Welfare State

Despite a rapid increase in wealth and living standards over the past few decades, more Australians are dependent on the public purse than ever before.  Today, almost one in six working age Australians relies on welfare for all or part of their income.  A growing welfare state means an ever higher tax take is needed, bringing more taxpayers in to the welfare system.  How can government promote individual responsibility and self-reliance, while still providing a safety net?  How can patterns of joblessness and dependency be broken?


Dying with Their Rights On: The myths and realities of ending homelessness in Australia
Carlos d'Abrera
12 December 2018 | RR38

The orthodox understanding of the causes of homelessness promoted by the ‘homelessness industry’ over emphasises the role of economic and social structures. Solutions based on structuralist explanations – such as increasing the supply of affordable social housing – are insufficient to reduce rough sleeping. Such…

Why we should defend capitalism
Eugenie Joseph
28 November 2018 | PP12

Capitalism has become a controversial idea in recent years; yet economic markets and free enterprise are responsible for lifting millions of people out of abject poverty, improving the quality of life around the world, and creating shared prosperity. Capitalism has also proven effective at sustaining…

Voting for a living: A shift in Australian politics from selling policies to buying votes?
Robert Carling, Terrence O'Brien
05 September 2018 | PP9

This paper explores the hypothesis that growth of government has become self-sustaining through the emergence of a segment of the population that both enjoys sufficient direct support from government and is large enough that political parties shape policies to curry its favour. The researchers use…

Why childcare is not affordable
Eugenie Joseph
29 August 2018 | RR37

Childcare fees and out-of-pocket costs in Australia have been growing above inflation in recent years, at the same time that more parents are using formalised childcare to support their participation in the workforce. Childcare has been subject to growing and evolving regulation for many years,…

Media & Commentary

Rough sleepers need tough love
Carlos d'Abrera
14 January 2019 | SPECTATOR FLAT WHITE

The Everybody’s Home lobby group has been clanging the alarm bells about a growing rate of homelessness in Western Sydney. But they are using flawed 2016 census data to show…

Sausage sizzle saboteurs shamed at the 2018 Nanny Awards
Steven Schwartz
14 December 2018 | Spectator

We’re facing a global paternalistic tide, and nothing is out of bounds.  France has banned free re-fills of sugary drinks, while the UK introduced a tax on them. Scotland, Scotland…

Capitalism is not destroying us
Eugenie Joseph
26 October 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

This week, our scholar in residence, James Bartholomew and I participated in an Ethics Centre debate, arguing against the politically-charged motion: Capitalism is destroying us. For some of us, ‘no’…

Labor preschool plan fails to add up on many levels
Eugenie Joseph
12 October 2018 | DAILY TELEGRAPH

Australian parents should be sceptical of Labor’s new policy to extend universal access to preschool for 3-year-old children, as the costs and benefits simply fail to add up. And in…

Buying votes easier than selling good policies
Robert Carling
07 September 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

Does the nature of a democracy change when an increasing majority of its voters receive net benefits from, or are employed by, government — while a diminishing minority shoulders the…