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


Youth Unemployment in Australia
Patrick Carvalho
22 November 2015 | Research Report 7

This report looks at quantifying the rising youth unemployment problem, understanding its causes and proposing policy solutions. Youth employment has progressively taken a hit after the Global Financial Crisis, practically doubling since mid-2008. At an average rate of 13.5% in the past 12 months, the…

The Madness of Australian Child Protection: Why Adoption Will Rescue Australia's Underclass Children
Jeremy Sammut
11 November 2015 | Connorcourt Publishing

Why are Australian children abused and neglected in plain sight of the child welfare authorities supposed to protect them? This passionate account of a flawed system argues that the crisis besetting child protection regimes nation-wide will not end until the taboo on the use of…

Health Innovation
Rohan Mead, Mark Fitzgibbon, Angus Taylor, Jeremy Sammut
22 September 2015

It’s time to reposition health research. In the wake of the Medicare co-payment debate it is clear that talking about health reform solely in the context of debt and deficits is producing diminishing returns. We need to change the conversation about health by emphasising the benefits –…

Free to Choose Charter Schools: How charter and for-profit schools can boost public education
Trisha Jha, Jennifer Buckingham
31 August 2015 | Research Report 6

Charter schools and free schools – publicly-funded, privately-managed schools – have been introduced in several countries around the world as a way of extending school choice, particularly for low income families. This report examines the policies and research on charter schools and their equivalents in…

Can we afford old age?
Cassandra Goldie, Jeremy Cooper, Simon Cowan
07 July 2015

Australia is getting older. Rising life expectancy brings with it the prospect of not years but decades in retirement. Can we afford the costs of old age? Will superannuation give retirees the standard of living they want? Is pension spending sustainable if it will triple…

Media & Commentary

Focus on enabling those Aboriginal people who are in most need of support
Sara Hudson
12 February 2016

The Prime Minister’s Closing the Gap speech this week confirmed the failings of a policy that treats all Indigenous people as disadvantaged and in need of support — ignoring those…

Learning to learn to read
Jennifer Buckingham
05 February 2016 | Ideas@TheCentre

Reading seems so straightforward. Skilled reading is unconscious and automatic ­– most people are not aware of the complex cognitive processes taking place. Few adults remember how they learned to…

Beyond school choice
Trisha Jha
05 February 2016 | Ideas@TheCentre

The right of parents to choose their child’s school is the foundation of CIS’s education program. We have been talking about vouchers, defending non-government schools and advocating choice for decades.…

PM's Closing the Gap statement on repeat
Sara Hudson
05 February 2016 | Ideas@TheCentre

Every February, the Prime Minister makes a Closing the Gap statement — and every year the incumbent reports pretty much the same findings: ‘while there have been some improvements, overall,…

Public health needs a jab of private productivity
Jeremy Sammut
05 February 2016 | The Australian

Since the 2013 election, the national conversation has been dominated by calls to revive the mojo of the 1980s and undertake economic reform to repair government budgets. Yet according to…