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

Mapping migrants: Australians’ wide-ranging experiences of immigration
Charles Jacobs
05 December 2018 | PP13

Australians’ experiences of immigration are highly varied. Using 2016 ABS Census data, this POLICY Paper finds that – statistically – the wealth of the suburb we live in can have a major impact on the type of interaction we may have with migrants.  These different…

Have We All Gone Mad? The Snowflake Epidemic
Steven Schwartz, Lindsay Shepherd, Claire Lehmann, Tiffany Jenkins
22 November 2018 | OP168

University campuses throughout the West are in the grip of a troubling social phenomenon, now in danger of spreading beyond the ivy walls. Once bastions of intellectual rigour and freedom of thought, universities have become closed-minded and self-censoring, pandering to what appear from the outside…

Australian Attitudes to Immigration: Coming Apart or Common Ground?
Jeremy Sammut, Monica Wilkie
18 November 2018 | PP11

Immigration has been a contentious political issue in Australia and overseas for a number of years. Many political parties and figures have emerged promising to severely restrict or halt immigration. Australia has largely avoided significant political disruptions over this issue. However, as immigration levels continue…

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…

Media & Commentary

New book: Legalising euthanasia will tear the fabric of community
Peter Kurti
30 October 2018 | MEDIA RELEASE

A new book says that making euthanasia and assisted suicide legal will harm family relationships, damage the trust we place in the medical profession, and corrode the bonds of civil…

Free speech charters must be more than words
Jeremy Sammut
21 September 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

Federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan, has proposed that Australian universities be required to adopt new codes to protect freedom of thought and expression. This is in response to the growing…

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…