little Gungaleeda girl: a preventable tragedy

    Sara Hudson | 01 Sep 2010 | ABC News

    The death of the 'little Gungaleeda girl' is a tragic outcome of poorly resourced medical care in remote Indigenous communities, says Sara Hudson on The Drum, 1 September 2010. Read More

  • In search of that last small step

    Andrew Norton | 31 Aug 2010 | The Age

    In abolishing controls on higher education student numbers, the two parties are coming very close to a reform that combines choice and fairness, says Andrew Norton in The Age, 31 August 2010. Read More

  • Hospital boards trump bureaucracy

    Jeremy Sammut | 28 Aug 2010 | The Australian

    There are clear differences in the way the government and opposition will organise public health administration yet health policy did not receive the attention in deserved during the federal election campaign,... Read More

  • Putting a case for fee deregulation

    Andrew Norton | 25 Aug 2010 | The Australian

    On the key issue of  funding per student, Julia Gillard's legacy as education minister is uncertain, says Andrew Norton in The Australian, 25 August 2010. Read More

  • A dose of reality: public health problems need private solutions

    Jeremy Sammut | 06 Aug 2010 | The Australian

    It is imperative to acknowledge the limits of publicly funded healthcare, says Jeremy Sammut in The Australian, 6 August 2010. Read More

  • Helen Hughes opens her diary

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 31 Jul 2010 | The Spectator (Australia)

    Helen Hughes writes the Diary for Spectator Australia about her trip to Cape York, 31 July 2010. Read More

  • Statistics, lies and DoCS

    Jeremy Sammut | 12 Jul 2010 | ABC News

    One–third of NSW children aged 12 to 17 have been reported to the Department of Community Services and this research shows that severely at risk children have been reported time and time again, without... Read More

  • Simple ambition for all schools

    Jennifer Buckingham | 12 Jul 2010 | The Australian

    The much-needed review of school funding should fix a very confusing system. Read More

  • Government doing something for Indigenous people not with them ...

    Sara Hudson | 29 Jun 2010 | Online Opinion

    Without community engagement Outback Stores will be yet another example of government doing something for Indigenous people not with them, says Sara Hudson in Online Opinion 29 June 2010. Read More

  • Outback Stores is not the solution

    Sara Hudson | 29 Jun 2010 | The Canberra Times

    Rather than running stores for Indigenous communities, Outback Stores should be empowering residents to run the stores themselves, says Sara Hudson in The Canberra Times, 29 June 2010. Read More

  • Bandage won’t stop a haemorrhage: the government’s health shake-up

    Jeremy Sammut | 12 Jun 2010 | The Australian

    The final National Health and Hospitals Network plan doesn’t deliver on the promises of less bureaucracy, genuine activity-based funding and responsive local service delivery. Read More

  • Equal help for home and working mums

    Jessica Brown | 28 May 2010 | The Australian

    A new parental leave scheme should not be based around the kind of work their mothers do or don't do. Instead, it should be designed around the needs of newborns. Read More

  • Working versus stay-at-home is not the mother of all battles

    Jessica Brown | 25 May 2010 | Sydney Morning Herald

    Parental leave policy should reflect the variety of different decisions that families make about how to divide their time between staying  at home with the children and working. Read More

  • Would-be Indigenous homeowners abandoned

    Sara Hudson | 18 May 2010 | The Australian

    The redirection of funds away from the Home Ownership on Indigenous Land program signals that remote Indigenous Australian’s dreams of home ownership will remain only a dream. Read More

  • Aborigines hurt by the stereotype of suffering

    Sara Hudson | 12 May 2010 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    The majority of Indigenous Australians don’t need government hand-outs but unfortunately they hardly get any recognition. Read More

  • Indigenous students from welfare-dependent families perform poorly

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 10 Apr 2010 | Adelaide Now

    South Australia has some of the most disadvantaged remote Aboriginal communities and some of the lowest indigenous employment. Read More

  • Paying nurses to play doctor will make system sick

    Jeremy Sammut | 22 Mar 2010 | The Australian

    The Medicare reforms will only exacerbate the problems facing public hospitals. Read More

  • Woo mums and big end of town

    Jessica Brown | 10 Mar 2010 | The Australian

    The enthusiasm with which the Opposition Leader has embraced the cause of working mothers shows just how keen Tony Abbott is to shed his image as a patriarchal conservative and win the support of the female... Read More

  • Half a cheer for hospital reform

    Wolfgang Kasper | 09 Mar 2010 | The Australian Financial Review

    Labor’s hospital plan fails to get to the heart of bureaucratic inefficiencies. Read More

  • Another brick in the wall

    Sara Hudson | 04 Mar 2010 | ABC News

    Public housing cannot remain the only option in Indigenous communities. If residents of remote communities could access some of the 'dead' capital currently tied up in the communal ownership of land, they... Read More

  • Alternatives to a life on welfare

    Jessica Brown | 17 Feb 2010 | ABC News

    The Disability Support Pension (DSP) has become a one-way ticket. The government is trying to reduce the number of people who go onto DSP, but what it should be doing is improving the incentive for existing... Read More

  • Hospital overhaul is our only hope

    Jeremy Sammut | 13 Feb 2010 | The Australian

    Federal control of hospital funding represents a big step towards ensuring care is delivered in the most appropriate and cost-effective way. Once the Commonwealth takes over health care, the challenge... Read More

  • Whizz-bang medicine no cure for health challenges

    Jeremy Sammut | 02 Feb 2010 | ABC News

    The most interesting part of the intergenerational report 2010 is what it doesn’t say about the more serious and immediate ageing-related health challenges. Read More

  • What’s fair about defining disadvantage

    Andrew Norton | 01 Feb 2010 | Melbourne University Campus Review

    Could the government’s new higher education equity policy end up being unfair? Though the policy’s details are not settled, this is the risk we face. Read More

  • Holes in new path to reform child care

    Jessica Brown | 22 Jan 2010 | Canberra Times

    In December, the Council of Australian Governments comprising the Prime Minister, state premiers, territory chief ministers and the president of the Australian Local Government Association announced a... Read More

  • Funding policy revamp a question of balance

    Andrew Norton | 20 Jan 2010 | The Australian

    Australian universities will face challenges to keep courses open while meeting funding criteria. Read More

  • Antidote to welfare dependency

    Jessica Brown | 19 Jan 2010 | The Australian

    The federal government’s extension of income management across the country, announced late last year, reflects a new consensus in Australia and internationally about the pernicious effects on individuals... Read More

  • Competitive disadvantage is hardly the healthiest option

    Sara Hudson | 02 Jan 2010 | The Australian

    Determining the appropriate level of government responsibility is a vexed issue. Nowhere is this more apparent than in remote indigenous communities. Years of welfare dependency have demoralised communities... Read More

  • Neglect the champers, not the children in 2010

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 Dec 2009 | The Age

    Suspected abuse and neglect of children living in danger should be properly investigated and at-risk children should be removed from their families to be safe – the earlier that statutory intervention... Read More

  • Super clinics won’t ease emergency overload

    Jeremy Sammut | 23 Dec 2009 | The Australian

    The revelation that most of the Rudd government’s GP super clinics will not be operating for at least another two years has brought opponents of this expensive program out into the open. Read More

  • Bligh's 'Green Army'

    Jessica Brown | 17 Dec 2009 | Online opinion

    Now that Keynesian pump-priming is back in vogue the old depression era adage that governments should pay people to dig holes and fill them back up again is also back on the agenda. Better to do something,... Read More

  • Teacher union still waging a war against transparency

    Jennifer Buckingham | 15 Dec 2009 | The Australian

    The Australian Education Union is waging a war against the publication of school league tables and proposes to reinstate school inspections. Read More

  • Wasting money damages Aboriginal health

    Sara Hudson | 10 Dec 2009 | The Australian

    Public hospital reform wasn't the only issue put on the backburner at this week's Council of Australian Governments meeting in Brisbane. The Rudd government has also put off decisions about indigenous... Read More

  • Hale and hearty, say their parents

    Sara Hudson | 03 Dec 2009 | The Australian

    Ninety-seven per cent of Indigenous children are reported to be in excellent, very good, or good health, but these findings of the federal government’s study into Aboriginal children’s health are based... Read More

  • What makes great cities?

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 01 Dec 2009 | Thought Broker

    There is no yardstick to measure the greatness of cities. Some features of cities may be a blessing and a curse, depending on how you look at them. Read More

  • We need hospital beds, not super clinics

    Jeremy Sammut | 26 Nov 2009 | The Australian

    The Bennett report hopes to bring a healthcare revolution that will keep more Australians well and cure the hospital crisis. In reality, it does not properly address long waits for emergency and elective... Read More

  • Crash the glass floor

    Jessica Brown | 20 Nov 2009 | The Australian

    Governments throughout the Western world, including in Australia, are gradually introducing legislation aimed at making the workplace more family friendly. Read More

  • Some kids really need to be rescued

    Jeremy Sammut | 18 Nov 2009 | The Australian

    As a researcher your gut always churns when you are about to release a new report, but when the Centre for Independent Studies published my report on child protection earlier this year, it was something... Read More

  • A sense of despair at Indigenous housing policy

    Sara Hudson | 12 Nov 2009 | Online Opinion

    Despite billions of dollars being spent, residents of remote communities still don't have enough houses. What houses there are continue to be poorly maintained, overcrowded and run down to the point of... Read More

  • It’s time for a new Medicare

    John Humphreys | 22 Oct 2009 | Online Opinion

    Thirty-five years after the Whitlam government voted for the introduction of universal health care, and following the report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s report, the Rudd... Read More

  • Authorities must not wag school

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 16 Oct 2009 | The Australian

    The just released National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results for this year confirm the Northern Territory remains far behind the rest of Australia in educating its children. Read More

  • Motivate those on hand-outs

    Jessica Brown | 15 Oct 2009 | The Australian

    The Rudd government’s approach to sole-parent families, as with that of its predecessor, is that the best form of welfare is a job. This tactic is paying dividends. Read More

  • We’re wasting billions on tax churn

    John Humphreys | 08 Oct 2009 | Business Spectator

    By pulling the middle class into the welfare net, the government is crowding out civil society and undermining personal responsibility, self-esteem, and social capital. Ultimately, our current welfare... Read More

  • Back to better hospitals

    John R. Graham | 08 Oct 2009 | The Australian

    Policymakers need to understand that the replacement of local hospital boards with centralised command-and-control area health services has obliterated the proper governance structures that were based... Read More

  • Principal is the means of elevation

    Jennifer Buckingham | 02 Oct 2009 | The Australian

    Somewhere between one in five and one in six students are barely literate and numerate, according to recent national literacy and numeracy results. Poor literacy and numeracy outcomes are concentrated... Read More

  • Ferguson shown the door by media and the mob

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 Sep 2009 | The Newcastle Herald

    Managing the media takes precedence over dealing with controversial issues in an honest, open and effective manner. Read More

  • Federal Government gets casemix wrong

    Jeremy Sammut | 19 Sep 2009 | The Australian

    A full federal hospital takeover is a political long shot regardless of whether this requires a constitutional referendum. It’s time to move the debate on and assess the government’s reform bona fides... Read More

  • Time to end silence on child abuse

    Jeremy Sammut | 18 Sep 2009 | Online Opinion

    Heightened awareness is clearly essential to educate the community about the shared responsibility for preventing harm to children. However, organisations committed to protecting children’s rights, such... Read More

  • Rarely a case of happy ever after

    Barry Maley | 18 Sep 2009 | The Australian

    Marital relationships in Australia have never been more unstable. The consequences of divorce for individuals and children constitute major social and economic problems for which family law must take a... Read More

  • Birth rate bubble

    Barry Maley | 16 Sep 2009 | ABC News

    Australia is in the middle of an unusual, unrecognised and unintended experiment that may give us insight into the connections between rises and falls in our birth rate and changing economic conditions.... Read More

  • The training merry-go-round may be worse than nothing at all

    Jessica Brown | 16 Sep 2009 | The Advertiser

    Short of directly hiring more public servants, it is very difficult – impossible even – for governments to create real, sustainable jobs. Read More

  • Results are in and jobs come first

    Jessica Brown | 01 Sep 2009 | The Australian

    The news this week that the Federal Government’s flagship training program, the Productivity Places Program, has to date resulted in only 6,000 participants securing jobs out of the 95,000 so far referred... Read More

  • Bleed bureaucracy to restore hospital health

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 Jul 2009 | The Newcastle Herald

    The recent announcement that the Hunter New England Area Health Service has cut 22 hospital beds from the Calvary Mater hospital at Waratah will come as no surprise to the emergency doctors and nurses... Read More

  • Super clinics are no alternative for hospital beds

    Jeremy Sammut | 28 Jul 2009 | ABC News Online

    The centrepiece of the Rudd government’s plan to take pressure off public hospitals is a national network of GP Super Clinics. These clinics are designed to provide local communities with more and better... Read More

  • Beds not bureaucrats can ease health crisis

    Jeremy Sammut | 28 Jul 2009 | The Australian

    It’s a quarter of a century since Medicare was established but no one is celebrating. No wonder considering the critical condition of the public hospital system throughout Australia. Read More

  • Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage 2009

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 08 Jul 2009

    The Commonwealth government hoped for favourable coverage from the release of the Productivity Commission’s Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage. Instead, the Government was subjected to widespread criticism... Read More

  • Better protection is needed for vulnerable children

    Jeremy Sammut | 03 Jul 2009 | The Newcastle Herald

    The conviction of the Hawk Nest couple accused of starving their daughter to death again highlights the need for governments to better protect the most vulnerable children in our community. The question... Read More

  • Remove endangered children from their abusive parents

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 Jun 2009 | The Australian

    Ever since the ‘starved girl’ case hit the headlines in 2007, we have struggled to comprehend the incomprehensible. How is it that children live and sometimes die in the custody of obviously dysfunctional... Read More

  • There’s no real reform for health and hospitals on the horizon

    Jeremy Sammut | 20 Jun 2009 | The Australian

    Despite not many surprises being anticipated, all observers are keenly waiting for the final report of the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission to be submitted to the federal government at the... Read More

  • Tax and welfare as carrot and stick for jobs

    Jessica Brown | 17 Jun 2009 | The Age

    Last week’s cabinet reshuffle saw Rudd confidant Mark Arbib take over employment, signalling that job creation and protection will be a high priority. With unemployment set to bite, the government will... Read More

  • Rudd's NT welfare revolution

    Jeremy Sammut | 11 Jun 2009 | The Australian

    The Rudd government’s decision to retain and recast key aspects of the Howard government’s intervention into the Northern Territory is to be applauded. Read More

  • Tough job on employment

    Jessica Brown | 29 May 2009 | Courier Mail

    The outlook for Queensland’s jobs market is bleak, with industries that the state specialises in, like tourism, set to be the hardest hit by recession. According to the latest ABS figures, 67 000 Queenslanders... Read More

  • No radical departure in our mixed health system

    Jeremy Sammut | 19 May 2009 | The Canberra Times

    Fortunately, the Budget decision to means-test the private health insurance (PHI) rebate from next July appears to be driven by fiscal, political, and policy pragmatism rather than hackneyed health ideology... Read More

  • A budget stick for sole parents

    Jessica Brown | 14 May 2009 | Brisbane Times

    While this week’s pension increase was widely though not universally welcomed, welfare groups such as the Australian Council of Social Services were quick to protest that sole parents were excluded from... Read More

  • Training is a means to the end, not the end

    Jessica Brown | 08 May 2009 | Newcastle Herald

    Last week the government announced its new ‘jobs compact’ which would guarantee a training place for all unemployed young Australians. The policy change will also see welfare payments cut for any young... Read More

  • Private hurdle for kids

    Jennifer Buckingham | 21 Apr 2009 | The Australian

    The number of school students with disabilities is increasing every year. The government school sector has the largest number of these children. In 2007, 5.7% of enrollments in government schools were... Read More

  • A lesson from the real world

    Jeremy Sammut | 14 Mar 2009 | The Australian

    Another football season has begun and another footballer has allegedly behaved reprehensively towards women. The National Rugby League player Brett Stewart, Manly-Warringah's premiership-winning fullback... Read More

  • No point in Bradley's vouchers

    Andrew Norton | 11 Feb 2009 | The Australian

    There is no point in the Bradley Review’s voucher scheme without deregulation.  Read More

  • Unskilled and over-educated: A plan for worse outcomes

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 Jan 2009 | Crikey

    Forcing students who gain no benefit from additional formal education is pointless. Read More

  • Time to use a chainsaw on a critically ill patient

    Wolfgang Kasper | 29 Jan 2009 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Radical surgery is the only way to cure the NSW hospital mess. Read More

  • Why Kevin Rudd's internet censorship plan will not work

    Mark Newton | 06 Jan 2009 | The Adelaide Advertiser

    The Rudd Government's controversial, costly and compulsory internet censorship regime will slow web access and hand criminals a directory of illegal content. Read More

  • Prescription item No 1: dispensing with the closed shop

    David Gadiel | 15 Dec 2008 | The Canberra Times

    It’s time the self-serving pharmacy club was disbanded. Read More

  • School litany of shame

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 14 Dec 2008

    With the May 2009 national literacy and numeracy tests only six months away, it is not too soon to focus on the reasons why more than half of the Northern Territory's Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 school children... Read More

  • Vulnerable children are at the mercy of the bureaucracy

    Toby OBrien | 26 Nov 2008

    There is something rotten in the state of child protection in NSW, that much everyone knows. But how is it possible that while the number of children in care in Victoria and Queensland is falling, the... Read More

  • Recession and reform are in the wind for health care

    Jeremy Sammut | 24 Nov 2008 | The Canberra Times

    While it’s hardly polite to mention the R-word, let alone to see the good that might come of a recession, it’s an ill wind that blows no good. In the wake of the global financial crisis, this certainly... Read More

  • Who’s paying for babies?

    Jessica Brown | 18 Nov 2008

    The Productivity Commission is currently examining models for a national paid maternity leave scheme.  Current payments, including the Baby Bonus, can be transformed into a short, universal, payment (such... Read More

  • The ABC of policy failure

    Jeremy Sammut | 11 Nov 2008 | Business Spectator

    The federal government is suggesting that ABC’s fall illustrates how desperately the children industry needs re-regulation and is yet another example of excessively greedy capitalism and the free-market... Read More

  • Brightest and best miss out

    Jennifer Buckingham | 06 Nov 2008 | The Australian

    When the OECD described Australia as a ‘high quality, low equality’ country in its 2000 PISA report, it fuelled an existing preoccupation among educators and academics about the amount of variation... Read More

  • Failing children: foster care over adoption

    Toby OBrien | 29 Oct 2008 | Crikey

    Geoff Strong gave a poignant account in yesterday’s Age of the difficulties faced by foster carers who wish to adopt children in their care. Strong draws attention to the systemic obstacles that foster... Read More

  • Paid maternity leave will not fix problem parents

    Jessica Brown | 30 Sep 2008 | The Australian

    The release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report on paid parental leave follows Fiona Stanley’s weekend comments that up to 20 per cent of Australians “don't have the capacity to be a parent.”  ... Read More

  • Closing the ‘gender gap’ may undermine women

    Jessica Brown | 24 Jul 2008 | Crikey

    Yesterday, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission released its five-point plan to address gender inequality. HREOC plans to look at sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, encouraging family-friendly... Read More

  • Subsidies increase child care prices, not mothers participation in work

    Jennifer Buckingham | 23 Jul 2008 | The Australian

    The relationship between child care and the participation of mothers in the paid workforce seems obvious: if child care was more affordable, more mothers would work. Indeed, it seems so obvious that this... Read More

  • Spin won’t make “high care” aged care sector sustainable

    Jeremy Sammut | 17 Jul 2008 | Online Opinion

    The Minister for Ageing’s attack on the Queensland Aged Care Alliance (Courier Mail, 19 June 2008) marks a new low in the history of aged care policy Read More

  • Welfare that's not working

    Sara Hudson | 09 Jul 2008 | The Australian

    The Community Development Employment Projects program was introduced to replace unemployment benefits for indigenous Australians, and to provide a transition to real work. But despite the good intentions... Read More

  • Will Super Clinics increase the pressure on public hospitals?

    Jeremy Sammut | 26 Jun 2008 | ABC News Online

    In the 2008–09 federal budget, the Rudd government allocated $275 million to the establishment of a national network of (an initial) thirty-one GP Super Clinics. Read More

  • Funded allied health a prescription for Gen Y and

    Jeremy Sammut | 26 Jun 2008 | The Canberra Times

    ‘GP Management Plans’ were introduced by the Howard Government in 2005 and established a Medicare rebate covering chronic illness. They are meant to allow GPs to ‘coordinate’ the primary care of... Read More

  • Rudd’s blunder to dismantle Work for the Dole

    Peter Saunders | 12 Jun 2008 | The Australian

    The Rudd government says it supports the principle of mutual obligation in welfare, yet its new policy proposals threaten to pull the rug out from under the entire system. Read More

  • Teachers: Scale their pay to meet demand

    Jennifer Buckingham | 29 May 2008

    It is regularly argued that teacher pay in Australia is too low, and that this is a disincentive to enter the profession. Yet by international standards, Australian teacher salaries are relatively high.... Read More

  • Proof of the pudding: health campaigns don't work

    Jeremy Sammut | 09 May 2008 | ABC News Online

    There is slim support for the belief that preventive public health policies have brought obesity and lifestyle disease under control, or that they are likely to in the future. Read More

  • Rudd’s preventive health plan is a policy looking for an evidence-base

    Jeremy Sammut | 08 May 2008 | The Canberra Times

    'Evidence-based policy' might be the mantra of the Rudd Government, but its Super Clinics policy is not at all evidence based. The better description - to borrow the words of one candid public health academic... Read More

  • Forget alcohol - the binge here is on taxing drinkers

    Jeremy Sammut | 01 May 2008 | The Daily Telegraph

    The Federal Government has used skewed figures to justify its alcopop tax hike. Read More

  • Health Minister gives a mixed message on binge drinking

    Jeremy Sammut | 30 Apr 2008 | The Courier Mail

    From Midnight on Saturday – the hour when party people usually emerge – the Rudd Government raised the excise tax on so-called ‘alcopops’ by 70 per cent. To justify the hike, Nicola Roxon, the... Read More

  • Let's review all family benefits, not just paid maternity leave

    Jessica Brown | 10 Apr 2008 | The Canberra Times

    Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a myriad of competing opinions about the possible introduction of a paid maternity leave scheme. Retail chains Myer and Aldi have rushed to introduce their own schemes... Read More

  • Would you be happy asking friends for $512.66 every week?

    Peter Saunders | 19 Mar 2008 | The Australian

    Imagine you fall upon hard times and (it’s hard, but try) imagine further that there is no government welfare to fall back on. You have a couple of kids to support, you have no idea who their father... Read More

  • Lack of GPs and other great health debate myths

    Jeremy Sammut | 29 Feb 2008 | Crikey

    The prime minister and his health minister must now realise how hard is the task of ending the "blame game" over public hospitals. It has taken just three-months, and the scent of more federal funding,... Read More

  • The AFL’s DVD on sexual manners shows that society is in trouble

    Peter Saunders | 29 Feb 2008 | The West Australian

    Worried about the bad press some footballers have been getting of late, the AFL has created an interactive DVD designed to teach players some sexual manners. Read More

  • No dignity for the individual in the war against the obese

    Jeremy Sammut | 20 Feb 2008 | The Newcastle Herald

    Liberals champion limited government because they cherish the dignity of the individual. With every expansion of the role of the government, individuals lose control over their own lives and become increasingly... Read More

  • The writing is on the wall when officialdom overlooks profanity

    Peter Saunders | 12 Jan 2008

    I left Britain nine years ago, but even after nine Australian summers, I still find Christmas in the sun a novelty. This is why every year I join the backpackers and tourists for a day on the beach at... Read More

  • How can we move forward?

    Kirsten Storry | 27 Dec 2007

    It should go without saying that ten year old child cannot consent to sex. Sex with a ten year old child is a crime and few crimes are more reviled in our society than rape or paedophilia. Read More

  • Medicare becoming a luxury we cannot afford

    John Lee | 31 Oct 2007 | Unleashed Blog

    Medicare is becoming an anachronism. The ``free and universal'' taxpayer-funded health systems of the twentieth century were created in an age when medicine was rudimentary and inexpensive, the old died... Read More

  • The welfare lobby is at it again

    Peter Saunders | 29 Oct 2007 | The Australian

    Australia’s welfare lobby is at it again. In a report issued this week, an alliance of welfare groups claimed that over 11 per cent of Australian households are living in poverty, and that their numbers... Read More

  • Hospital ‘crisis’ signals health challenges ahead

    Jeremy Sammut | 25 Oct 2007 | The Newcastle Herald

    Pre-election promises to ‘fix’ the public hospital system count for little when politicians lack the courage to implement good policy. Read More

  • Pokie in the eye for paternalism

    Peter Saunders | 22 Sep 2007 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Pokies are soul-destroying. People sit on stools, eyes glazed over, looking like they're dosed up on soma, the soporific drug from Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. It is not like the craps table in a casino,... Read More

  • Labor focus is on the wrong health problem

    Jeremy Sammut | 08 Sep 2007 | The Newcastle Herald

    A Rudd Labor government will spend $220 million to establish "GP super clinics" in regional and outer metropolitan regions. Incentive payments are to be offered to encourage doctors and allied health professionals... Read More

  • Health policy fails to target problem

    Jeremy Sammut | 03 Sep 2007 | The Canberra Times

    The sound and fury accompanying Kevin Rudd's hospital reform plan means you might have missed the primary care initiative announced by the Federal Opposition last week. A Rudd Labor government will spend... Read More

  • With A High IQ Comes Need For Special Education

    | 06 Aug 2007 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    When it comes to education of the intellectually gifted, Australia and the United States share a common dread of admitting the obvious. The intellectually gifted exist, and they end up running the country... Read More

  • Teachers key to remote schools

    Kirsten Storry | 18 Jun 2007 | The Australian

    In Aurukun on Queensland's Cape York, the school leadership refuses to accept that the complexity of the issues facing the indigenous community is an excuse for its children not getting a good education. Read More

  • Graduate supply fails to match jobs demand

    Andrew Norton | 27 Mar 2007 | The Newcastle Herald

    THIS year more than 170,000 Australians will enrol in an undergraduate course, yet according to academics and politicians there should be more. Read More

  • Paying idle parents bad for kids Get a job, mum

    Peter Saunders | 21 Mar 2007 | The Geelong Advertiser

    A UN report comparing the well-being of children across the world's 25 richest countries recently produced a spate of disturbing headlines. These media reports generated predictable responses from welfare... Read More

  • Just one value will do fine - live and let live

    Peter Saunders | 20 Sep 2006 | The Newcastle Herald

    The current debate over citizenship and ‘Australian values’ makes me wish our political leaders had learned a little basic sociology in their youth. Read More

  • Trying harder to keep families together

    | 08 Sep 2006 | The Herald Sun

    A pat on the back for John Howard, whose government has now published its plans for a long overdue reform of family law in Australia . Read More

  • For decision on childcare mum's (or dad's) the word

    Peter Saunders | 01 Jun 2006 | The Canberra Times

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics has found that one-third of children in formal child care are there for ‘non-work reasons.’ In other words, mum isn’t employed and she’s using child care for... Read More

  • Whichever way you dice it, compulsory voting is evil

    | 23 Jan 2006 | The Canberra Times

    One of the great myths of Australian politics is that voting isn't really compulsory. The view persists that all voters need do on the day is turn up and have their name crossed off the register. Kim Beazley,... Read More

  • Fix policies to make housing affordable

    Peter Saunders | 16 Mar 2005

    The house price bubble has finally burst. While it lasted, the boom added substantially to the wealth of existing home owners, but it has made home ownership more expensive for aspiring new buyers. Read More

  • A fine idea, but it could be unfair

    Peter Saunders | 19 Jan 2005 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    The Australia Institute has proposed that speeding and parking fines should be graduated to reflect the income of offenders. The more you earn, the bigger the fine should be. Read More

  • Uni reform package to benefit students

    Andrew Norton | 20 Jun 2003 | The Canberra Times

    In most political controversies, the Government exaggerates the benefit of its policies, and the Opposition exaggerates the drawbacks. In the current higher education debate, the Opposition is playing... Read More

  • Welfare for parents increases risk of poverty

    Peter Saunders | 18 Jun 2003 | The Australian Financial Review

    It's time to eliminate the welfare incentives that keep single parents out of the workforce, a strategy most Australians agree with, argues Peter Saunders. Read More

  • There's no conspiracy about poverty, there's just the facts

    Peter Saunders | 14 May 2003 | The Age

    It's an old tactic in politics. When you want to drown out your opponent's arguments, don't address what they say, just trash their reputation. Read More

  • We need more police and to use them better

    Nicole Billante | 25 Mar 2003 | The Canberra Times

    Across Australia the number of police per 10,000 people has risen by about 37 per cent between 1964 and 2000. The ratio of police to persons varies by state, but, with the exclusion of the Northern Territory,... Read More

  • NZ school zoning: fairness or fraud?

    Jennifer Buckingham | 20 Mar 2003 | The Independant

    Good state schools in both New Zealand and Australia are facing a large and growing problem—fraud. Families are providing false addresses within a school’s zone so that their children can attend the... Read More

  • A glimmer of hope on the mean streets

    Nicole Billante | 06 Mar 2003 | The Australian

    Statistics coming out of NSW this week suggest that the 40-year trend of rising crime in Australia may be coming to an end. Over the past two years, robberies, burglaries and car theft fell substantially... Read More

  • Leaks look lousy for lingerers - reform starts with naughty students

    Andrew Norton | 26 Feb 2003 | The Australian

    If the leaks from Canberra are to be believed, the Government is planning to track university students through a centralised computer system. It will keep records of students' time at university, loan... Read More

  • Fertility incentives off the mark

    Jennifer Buckingham | 20 Feb 2003 | The Newcastle Herald

    The low fertility rate in this country is just as much about women having fewer children as it is about fewer women having children. Although childlessness has increased in the past two decades, around... Read More

  • Tax is the key to welfare reform

    Peter Saunders | 20 Jan 2003 | The Australian Financial Review

    Tony Abbott wants to reform tax and welfare so that it pays to work. His recent speech did not go into detail, but he wants to replace the existing system of pensions and allowances for working-age adults... Read More

  • Working to beat the poverty trap

    Peter Saunders | 11 Dec 2002

    Two misconceptions continually cloud debates about poverty in Australia.  One is that poverty is widespread and getting worse.  The other is that the best way to tackle poverty is by increasing taxes... Read More

  • Pay increases don't help the unemployed

    Kayoko Tsumori | 05 Dec 2002 | The Australian Financial Review

    A few weeks ago, the Australian Council of Trade Unions announced yet another 'living wage' claim. It plans to seek, in 2003, a $24.60 per week pay rise for all award workers, bringing the minimum wage... Read More

  • Poverty - flawed figures, gloomy estimates

    Peter Saunders | 22 Nov 2002 | The Adelaide Advertiser

    Poverty is a harsh word for harsh conditions. It conjures up images of people sleeping rough and of children going hungry and nobody wants that. Most Australians are therefore happy to support policies... Read More

  • The poor are not poorer in fact

    Peter Saunders | 26 Oct 2002 | The Age

    The Commonwealth Government has just acceded to pressure from the ALP and the welfare-spending lobby to set up a Senate inquiry into poverty. If this inquiry succeeds in clearing up some of the misconceptions... Read More

  • Only deregulation can create jobs

    Kayoko Tsumori | 21 Oct 2002 | The Australian Financial Review

    The unemployment rate in August 2002 stood at 6.2%—a high figure considering continuing economic growth. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 622,700 unemployed people, but only... Read More

  • The Parent Trap: Will paid maternity leave really lift the birthrate?

    | 20 Jul 2002 | The Australian Financial Review

    Heather Ridout, deputy chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, says government-funded basic maternity leave is desirable but needs to be augmented by more child care support and flexible working... Read More

  • Now is the time for fecund thoughts

    Jennifer Buckingham | 18 Jul 2002 | The Australian

    It's easy to find reasons to put off having a baby. You want to travel first. You want to have a career first. You want to buy a house first. You want to maintain your independence for a while longer.... Read More

  • The poor need trade, not aid

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 22 Jun 2002 | The Australian Financial Review

    Australia is not alone in its 'asylum seeker' problems. 'Asylum seekers' are putting pressures on liberal democracies world-wide, with ensuing conflict between compassion and rules that avoid future social... Read More

  • Leave off, tax breaks can redress child costs

    Barry Maley | 01 May 2002 | The Australian

    Three fundamental issues underlie the maternity leave debate. First is the form and level of assistance governments should provide to help meet the costs of having children. Read More

  • Poverty lines tangled: An influential report claiming that one in eight Australians lives in poverty is wrong

    Kayoko Tsumori | 17 Jan 2002 | The Age

    Our paper, Poor Arguments: A Response to the Smith Family Report on Poverty in Australia - questioning the claims that one in eight Australians is living in poverty today, and that poverty has risen in... Read More

  • For richer or poorer, we're still a lucky country: Don't exaggerate the extent of poverty in Australia

    Peter Saunders | 16 Jan 2002 | The Australian

    The Australian economy experienced remarkable growth during most of the 1990s.  Yet social researchers are still claiming that poverty is extensive – and even that it is getting worse.  The latest... Read More

  • The great drink-driving scandal: Police road blitzes are wasteful and an affront to our liberties

    Peter Saunders | 13 Dec 2001 | The Age

    Over the last Labour Day weekend in NSW, 106,396 people were apprehended by the police in a major operation lasting 72 hours.  Of these, 105,950 (99.6 per cent) were found to be innocent and were released;... Read More

  • A generation drowns in boos: Repairing society's attitude to rearing children would be revolutionary

    Frank Devine | 13 Dec 2001 | The Australian

    The Centre’s eight-year research project, Taking Children Seriously, has established empirically that at least this generation’s children get the best start to life in the environment Peter Saunders... Read More

  • Children pay the price of gender feminism war

    Barry Maley | 12 Dec 2001 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    For some radical feminists, males are patriarchal oppressors and the family is their torture chamber. Hence their taboo on men talking about the effects of feminism upon family life and the rearing of... Read More

  • A clumsy hand is no help: Governments are no good at social policy

    Peter Saunders | 06 Dec 2001 | The Australian

    US founding father and third president Thomas Jefferson was right after all: “The government that governs least is the government that govern best”. Read More

  • Why multicultural Australia is less welcome

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 29 Nov 2001 | The Age

    Now that the electorate has shown resounding support for a principled approach to asylum seekers, a serious debate is emerging about what Australia can do for refugees and what we should do, in our own... Read More

  • Set our unis free

    Andrew Norton | 21 Nov 2001 | The Australian

    It takes some imagination to describe Australia’s universities as showing ‘clear indications of market failure’, but academics Len Bahnisch and Iean Russell do so in their recent article (7/11) advocating... Read More

  • Modern perils in a lucky country

    Jennifer Buckingham | 31 Aug 2001 | The Daily Telegraph

    What is the state of our nation? For the most part, Australians are better off than they have ever been before. On average, the people of Australia are healthier, wealthier, more educated and more active... Read More

  • Sorry, we're not a soft target

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 29 Aug 2001 | The Australian

    Church and other refugee support groups are absolutely right.  The plight of the boat people is terrible.  Pure compassion dictates that they should be welcomed with open arms. Read More

  • Children Missing in the Young Country

    Barry Maley | 09 Jan 2001 | The Courier Mail

    To keep the level of Australia’s population steady, without immigration, an average of 2.1 births per woman is needed. Today, our birth rate is 1.7 births per woman—well below the level needed to reproduce... Read More

  • Spending More on Healthcare is Good For You

    Steven Schwartz | 19 Oct 2000 | The Australian

    Australian health care spending has increased in real terms every year since Medicare was introduced. Rationing, exemplified by the current freeze on elective surgery in Victoria’s public hospitals,... Read More

  • What’s fair about defining disadvantage?

    Andrew Norton | 30 Nov -0001 | Melbourne University Campus Review

    Read More

  • Threshold issues for a tax system that creates jobs

    Peter Saunders | 30 Nov -0001 | The Australian Financial Review

    An important debate is taking place in Australia about the future of welfare, taxation and award wages. The outcome of this debate will influence the shape of social policy for years to come. Read More

  • Report card for schools

    Jennifer Buckingham | 30 Nov -0001

    In a paradigm shift, four reports on education reform commissioned by the federal government agree on decentralisation, school choice, non-government schools, and private investment. Read More