The Role of Think Tanks: A Reply to the Critics

Jeremy Sammut
13 June 2016 | OP145
The Role of Think Tanks:  A Reply to the Critics

Because their aims are educational and democratic, what think tanks do and why they do it is entirely transparent: they ensure their research is publically available and seek to ensure it is disseminated via the media to as broad an audience as possible in the hope of swaying public opinion. Critics who promote the myth that all centre-right think tanks are Machiavellian backroom enterprises that pull the strings of feeble-minded politician-puppets, are choosing to ignore what is staring them in the face about think tanks’ so-called hidden influence. Publically declaring the policies and detailing the reasons why they want members of parliament to support these policies is both democratic and transparent, as well as a constant reminder that a think tank will achieve political influence only subject to the democratic process. Any influence over legislative outcomes will be entirely subject to the decisions made by democratically-elected representatives who are ultimately accountable to their electorates for those decisions.

Buy Hardcopy
Latest Publications

Creativity in an Age of Constraint
Lionel Shriver
02 October 2019 | OP172

2019 John Bonython Lecture – Creativity in the Age of Constraint The proliferating dos and don’ts of political correctness, the predations of ‘gotcha’ identity politics and the hypersensitivities of the #MeToo movement are battering and boxing creativity. There is a danger in faithfully following this host of concocted rules and dutifully avoiding stepping on a plethora of toes. Among other…

READ MORE
The China Challenge
Rowan Callick
28 July 2019 | OP171

The rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has helped make Australia rich, but it is also posing challenges to its values, interests, alliances and thus its identity. Xi Xinping’s ambitious New Era represents a decisive break with the Old Era under Deng Xiaoping when China’s foreign policy was to ‘hide’ its strength and ‘bide’ its time. China is…

READ MORE
Taking Back Control: Restoring Universalism in the Age of Identity Politics
Amanda Stoker
16 April 2019 | OP170

It can feel safer avoiding conversations on social issues that can be landmines at the best of times. But the longer those who believe in freedom and responsibility sit on the sidelines, the longer we give free rein for others to shape the debate. Where we can start to shift debate is on the role of government and other institutions…

READ MORE
Why God is Good for You
Greg Sheridan
28 November 2018 | OP169

Conversation with The Australian’s Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan and CIS senior research fellow Peter Kurti on the intellectual, historical and cultural case for belief in God. Australia and many parts of the West are losing faith in God. And yet the Judeo-Christian tradition has created and underpinned the moral and legal fabric of Western Civilisation. Where the moral certainties that underpin Australia’s institutions and laws are…

READ MORE
Have We All Gone Mad? The Snowflake Epidemic
Steven Schwartz, Lindsay Shepherd, Claire Lehmann, Tiffany Jenkins
22 November 2018 | OP168

University campuses throughout the West are in the grip of a troubling social phenomenon, now in danger of spreading beyond the ivy walls. Once bastions of intellectual rigour and freedom of thought, universities have become closed-minded and self-censoring, pandering to what appear from the outside to be ridiculously heightened sensitivities and undeserved entitlement. Safe spaces, trigger warnings and counselling on…

READ MORE