Social Policy

The Centre for Independent Studies remains at the forefront of social policy debate in Australia, with a focus on key issues such as welfare, health care, education and child protection. Ending the growth of the welfare state is a priority for the CIS social research team, as government spending on welfare continues to increase, seemingly unabated.

Since the 1980s, the CIS has been researching social policy issues, with the aim of promoting policies that emphasise personal responsibility and individual choice.

The CIS seeks a future for Australia that has individual freedom under a limited government. We believe that such a future would strengthen community life, leading to a more cohesive and flourishing civil society.

Follow the links for further information on our major social policy areas:

Featured Publication


The Battle of Ideas: can the beliefs that feed terrorism be changed?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Denis Dragovic, Tanveer Ahmed, Peter Kurti
19 September 2016 | OP149

Defeating violent Islamic extremism has been a high priority for all western countries, including Australia, since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. However, the threat we face doesn’t so much come from zealots flying planes into buildings as from young people barely out of childhood and…

Mapping the Indigenous Program and Funding Maze
Sara Hudson
23 August 2016 | Research Report 18

There is much goodwill in Australia to improve Indigenous outcomes. However, too many programs are implemented because of their perceived benefit, rather than a rigorous assessment of what works. This research report maps the number of government and non-government Indigenous programs and potential level of…

Homeland Truths: The Unspoken Epidemic of Violence in Indigenous Communities
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price
25 July 2016 | OP148

Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s speech is a powerful personal plea to stop the violence against women and children by men and in particular, indigenous males.  She talks about the need for positive cultural change and for Indigenous people to take back responsibility to resolve entrenched issues.…

The High Court, Democracy and Same Sex Marriage
Barry Maley
19 July 2016 | OP147

The High Court in 2013 overturned the understanding of marriage in the Marriage Act 1961 as an exclusive, voluntary, heterosexual union for life, and that the Constitution therefore allowed the introduction of same sex marriage if the Parliament so decided. It is argued that the…

The Democratic Deficit: How Minority Fundamentalism Threatens Liberty in Australia
Peter Kurti
12 July 2016 | Research Report 16

We are faced with a new kind of fundamentalism – call it ‘minority fundamentalism.’ It has all the features of religious fundamentalism, such as ideological fanaticism, intolerance of dissent, and a Manichaean certainty about truth and falsehood. The goal of the minority fundamentalists is to…

Media & Commentary

Lack of accountability biggest issue in Indigenous affairs
Sara Hudson
23 September 2016 | Spectator Flat White

  For too long governments have convinced themselves they are contributing to better Indigenous outcomes simply because they are spending money on Indigenous programs. As a result of the belief…

Focusing on the family
Trisha Jha
23 September 2016 | Ideas@TheCentre

There’s been a lot of focus on early childhood development as the site of inequality in the past few years. Persistent gaps in educational achievement for disadvantaged children are frequently…

FIVE from FIVE helps parents get children ready to read
Jennifer Buckingham
23 September 2016 | Ideas@TheCentre

One in five Australian children begin school with poor language skills. In disadvantaged areas, it’s close to one in three. Parents and carers have an essential role in building language…

No need for the justice reinvestment label to fight crime
Sara Hudson
23 September 2016 | Ideas@TheCentre

There is no doubt we need strategies to tackle the high Indigenous crime rate but crime prevention initiatives shouldn’t be reliant on funding being diverted from the prison system —…

There's no room for child marriages in Australia
Peter Kurti
22 September 2016 | Daily Telegraph

Horrifying news of a spike in forced child marriages needs to prompt some serious questions about the wisdom of Australia’s official policy of multiculturalism. According to Australian Federal Police figures…