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

The Tyranny of Tolerance. Threats to Religious Liberty in Australia
Peter Kurti
18 June 2017 | Connorcourt Publishing

It was a confident expectation for more than a century that religion — its beliefs, doctrines and institutions — would atrophy in the face of growing secularisation. But not only has traditional Christianity survived in liberal western societies; other faiths, most conspicuously Islam, have increasingly…

Terror in the Name of God: Confronting acts of religious violence in a liberal society
Peter Kurti
10 June 2017 | OP154

Acts of violence perpetrated in the name of religion have been reported with great prominence in recent times. Scholars of religion continue to weigh whether people who kill or injure others are really doing so in the name of their God, as they claim; or…

Welfare reform beyond decades of dependence, ‘dole bludgers’ and ‘double dipping’
Simon Cowan
31 May 2017 | OP156

Recent attempts to reform welfare have focused on the wrong elements of the system. In some cases, advocating tightening eligibility for unemployment benefits and single mother payments while simultaneously increasing the scope and cost of family benefits and pension payments. Blaming ‘dole bludgers’ will never…

Ending the Violence in Indigenous Communities
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, Marcia Langton, Josephine Cashman
05 December 2016 | OP152

Urgent action is need to address the epidemic of violence in Indigenous communities. Aboriginal women are between 37 and 80 times more likely to experience family violence than non-Indigenous women. For too long, the voices of the victims of domestic violence have been oppressed and…

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…

Media & Commentary

Towards a circuit-breaker on welfare reform
Susan Windybank
22 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

In a recent post for the Foundation for Economic Freedom, US ethics professor Richard Ebeling revisits the vital role that voluntary associations once played in the United States in providing…

A Test of Australian Maturity
Robert Forsyth
08 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

It’s time not just to focus on who will win the marriage debate, but how we are going to live with the peace. The legislation of same-sex marriage in Australia…

Green zealots anti-Christianism
Peter Kurti
04 August 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

Children are once again being used in an aggressive Green/Left campaign aimed at imposing a hard line secular orthodoxy, contrary to everyday customs and beliefs. Last week, Queensland education officials…

Re-thinking homelessness and mental health policy
Jeremy Sammut
04 August 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

The ‘tent city’ blighting Martin Place outside the Reserve Bank of Australia raises important questions about the cause of homelessness. Predictably, Sydney City Council justifies its appalling inaction by arguing…

Citizen test overreaction
Peter Kurti
23 June 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

Any sovereign state can decide who it will admit as citizens. The Turnbull government now wants to beef up the test permanent residents must take if they want to become…