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

CRACKING UP? Culture and the Displacement of Virtue
Peter Kurti
09 July 2019 | AP4

Unease has been growing that something has changed for the worse in our culture. The change is perceptible but often defies precise description; yet it provokes this unease because of a concern that the foundations of our common social life have become unstable. This sense…

Taking Back Control: Restoring Universalism in the Age of Identity Politics
Amanda Stoker
16 April 2019 | OP170

It can feel safer avoiding conversations on social issues that can be landmines at the best of times. But the longer those who believe in freedom and responsibility sit on the sidelines, the longer we give free rein for others to shape the debate. Where…

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…

Media & Commentary

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…

Free speech vs hate speech
Monica Wilkie
15 March 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to stopping hate speech, expressing his concern at what he described as, “…a groundswell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance –…

Does Western Civilisation Have a Future?
Wolfgang Kasper
22 February 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

Western civilisation, built on a foundation of individual freedom, rational, fact-based thinking and democracy, has been a major driver of progress around the world. Yet, the rules that constitute the…

Australians shouldn’t be ashamed
Simon Cowan
25 January 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

In recent weeks we have been treated to yet another #changethedate campaign based on how terrible it is to celebrate Australia Day on the day of the arrival of the…