• Print
  • Email

Civil Society


With freedom comes responsibility. A society of free individuals can only function if everyone respects the rights and liberties of everybody else. This means we have to voluntarily limit our own desires and monitor our own behaviour in the hope and expectation that other people will do the same in their relations with us.

But there is evidence that these informal norms governing our behaviour have been fraying over recent decades. The CIS asks what are the causes and consequences of the decline of civility and social cohesion, and what can be done about it?

The research also examines how government is weakening civil society by trying to eradicate risk from our lives and by 'crowding out' voluntary activity with state initiatives?


  1. Conversation with Daniel Hannan

    Nick Cater | 14 Feb 2014 | Transcripts

    Daniel Hannan is one of the leading intellectual forces in British politics.In his latest book, Inventing Freedom: How the... Read More...

  2. The Fraught Politics of Saying Sorry for Forced Adoption: Implications for Child Protection Policy in Australia

    Jeremy Sammut | 19 Mar 2013 | Issue Analysis

    Many Australians will believe a national apology for forced adoption is overdue. But there is a danger that the apology will... Read More...

  3. Re-moralising the Welfare State

    Peter Saunders | 13 Mar 2013 | Occasional Papers

    The welfare state should be fair as well as caring. Fairness requires that claimants are not treated more favourably than... Read More...

  4. What’s New with Anti-Semitism?

    Paul Kelly, Peter Kurti, Philip Mendes | 13 Aug 2012 | Policy Forum

    Criticism of Israeli government domestic policy has intensified in Australia with the emergence of the international Boycott,... Read More...

  5. When Prophecy Fails

    Peter Saunders | 09 Sep 2011 | Special Publications

    In their 2009 book, The Spirit Level, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argued for the ‘benefits’ of income redistribution.... Read More...

View All

Opinion & Commentary

  1. Islamic relations: The victim mentality will not help Muslim cause

    Peter Kurti | 15 Jun 2015 | Daily Telegraph

    What is required on the part of Muslim and non-Muslim Australians alike is a new attitude to combatting the problem of Muslim ... Read More

  2. An Honourable Estate?

    Barry Maley | 15 Jun 2015 | Quadrant

    Major casualties of the institutional ravaging that began 50 years ago are marriage and family formation and the assumptions ... Read More

  3. Charities regulator reprieve

    Helen Andrews | 09 Apr 2015 | The Mandarin

    Now that the ACNC is safe, it should focus on making sure that its critics’ worst predictions do not end up coming true.... Read More

  4. The totalitarianism of marriage equality

    Jeremy Sammut | 26 Mar 2015 | The Spectator

    This isn’t democracy — it’s the totalitarian tactics of personal intimidation.... Read More

  5. No easy fix for youth unemployment

    Alexander Philipatos | 22 Apr 2014 | The Canberra Times

    The youth unemployment rate, now 13.6 per cent, is twice the economy-wide rate, and the youth employment-to-population ratio ... Read More

View All


  1. 18C is not what keeps us civil

    Jeremy Sammut | 02 Apr 2015

    The Abbott Government’s attempt to remove Section 18C from the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) was politically doomed the ...

  2. After the riot: A civil discussion of multiculturalism

    Jeremy Sammut | 05 Oct 2012

    What does the recent riot mean for Australia’s status as a peaceful and harmonious multicultural society?...

  3. Restricting freedom is not the answer

    Peter Kurti | 21 Sep 2012

    The majority of Australian Muslims want to live here in peace but a sizeable minority has a darker purpose....

  4. Stick it to ‘em

    Peter Kurti | 12 Aug 2011

    Society’s lack of a moral compass led to the London riots....

  5. The class myth

    Peter Saunders | 05 Nov 2010

    The British will tell you that success depends on one's class and very little to do with education even though the evidence ...

View All