The Nanny State

The state is supposed to set a framework in which people can live peacefully together. Recently, governments around the world have been inclined to go beyond this traditional role. Instead of issuing some basic rules in which we can live our lives as we please, they are now trying to prescribe specific ways of life. Can this ever be justified or are government nannies just infantilizing society?


Creativity in an Age of Constraint
Lionel Shriver
02 October 2019 | OP172

2019 John Bonython Lecture – Creativity in the Age of Constraint The proliferating dos and don’ts of political correctness, the predations of ‘gotcha’ identity politics and the hypersensitivities of the #MeToo movement are battering and boxing creativity. There is a danger in faithfully following this…

A Viable Option: A National Adoption Framework
Jeremy Sammut
06 June 2018 | PP4

Implementation of the National Child Protection Accountability Framework would correct the bias towards ‘early intervention and prevention’ — in isolation from other important policies and outcomes, especially permanency — evident in the existing National Framework introduced under the Rudd Government in 2009. The new national…

What’s happened to the University?
Frank Furedi, Marguerite Johnson, Steven Schwartz
05 February 2018 | OP163

Trigger warnings, cultural appropriation and safe spaces. Who decided to bestow guardian status to Australian universities? And why should we let this proliferation of politically correct ideals become the norm, prescribing, censoring or outright banning texts, gagging speech and curbing the exchange of ideas? “The…

Liberty and Surveillance: What should governments and private corporations know about you?
Tom Simpson
30 January 2018 | OP162

Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA hacked the internet as a key part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence program. Since these revelations in 2013, legislation has largely served to give a secure legal backing to what was previously an undisclosed, covert and sometimes informal…

Submission to the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into Personal Choice and Community Impacts 2015
11 August 2015

The CIS submission into the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry proposed two tightly targeted areas be changed: 1. That the Department of Health withdraw all financial support for the Health Star Rating system, including explanatory websites, public awareness campaigns, and studies of its effectiveness. 2. That the government…

Media & Commentary

Government taskforce wins Nanny Awards
Steven Schwartz
13 December 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

The Centre for Independent Studies’ highly uncoveted Nanny State awards (The Nannies) go to the year’s most absurd, ridiculous, and bizarre attempts by governments to meddle in our lives and…

Only big government can save us from Roquefort cheese: the 2019 Nanny Award winners unveiled
Steven Schwartz
12 December 2019 | Spectator

The Centre for Independent Studies’ highly uncoveted Nanny Awards (The Nannies) go to the year’s most absurd, ridiculous, and bizarre attempts by governments to meddle in our lives and mind our business.  With every level of government working…

The North Sydney Nannies
Monica Wilkie
26 July 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

Not only are nanny state laws illiberal and infantilising for adults, they often overlook better solutions. Nowhere is this clearer than with government anti-smoking policies. North Sydney Councillors have unanimously…

You can’t advertise that
Monica Wilkie
03 May 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

The Queensland government has announced it will ban junk food advertising at government-owned sites such as train stations and bus stops. The Brisbane Times reported, “Foods will be ruled in…

Don’t regulate social media out of existence
Simon Cowan
29 March 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

The Christchurch massacre is providing further impetus to a move that has been underway for a while to dramatically increase social media companies’ obligations for the content they host. In…