The CIS examines the roles and responsibilities of commonwealth, state and local governments, the fiscal aspects of federalism and the benefits a federal structure brings to Australia.


Medi-Mess: Rational Federalism and Patient Cost-Sharing for Public Hospital Sustainability in Australia
David Gadiel, Jeremy Sammut
16 July 2017 | RR30

The latest attempt to ‘end the blame game’ between the state and federal governments over health funding was scuttled after state premiers rejected Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘tax swap’ federalism reform proposal at the April 2016 COAG meeting.  The intransigence of the states —and 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.…

The Case for a New Australian Settlement: Ruminations of an Inveterate Economist
Wolfgang Kasper
26 June 2015 | OP141

Australia needs a cultural counter-revolution that appeals to the traditional Australian spirit of self-reliance and can-do optimism – a new ‘Australian settlement’ which goes beyond mere economic policy. It should be underpinned by agreed basic understandings across political and social divides: (i) ours is a…

Public Money: Federal-State Financial Relations and the Constitutional Limits on Spending Public Money
Anne Twomey, Robert Carling
29 October 2014 | OP138

It is uncontroversial that federal-state financial relations need reform, but it is necessary to understand how we got to the current position and what constitutional constraints and principles are relevant to future reforms. Those who wrote the Commonwealth Constitution understood that they were handing over…

Sovereignty, Blame Games and Tony Abbott’s New Federalism
Anne Twomey, Jeremy Sammut, Nick Greiner, Robert Carling
28 August 2014 | PF27

In July 2014, the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) held a public forum on reform of the Australian federation, which continued the CIS’s involvement in issues related to Australian federalism over many years. It was held at this time in response to Prime Minister Abbott’s…

Media & Commentary

Citizenship question or entitlement mentality?
Simon Cowan
10 November 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

Any person who … is a subject or citizen … of a foreign power … shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member…

Australia needs a fiscal State of Origin clash, not failed cooperative federalism
Simon Cowan
28 October 2017 | The Canberra Times

Because Queensland have won 11 of the last 12 State of Origin rugby league series, until NSW achieves parity, some Maroons players will be forced to change sides until NSW…

Federal-state reform should not mean more tax
Robert Carling
20 January 2015 | Australian Financial Review

When Tony Abbott said recently that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) should be “looked at”, the public response was to focus on that remark at the expense of everything…

Blame game risks missing a chance to change
Greg Lindsay
26 November 2014 | Australian Financial Review

When I’m asked about what’s wrong with government, people are expressing their frustrations through the question, and usually complaining that Australians are over-governed.   ‘Too many layers’, ‘get rid of the…

MEDIA RELEASE: Public money for public benefit, not political purposes
Anne Twomey
30 October 2014

The economic imbalance in Commonwealth-State financial relations highlighted in recent reports from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) and the National Commission of Audit was not an accident,…