The Centre for Independent Studies Research Collection

The Centre for Independent Studies Research Collection. Stay up to date with the latest CIS research, policy papers and opinion pieces and commentary. CIS promotes free choice, individual liberty and the open exchange of ideas. We aim to make sure good policy ideas are heard and seriously considered so that Australia can prosper.

Listen on:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Podbean App
  • Spotify
  • Amazon Music
  • iHeartRadio
  • PlayerFM
  • Samsung
  • Podchaser
  • BoomPlay


Thursday Aug 31, 2023
Authority, Expertise And Democracy. Should those who know best rule the rest of us?
By Peter Kurti. Published on July 27, 2023.Read the paper here:
For all references and graphs, please download the publication at the centre for independent studies website where you can also become a member of the CIS. You’ll be part of Australia’s growing movement towards free markets, individual liberty, cultural freedom, and a limited government. Join today at
On Heeding Expert Advice.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, state and territory leaders afforded great responsibility for decisions about managing both the impact of the virus and the expectations of a fearful public to unelected public health experts. Severe restrictions imposed on movement and association at the behest of these experts — Chief Medical Officers — lasted for many months.
The exceptional circumstances of the pandemic hardly formed part of the regular routine of government. Indeed, so exceptional was the pandemic that dependence on advisors with medical and public health expertise might well have been unavoidable if government was to be effective.
Faced with the need to assuage public fears, there was also a need for the public to hear what medical experts made of the pandemic and the dangers it posed. Most Australians readily complied with state-imposed edicts, apparently confident that governments were acting only in the best interests of citizens.
However, many expressed concern that as the pandemic ran its course, political leaders appeared to be doing one of two things. Either they followed the advice of medical experts blindly and without regard to the social, economic and community impact of the imposed measures; or they ignored expert medical advice because of concerns about its likely impact would fuel worries that they were not doing enough to keep citizens ‘safe’.
These concerns only compounded as, during the course of the pandemic, medical experts began to fall out with one another, thereby dissolving any notion of universal medical consensus about how best to manage contagion. As the pandemic ran its course, populations bowed to the dictates of chief medical officers. The will and wishes of the demos were subordinated to the opinions and directions of the knowledgeable few.
While the Covid-19 pandemic provides a rare, if egregious, example, of their doing so, the ceding by elected representatives of decision-making to health bureaucrats is just one example of the problem that Adrian Pabst, a political scientist, has described as double delegation — “whereby representatives elected by citizens delegate power to unelected officials who are part of a professional political class.”Read the whole paper here:

Wednesday Aug 16, 2023
Politicisation – the attack on merit and our way of life, by Scott Prasser.Read the paper here:
Scott's paper examines the issue of ‘politicisation’ of our public services and other public institutions.
The meanings and permutations of ‘politicisation’ are identified, its causes and both positive and negative impacts considered.
It asks whether ‘politicisation’ is undermining the integrity of our institutions, the functioning of our democracy and the core principle of merit – which many regard as the cornerstone of a progressive, modern, western liberal, industrial, and fair society.
It considers whether claims of ‘politicisation’ have been exaggerated and misinterpreted as trends and changes to our system of governance, that many see as necessary.
It proposes some practical suggestions to minimise the worst aspects of ‘politicisation’.

Tuesday Aug 15, 2023

A Future Without Future Funds by 
Dimitri Burshtein
Read here:
In 1984, Milton Friedman reminded us that “there is nothing so permanent as a temporary Government program”. And so it has come to pass that the Future Fund, which was envisaged to have a finite life, is now seeking immortality.   
The Future Fund is an uniquely Australian creation.  Often — and arguably erroneously — described as a sovereign wealth fund, it has been given near-mythical credence.  Its board is not comprised of mere directors but rather ‘Guardians’.  The Future Fund’s existence has attained such an exalted economic status in Australia that despite its recent questionable economic contribution, it has spawned several new ‘children of Future Fund’ established at the Commonwealth and State levels. 
Approaching 18 years of age, however, it is now time to consider the future of the Future Funds because as Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson once quipped: “When the facts change, I change my mind”.  And when it comes to the Future Fund, the facts have changed significantly since it was established in 2006.  The economic case for its continuing existence has since eroded.   
In Australia’s current economic straits, the most economically responsible action for a government to take is to liquidate, in an orderly manner, the holdings of the Future Funds and pay down debt. With every additional dollar of Commonwealth debt accumulated and every interest rate increase, the case for closing and retiring the Future Funds becomes ever more compelling.  
Importantly also, once all Future Fund investments have been liquidated, the Future Fund entity should be permanently shut down to reduce the political incentives for the establishment of ‘grandchildren of Future Fund’ .

Tuesday Aug 15, 2023

Starting off on the wrong foot: How to improve Initial Teacher Education in Australia by Glenn Fahey and Rob Joseph. Read the paper here:
Initial teacher education (ITE) is responsible for providing beginning teachers with the knowledge, skills, and characteristics to prepare them for the classroom. Typically, ITE involves beginning teachers enrolling and completing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at a university by an approved ITE provider. In an ITE course, preservice teachers complete a combination of courses that include pedagogical, subject matter, and — where applicable — subject-particular pedagogical knowledge. Enrolments are typically for either primary or secondary education.
As at 2019, there were 367 programs, 48 ITE providers, and 91 locations preparing around 92,000 enrolled ITE students across Australia. Teaching graduates typically complete a standalone Bachelor of Education, or complete an undergraduate degree followed by a teaching course. Others pursue two-year postgraduate teaching degrees, with 39% of graduating teachers having completed a postgraduate degree, while some jurisdictions permit partially shortened postgraduate qualifications.
Over recent years, Australia’s ITE sector has been under near-constant review. At least in part, this has been due to persistent concern about the preparedness of graduate teachers, along with broader challenges in ensuring there is a sufficient quantity and quality of graduates to meet workforce needs.
While it’s true that graduate teachers in all school systems are less effective when they first enter the workforce than they are a few years later, most enjoy a steep learning curve over their first few years in the classroom. Given that direct supervision of early career teachers is more limited than is typically observed in other professions, this requires considerable preparation for independent practice to be provided during initial training before entering the workplace.
Mitigating the ‘novice penalty’ of graduate teachers is an important opportunity to ensure better outcomes for students, as well as reducing the considerable pressure on teachers in their early years. Moreover, evidence shows that teachers who start out being relatively effective when they graduate become increasingly more effective over time.
Altogether, this makes raising classroom-readiness of teaching graduates a priority across school systems. But while this concern about classroom-readiness is a preoccupation of many countries’ ITE sectors, there’s evidence that Australia’s school systems have particularly underperformed in this area, especially in the formative area of classroom and behaviour management.
Against this context, this paper provides a detailed analysis of Australia’s ITE sector’s current challenges and opportunities for reform. It starts with a review of the recent history and policy developments in Australia and comparable countries. It is then followed by analysis of the performance and structure of Australia’s ITE sector. In considering the ITE pipeline, it follows with assessment of the drivers of both the commencements to, and completions from, ITE qualifications. It then examines the current content of ITE qualifications and options for improving the accountability of Australia’s ITE providers. The paper concludes with recommendations for Australian policymakers in undertaking ITE sector reform.

Copyright 2023 All rights reserved.

Version: 20240320