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

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…

The History Wars Matter
Jeremy Sammut
08 November 2017 | OP159

Despite what the post-modern theorists claim, the nation remains the ultimate political reality. The power of the national story to inspire our collective beliefs about ourselves as Australians, and for those beliefs to inspire the direction of our national life, is the reason the history…

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…

Media & Commentary

Migrants must integrate — that’s a fact
Jeremy Sammut
09 January 2018 | DAILY TELEGRAPH

Melbourne is seemingly only now finding out what Sydney has long known: ‘politically correct’ multiculturalism hinders integration and leads to social problems. Melbourne’s African gang crisis shows how lucky we…

Symbolism isn’t substance: it’s symbolism
Simon Cowan
06 October 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

On Tuesday, former acting Liberal Party director, Andrew Bragg tweeted a photo of ABC headquarters in Ultimo that showed both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags — and observed…

An uncivil society?
Meegan Cornforth
29 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

The CIS’s annual Consilium conference was held late last week and saw the usual gathering of the best and brightest minds from business, government, academia, education and science. A common…

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…