Most people agree that some rules are necessary for markets to work. But what rules do we really need? And how can we make sure they do not become too much of a burden on businesses and consumers?


Red tape and Australia’s economic malaise
Michael Potter
07 February 2018 | OP164

Australia is in a period of economic malaise. GDP per person has been growing slowly ever since the GFC. Australia’s performance is mediocre compared to other developed countries; by contrast, we outperformed before the GFC. Household incomes and wages are also growing at slow rates,…

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…

Reforming Social Housing: financing and tenant autonomy
Michael Potter
27 April 2017 | RR25

Around 400,000 Australians live in social housing, which includes public and community housing. This sector is ripe for reform, with many public housing dwellings failing adequacy standards, numerous tenants are dissatisfied and live in housing that is too small or too large for their needs.…

Youth Unemployment in Australia
Patrick Carvalho
22 November 2015 | Research Report 7

This report looks at quantifying the rising youth unemployment problem, understanding its causes and proposing policy solutions. Youth employment has progressively taken a hit after the Global Financial Crisis, practically doubling since mid-2008. At an average rate of 13.5% in the past 12 months, the…

Media & Commentary

New CIS research: Let Money Speak -- the case for deregulating donations
Simon Cowan
25 April 2018 | MEDIA RELEASE

The government’s attempt to ban foreign donations — and impose substantial and onerous transparency regulations on civil society — is misguided, according to the latest research from the Centre for…

Even a magic nanny would struggle with childcare policy
Eugenie Joseph
12 February 2018 | THE SPECTATOR: FLAT WHITE

The threat by childcare union, United Voice, to strike next month over low wages reflects a bizarre belief that government is a Mary Poppins who can miraculously produce a 30%…

Australia's political winners and losers of a year of uncertainty
Simon Cowan
23 December 2017 | CANBERRA TIMES

As 2017 began with the resignation of a Cabinet Minister, you would have been forgiven for thinking that might have been a defining moment of the political year. Forgiven, but…

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.…

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…