Centre for Independent Studies

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The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) is an Australian libertarian think tank. It was founded in April 1976 by Executive Director Greg Lindsay.[1] The CIS focuses on libertarian issues such as free market economics and reducing the size and scope of government. The CIS is endowed by donations, membership subscriptions and book and event sales.


The Centre favours a "free enterprise economy and a free society under limited government where individuals can prosper and fully develop their talents".[2] Many CIS scholars are self-described classical liberals. As classical liberalism is often critical of government intervention in the economy and personal life, the Centre does not accept government funding out of principle. Instead, the CIS is funded by private sector donations from individuals, companies and charitable trusts.[3]

CIS scholars are often in conflict with other think tanks and welfare bodies, particularly those it considers centrist and left-wing, such as the Per Capita, The Australia Institute, the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, the Society of St Vincent de Paul, The Smith Family and the Australian Council of Social Service.[citation needed]

Research Programs[edit]

The CIS has research programs on:[4]

  • Social Policy (Welfare, Education, Population, Health, Indigenous Affairs)
  • Economic Policy (Tax Policy, Infrastructure, Workplace reform, government spending)
  • Foreign Policy (Foreign Aid, Asia-Pacific)
  • Government and Politics (Federalism)
  • Law (Property Rights, Civil Liberties, Free Speech)
  • Ideas on Liberty

Most policy research focuses upon the role of the free market in an open society, and how voluntary processes could be used to provide many of the goods and services normally supplied by the compulsory methods of government. Individual liberty and choice, including freedom of association, religion, speech and the right to property are also common themes.


CIS researchers regularly comment in opinion pieces in Australian Newspapers,[5] online,[6] on radio[7] and on TV, with content mirrored on their YouTube channel.[8]

The CIS also has a weekly newsletter ideas@thecentre [9]


The CIS runs a range of events, including lectures and seminars[10]

  • John Bonython (annual)
  • Acton Lecture on Religion and Freedom (annual)
  • CIS Lectures (livestreamed and available on YouTube online at CISaus)
  • Meet the Researchers
  • Consilium annual conference for leading policy makers and thinkers
  • Liberty and Society annual conference for students and recent graduates


The CIS has a large number of research staff:[11]

  • Greg Lindsay, Executive Director
  • Jennifer Buckingham, Research Fellow, Social Foundations Program
  • Robert Carling, Senior Fellow, Economics Program
  • Simon Cowan, Research Fellow, Economics Program
  • Benjamin Herscovitch, Research Fellow, Social Foundations Program
  • Stephen Kirchner, Research Fellow, Economics Program
  • Peter Kurti, Research Fellow, Religion and the Free Society Program
  • Barry Maley, Senior Fellow, Social Foundations Program
  • Jeremy Sammut, Research Fellow, Social Foundations Program
  • Alexander Philipatos, Policy Analyst, Economics Program
  • Trisha Jha, Policy Analyst, Social Foundations Program
  • Helen Rittelmeyer, Policy Analyst, Social Foundations Program
  • Peter Saunders, Senior Fellow, Social Foundations Program
  • Steven Schwartz, Senior Fellow
  • David Gadiel, Senior Fellow
  • Nick Cater, Visiting Fellow
  • Jessica Brown, Visiting Fellow
  • Eric Crampton, Visiting Fellow, New Zealand Policy Unit
  • Oliver Marc Hartwich, Adjunct Scholar
  • John Lee, Visiting Fellow, Foreign Policy
  • Matthew Taylor, Research Fellow, Economics Program


External links[edit]

Examples of Publications[edit]