Federalism – The Centre for Independent Studies


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.


Attitudes to a post-Covid Australia
Robert Carling, Simon Cowan
26 August 2021 | AP25

There are both reasons for optimism and reasons for pessimism in this paper. The poll suggests that Australians are unlikely to meekly accept ongoing lockdowns once vaccination reaches critical levels. Only a small minority believe we should continue to chase Covid Zero exclusively. Moreover, few…

A House Divided: The AFRB and China's Subnational Diplomacy in Australia
Salvatore Babones
12 November 2020 | AP17

This paper examines China’s subnational diplomacy in Australia and the suitability of Australia’s Foreign Relations Bill (AFRB) as a tool for countering it. The AFRB is designed to help the Commonwealth keep tabs on international diplomacy involving Australian states, territories, local governments, and public universities.…

The 12-Week Window: Coronavirus crisis Australia didn’t have to have
Salvatore Babones
02 June 2020 | AP9

The coronavirus crisis was ‘the crisis that Australia didn’t have to have’. This paper lays out a detailed weekly timeline of the crucial first twelve weeks of the crisis, which were Australia’s window of opportunity for fighting the virus at the border instead of in…

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,…

Media & Commentary

Tunnelling under federalism principles
Robert Carling
10 May 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

As an election campaign issue, federalism doesn’t rate a mention. But commitments are being made in the campaign that disregards the principles of federalism and undermines its foundations more than…

Anning is a Senator because of democratic will, not in spite of it
Simon Cowan

In all the furore over Fraser Anning’s appalling maiden speech, a number of people have pointed out that he was elected on just 19 personal votes (one of the lowest…

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
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…