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.


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,…

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…

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
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…