Economic Policy

The Centre for Independent Studies is guided by the philosophy of free markets and individual responsibility. Our economic policy research centres on ideas that will strengthen Australia’s economy for the future and challenge the reach of big government. With ongoing uncertainty for economies around the world, the CIS’ research into financial and monetary issues is more vital than ever in helping shape public policy.

Continuing economic reform is desperately needed in Australia, and that is why our TARGET30 program seeks to reduce waste in government and in the public sector, and to bring government spending under control.

For more information on our economic research, please proceed to:

Featured Publication


Industrial Relations in Australia: a Handbrake on Prosperity
John Slater
09 July 2017 | OP157

Since the defeat of the Howard Government, industrial relations has come to be seen as the third rail of Australian politics. However, Australia faces a number of major demographic and technological challenges that require much more than piecemeal changes to penalty rates. In order to…

The Major Bank Levy: We’re all going to be hit
Michael Potter
19 June 2017 | RR29

The major bank levy was proposed in the 2017–18 Budget. The levy has numerous flaws including: The costs of the levy will likely be passed on as higher interest rates for mortgages and business loans, harming households and business investment which is very weak. The…

Welfare reform beyond decades of dependence, ‘dole bludgers’ and ‘double dipping’
Simon Cowan
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…

Submission to IPART Review of Social and Affordable Housing Rent Models
Michael Potter
15 May 2017 | CIS Submission

In April, IPART released a draft report into models for setting social and affordable housing rent. The CIS submission on the IPART draft argues for reforms including: All new social housing tenants, and all existing tenants who wish to move, should be provided with informed…

Fiscal Fiction: The Real Medicare Levy
Jeremy Sammut
07 May 2017 | RR27

The Medicare Levy is, and always has been, a fiscal fiction. The revenue raised by the levy is not ‘hypothecated’ – dedicated specifically to fund Medicare – but goes into general government revenue. Moreover, the amount of revenue raised by the levy accounts for a…

Media & Commentary

Free market basics need to be re-learnt
Robert Carling
22 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

The twentieth century taught us enough about the limits to government intervention that the Australian energy market debacle — a failure of intervention, not of markets — could not happen.…

Minimum wage faces the brunt of bracket creep
Robert Carling
18 September 2017 | Canberra Times

All marginal rates of personal income tax are excessive and will become a bigger problem as bracket creep pushes more people into higher brackets. But whereas this point is often…

Hospital a Taj Mahal
Jessica Borbasi
15 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

This week saw the opening of Australia’s most expensive building  — the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. The Royal Adelaide saga has had its share of political controversy, dissension, threatened walk…

Brexit, Waxit, Caxit?
Charles Jacobs
15 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

Exits are the new black. The ongoing withdrawal of Britain from the European Union has seen ‘Brexit’ enter daily language. ‘Frexit’ and ‘Grexit’ popped up as France and Greece experienced…

Last thing the government should do is buy a power station
Robert Carling
09 September 2017 | Australian Financial Review

One of the most common debates in economics is when should government intervene in markets? Government itself – judging by its recent actions – clearly thinks the answer should be…