Civil Society

With freedom comes responsibility. A society of free individuals can only function if everyone respects the rights and liberties of everybody else. This means we have to voluntarily limit our own desires and monitor our own behaviour in the hope and expectation that other people will do the same in their relations with us.

But there is evidence that these informal norms governing our behaviour have been fraying over recent decades. The CIS asks what are the causes and consequences of the decline of civility and social cohesion, and what can be done about it?

The research also examines how government is weakening civil society by trying to eradicate risk from our lives and by ‘crowding out’ voluntary activity with state initiatives?

Publications

Conflict vs Mistake: Academic cultures and explanatory conflict
Claire Lehmann
11 September 2018 | OP167

The 2018 Helen Hughes Lecture explains why and how universities are fuelling the corrosive identity politics phenomena that is sweeping western countries. With a mix of erudition and common sense, Claire Lehmann — the founder and editor-in-chief of renowned online magazine Quillette — unpacks complicated…

Curbing Corporate Social Responsibility: Preventing Politicisation – and Preserving Pluralism – in Australian Business
Jeremy Sammut
21 August 2018 | AP2

The unprecedented part that leading that Australian companies played in the same-sex marriage campaign in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)  has led critics to argue that companies should “stick to their knitting” and not meddle in politically-contentious social debates.  CSR threatens to become…

Without Fear or Favour: Practising your Faith and your Profession
Debra Mullins
20 June 2018 | OP165

The adequacy of religious freedom protections in Australia has been now reviewed by the Ruddock Inquiry established by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the same-sex postal survey in later 2017. By late June June 2018, however, the government had yet to release Ruddock’s findings. Nonetheless,…

A Shy Hope in the Mind: Secularisation and the Diversity of Australia’s Religious Economy
Peter Kurti
12 June 2018 | AP1

There are few facets of human society — whether political, social, or economic — that are untouched by the influence of religion. Yet those who oppose any appearance of religion in the Australian public square argue that it simply has no part to play in…

Reason, Repentance, and the Individual: Recovering the Religious Roots of Western Civilisation
Peter Kurti
23 November 2017 | OP160

Reason, repentance, and the individual are three of the principal roots of Western civilization. They are, moreover, roots that are set firmly in the rich soil of our Judeo-Christian heritage. But the danger is that as our commitment to that heritage weakens, so, too, does…

Media & Commentary

Anning is a Senator because of democratic will, not in spite of it
Simon Cowan
18 August 2018 | SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

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…

New CIS research: the case to better secure religious freedom
Robert Forsyth
26 July 2018 | MEDIA RELEASE

There is a case for the better securing of existing freedom of religion, but how it is dealt with in the coming months will be a test of Australia’s maturity,…

Education system produces anti-capitalist millennials
Tom Switzer, Charles Jacobs
21 June 2018 | The Australian

Anyone over the age of 45 will have clear memories of the ecstatic reaction to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. The wall had been erected in…

New CIS Research: Ill-informed Millennials prefer socialism to capitalism
Tom Switzer, Charles Jacobs
20 June 2018 | MEDIA RELEASE

A majority of Australian Millennials have a favourable view of socialism as an ideology, a CIS/YouGov Galaxy poll has found. The number of Millennials who responded they viewed Socialism favourably…

Time offers no escape from justice over sex abuse
Peter Kurti
25 May 2018 | DAILY TELEGRAPH

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson’s conviction sends a loud and clear message about accountability. That Wilson is facing jail for covering up historic acts of sexual abuse perpetrated by fellow priest…