Family Life

An open and liberal society is characterised by a flourishing civil society, of which strong families are a fundamental part. The family unit should be valued and subject to minimal government interference, but there are challenges to this principle. To what extent should the state support the family? Is paternalistic intervention in dysfunctional families justified? How and when should the state act to strengthen the family? CIS research on family life works to address these issues.


The Madness of Australian Child Protection: Why Adoption Will Rescue Australia's Underclass Children
Jeremy Sammut
11 November 2015 | Connorcourt Publishing

Why are Australian children abused and neglected in plain sight of the child welfare authorities supposed to protect them? This passionate account of a flawed system argues that the crisis besetting child protection regimes nation-wide will not end until the taboo on the use of…

The Age Old Problem of Old Age: Fixing the Pension
Matthew Taylor, Simon Cowan
03 May 2015 | Research Report 3

In this TARGET 30 Research Report CIS modelling shows that reforming the pension could deliver income gains of more than $5,900 a year to almost 98% of pensioners. These reforms would also reduce the cost of the pension by $14.5 billion a year. “With four…

The Kinship Conundrum: The Impact of Aboriginal Self-Determination on Indigenous Child Protection
Jeremy Sammut
08 December 2014 | PM144

This report argues that mainstreaming revolution in Indigenous policy should be extended to Indigenous child protection policy, and that Aboriginal exceptionalism—typified by the operation of Aboriginal Child Placement Principle (ACPP)—must cease. To help ‘Close the Gap’ in social outcomes between Indigenous and other Australians, Indigenous…

Regulating for Quality in Childcare: The Evidence Base
Trisha Jha
05 November 2014 | PM142

The National Quality Agenda (NQA) endorsed by all states and territories in 2009 regulates childcare systems across Australia. It mandates increased minimum standards in various aspects provision of care and a ratings system with the goal of improving quality. The NQA mandates substantial and costly…

Complex Family Payments: What it Costs the Village to Raise a Child
Trisha Jha
06 August 2014 | PM141

In 2013–14, $32 billion was spent on family payments, amounting to 7.7% of total federal expenditure in that year, and 22% of total federal spending on social security and welfare. Family Tax Benefits (FTB) and child care fee assistance are the two areas in which…

Media & Commentary

The ‘Marriage Equality’ Error
Peter Kurti
05 January 2016 | Quadrant

In October, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten defended his objection to a national plebiscite on marriage equality by declaring that it would give ‘a taxpayer-funded platform and a megaphone to the…

Children are the forgotten victims of family violence
Jeremy Sammut
08 December 2015 | Daily Telegraph

The National Children’s Commissioner’s Children’s Right Report has rightly called for a national focus on the violence and abuse of the most vulnerable Australians. According to the report, one in…

Productivity Commission’s brave call on the family home is right
Simon Cowan
02 December 2015 | Australian Financial Review

It’s been clear for some time that the exemption of the family home from the pension assets test is hurting everyone. Taxpayers pay $44 billion a year in pensions, non-homeowner…

Childcare tantrum over hourly fees
Trisha Jha
27 November 2015 | Ideas@TheCentre

That wailing sound you heard coming from childcare centres this week was not from upset children. It was the caterwauling from the childcare industry as it howled with indignation over…

Judge this book by its cover
Jeremy Sammut
27 November 2015 | Ideas@TheCentre

There was some controversy over the use of the famed Hogarth ‘Gin Lane’ etching for the cover of my book on child protection policy in Australia. However, the image was…