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


It’s The Economy, Stupid: Economic participation only way to Close the Gap
Nyunggai Warren Mundine
14 July 2020 | AP11

The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians exists for one reason — too many Indigenous people do not participate in the real economy. The key areas of economic participation are having a job and setting up a business. Both depend on commerce and private enterprise.…

Rights, Morals, Dignity: Why defending religious freedom matters
Peter Kurti
10 April 2020 | OP173

Calls for protections of rights are often made without much reflection on what it is, exactly, that needs protecting. In this Occasional Paper, Peter Kurti argues that behind any claim about rights lies a moral claim, and that this claim is essentially about human dignity.…

CRACKING UP? Culture and the Displacement of Virtue
Peter Kurti
09 July 2019 | AP4

Unease has been growing that something has changed for the worse in our culture. The change is perceptible but often defies precise description; yet it provokes this unease because of a concern that the foundations of our common social life have become unstable. This sense…

Changing the Narrative
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price
01 June 2019

Prospectus for the CIS Indigenous Research Program  Despite meaningful intentions by government and NGOs to close the gap, the billions of dollars spent have not achieved their goal. In order to begin to solve the issues faced by Australia’s most marginalised citizens, the narrative must…

Taking Back Control: Restoring Universalism in the Age of Identity Politics
Amanda Stoker
16 April 2019 | OP170

It can feel safer avoiding conversations on social issues that can be landmines at the best of times. But the longer those who believe in freedom and responsibility sit on the sidelines, the longer we give free rein for others to shape the debate. Where…

Media & Commentary

Feel-good measures will widen the gap
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price
30 July 2020 | Daily Telegraph

There are glaring problems with Ken Wyatt’s Close the Gap targets. If you are going to set a (probably unachievable) target to reduce Indigenous incarceration by 15 per cent, then…

Dead hand of the state will be our JobKiller if it persists beyond the pandemic
Tom Switzer
25 July 2020 | Sydney Morning Herald

In this week’s fiscal update, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered the bad news – the highest unemployment since the early 1990s, the largest budget deficit since World War II and the…

Welfare windfall to linger
Glenn Fahey
16 July 2020 | Ideas@TheCentre

Tapering — rather than topping up — income support is key to sustainably and compassionately backing Australia’s vulnerable households and firms. The defining challenge facing policymakers through the course of…

BLM’s inconvenient truth
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price
16 July 2020 | Ideas@TheCentre

The greatest failing of the Black Lives Matter movement in Australia, and a complete contradiction to their cause, is that it ignores the lives taken at the hands of other…

Dos and don’ts for recovery
Simon Cowan
16 July 2020 | Ideas@TheCentre

Governments have operated in crisis mode more or less continuously for six months, introducing flawed policies quickly in response to the bushfire crisis and then Covid-19. Governments now must take…