Centre for Independent Studies

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Centre for Independent Studies
MottoIdeas for a better Australia
Founder(s)Greg Lindsay
FocusA "free enterprise economy and a free society under limited government where individuals can prosper and fully develop their talents".
ChairmanNicholas W. Moore
Executive DirectorTom Switzer
AddressLevel 1, 131 Macquarie Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 2000

The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) is an Australian libertarian think tank. It was founded in 1976 by Greg Lindsay.[1] In 2018 Tom Switzer became the new Executive Director. The CIS focuses on classical liberal 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. According to the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), CIS is number 101 (of 150) in the "Top Think Tanks Worldwide" and number 11 (of 60) in the "Top Think Tanks in Southeast Asia and the Pacific."[2]


The Centre favours a "free enterprise economy and a free society under limited government where individuals can prosper and fully develop their talents".[3] 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.[4] It does not disclose the names of donors, and in 2016 received a rating of 'highly opaque', and zero out of five stars, in a survey by Transparify.[5]

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:[6]

  • Social Policy (Welfare, Education, Population, Health, Indigenous Affairs)
  • Economic Policy (Tax Policy, Infrastructure, Workplace reform, government spending)
  • Government and Politics (Federalism)
  • Religion and Civil Society
  • 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,[7] online,[8] on radio[9] and on TV, with content mirrored on their YouTube channel.[10]

The CIS also has a weekly newsletter ideas@thecentre.[11]


Notable individuals in the CIS research staff include:[12]


  1. ^ "About CIS". Archived from the original on 6 August 2012.
  2. ^ James G. McGann (Director) (4 February 2015). "2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report". Retrieved 14 February 2015. Other "Top Think Tank" rankings include No. 27 (of 50) in International Economic Policy and No. 58 (of 80) in Top Think Tanks to Watch.
  3. ^ "About Us". Centre for Independent Studies. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Support CIS". Archived from the original on 16 September 2010.
  5. ^ "How Transparent are Think Tanks about Who Funds Them 2016?" (PDF). transparify.org. Transparify. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  6. ^ "CIS Research Programs".
  7. ^ "CIS Opinion Pieces". Archived from the original on 15 September 2012.
  8. ^ "CIS media information". Archived from the original on 19 August 2012.
  9. ^ "CIS Audio". Archived from the original on 29 July 2012.
  10. ^ "CISAus YouTube page" – via YouTube.
  11. ^ "Ideas@TheCentre".
  12. ^ "CIS Research Scholars". Archived from the original on 13 August 2012.

External links[edit]