Civil Society – The Centre for Independent Studies

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 Threat of Identity Politics
Simon Heffer
01 September 2021 | OP184

Global outrage over the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in America last year has been harnessed by activist groups such as Black Lives Matter to support demands for social and political upheaval that go way beyond making racial equality a reality. This…

Attitudes to a post-Covid Australia
Robert Carling, Simon Cowan
26 August 2021 | AP25

There are both reasons for optimism and reasons for pessimism in this paper. The poll suggests that Australians are unlikely to meekly accept ongoing lockdowns once vaccination reaches critical levels. Only a small minority believe we should continue to chase Covid Zero exclusively. Moreover, few…

Cancelling the Culture: Critical Theory and the Chasm of Incoherence
Peter Kurti
03 June 2021 | AP22

Critical Theory exerts a significant intellectual hold on the formation of policy and the conduct of discourse in the Australian public sphere. In its essential form, Critical Theory holds that there are many biases and imbalances of power in society which are hidden from view…

Australians’ Attitudes to Social Media: Connection or Curse?
Monica Wilkie
29 March 2021 | PP37

Social media appears in the news cycle, almost daily, and the majority of the coverage is negative. Politicians from all sides, and bureaucratic agencies have been warning about the apparent danger social media pose to journalism, democracy, business, and civil society. But Australians are far…

Cancelled! How ideological cleansing threatens Australia
Peter Kurti
17 August 2020 | AP13

‘Cancel culture’ campaigns in Australia are intended to erase elements of our history and to deny the record of those who helped found this country. The impulse to impose a revised interpretation of the past poses a danger that threatens to corrode civility, destroy civic…

Media & Commentary

Euthanasia bill a tragedy
Peter Kurti
16 December 2020 | DAILY TELEGRAPH

Even as experts fret about the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of the vulnerable, with a possible spike in suicides, greater access to voluntary death is spreading gradually…

Did Australia pass the COVID-19 test?
Monica Wilkie
11 December 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

As the wintery Northern Hemisphere suffers through a surge in coronavirus cases, Australians feel the relief of low numbers and easing restrictions.   But focussing on COVID cases and deaths…

Second Lockdown inevitable
Monica Wilkie
13 July 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

Parts of Victoria are going back into Stage 3 lockdown. This was inevitable – not due to rising coronavirus cases, but because in March we relinquished everything to fight COVID-19.…

Bursting CSR virtue-signallers’ bubble
Jeremy Sammut
31 May 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

Many pundits have been forced to explain why middle Australia not only rejected Bill Shorten’s class war rhetoric but also spurned Labor’s enthusiastic embrace of identity politics and progressive ideology…

Christchurch brings out best and worst
Jeremy Sammut
22 March 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

The response to the Christchurch atrocity has brought out the best and worst qualities of our public life. The bi-partisan condemnation of terrorism of all kinds has affirmed Australia’s commitment…