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

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…

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…