Home' Policy Magazine : Policy Vol 32 - No 1 Contents e Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) is Australia's
leading independent public policy institute. Its major
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CIS believes in:
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• an economy based on free markets
• democratic government and the rule of law
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CIS promotes its vision by fostering public debate about major
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POLICY is a publication of
e Centre for Independent Studies.
After almost ten years I have returned to CIS to take over from Helen Andrews
as Editor of Policy. My return comes as CIS celebrates its 40th anniversary
this year, with Policy marking its 32nd year in print. So this edition is an
opportune moment to reflect on past debates and future challenges. Before introducing
the issue, however, I would like to share an insight that a near decade-long distance
from the organisation has re-affirmed: critics of CIS often point to the ideas behind the
organisation as its greatest weakness when in fact these ideas have been its greatest
strength. If only ideas and principles were driving the current policy landscape.
Yet even as I write these words there are signs that the tide is turning. In our lead
article Sara Hudson reports that the number of Indigenous businesses has increased
threefold over the past two decades. These businesses are a more practical and
sustainable way to improve economic and social outcomes for Indigenous people than
yet more government programs. Nyunggai Warren Mundine agrees that Indigenous
enterprise is key, but takes the corporate sector to task for being generous to a fault
in trying to help Indigenous people whilst failing to measure the outcomes of its
support. Meanwhile Anthony Dillon explores the important non-economic benefits of
employment such as self-esteem and a sense of purpose: 'get people into jobs',
he argues, 'and we will make significant inroads towards addressing suicide' and other
problems affecting Indigenous people.
Also in this issue, we go back to the Policy archives to re-examine from today's
perspective the policy debates that once dominated its pages. By coincidence, the
article I chose to reprint as a special feature turned out to be the cover story of the
very first issue of CIS Policy Report (Policy's predecessor) in February 1985---namely,
Michael Porter on taxes and incentives. Robert Carling updates Porter's article and
comments on what has changed---and what has not changed---since it was written
31 years ago. Importantly, both Porter and Carling conclude that we cannot talk about
tax reform without talking about government spending since taxes pay for it.
This is not just about cutting spending. A debate about the role of government in the 21st
century is long overdue. As Greg Lindsay tells Paul Kelly in the interview 'CIS at Forty',
there are limits to what governments can do. 'We've lived through a whole generation
of government overreach', he laments, 'of government trying to do things that it is not
suited to doing and doing things it shouldn't be doing'. Well-known columnist and the
latest CIS Scholar-in-Residence Theodore Dalrymple would agree. He observes that
the growth of 'rights'---in this case, a 'right' to health care---goes hand-in-hand with the
growth of government and state interference. 'Our rights forge our fetters', he warns.
Philosophical questions aside, this issue of Policy keeps its finger on the pulse of current
debates. Barry Maley argues for a referendum on same-sex marriage while Anastasia
Glushko makes the case for privatising prisons. Further afield, Ben Reilly examines the
fortunes of democracy in Southeast Asia through a country's geographical proximity to
and historical relationship with China. Meanwhile our review section considers books on
differing conceptions of liberalism, the 'China model' of political meritocracy, a personal
account of Indigenous identity, and the failure of government policy to 'close the gap'.
Finally, this issue of Policy features its first ever fiction review. Why? Because I believe
that writers can put words in the mouths of their characters and can imagine scenarios in
ways that illuminate the moral and political choices that confront us. Michel Houellebecq's
latest novel Submission, in which a Muslim is elected President of France, is a case in
point. David Martin Jones argues that rather than being Islamophobic (as was widely
anticipated) the novel is, if anything, Francophobic: it skewers the vapid political and
intellectual elites who should be defending Western values but instead have betrayed
them. The spectacular rise of Islam is merely a telling symptom of this rot.
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ISSN: 1032 6634
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Editor-in-Chief & Publisher: Greg Lindsay
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e Editor welcomes unsolicited submissions. All full-length
articles (other than reproductions) are subject to a refereeing
process. Permission to reproduce articles may be given upon
application to the Editor.
Editorial Advisory Council
Professor James Allan, Professor Ray Ball,
Professor Je Bennett, Professor Geo rey Brennan,
Professor Lauchlan Chipman, Professor Kenneth
Clements, Professor Sinclair Davidson, Professor David
Emanuel, Professor Ian Harper, Professor Wolfgang
Kasper, Professor Chandran Kukathas, Professor Tony
Makin, Professor R.R. O cer, Professor Suri Ratnapala,
Professor David Robertson, Professor Razeen Sally,
Professor Steven Schwartz, Professor Judith Sloan,
Professor Peter Swan, Professor Geo rey de Q. Walker.
Policy is a quarterly publication of e Centre for
Independent Studies in Australia and New Zealand. Views
expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily re ect
the views of the Centre's sta , advisers, directors, or o cers.
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