The aim of the research at the CIS is to work towards an efficient and predictable tax system that does not impose too great a burden on the economy.


From Reform to Retreat: 30 Years of Australian Fiscal Policy
Robert Carling
10 December 2017 | OP161

Australia entered an era of economic reform in the mid-1980s as policymakers resolved to liberalise the country’s economy and strengthen its public finances. Fiscal reform, which is the subject of this paper, was an important part of the process. These reforms included management of the…

UBI – Universal Basic Income is an Unbelievably Bad Idea
Simon Cowan
05 November 2017 | RR32

The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), paid by the government to its citizens with few restrictions, has been around for a long time. One of the main justifications for introducing a UBI is the impending changes to the labour market as a result…

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…

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…

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.…

Media & Commentary

Why not an obesity tax, rather than a sugar tax?
Matthew O’Donnell

Once upon a time, New Year’s resolutions were the purview of the individual. You made an unwritten pact with yourself to read more books or to join a gym. Sometimes…

Revenue sharing is not responsibility
Robert Carling

 The Queensland government submission to the Productivity Commission review of GST distribution suggests the Commonwealth government should share its income tax revenue with the states. At first glance, this looks…

Will Turnbull be the magician of GST reform?
Robert Carling
03 January 2018 | THE SPECTATOR - FLAT WHITE

Reforming the system of GST distribution among the states (‘horizontal fiscal equalisation’, or HFE) is unlikely to be on Malcolm Turnbull’s or Scott Morrison’s lists of New Year resolutions, but…

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…

The federal budget is still in a fragile state
Robert Carling
20 December 2017 | BUSINESS INSIDER

A dollop of good fiscal fortune — a scarce commodity in Australia’s recent fiscal history — has enabled Treasurer Scott Morrison to boast of a federal budget deficit revised down…