Centre for Independent Studies

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The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) is an economically liberal (or neoliberal, depending on your point of view) and socially conservative think tank based in Sydney. It is headed by Greg Lindsay.


The CIS was Australia's first 'neo-liberal' think tank. It was founded in 1976 by a Sydney maths teacher, Greg Lindsay. After struggling for financial support, Lindsay began meeting with Australian businessmen who wanted to establish an Australian version of the UK think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). These businessmen included Hugh Morgan, then an executive director of Western Mining Corporation (WMC), John Bonython, Chairman of the Adelaide Advertiser Group, John Macleod, chief economist at mining company CRA, Douglas Hocking, Chief economist at Shell Australia, and John Brunner, an economist at mining company BHP.

According to Peter Coleman - former editor of Quadrant Magazine, "A turning point came in 1979 when Hugh Morgan, of Western Mining, invited Lindsay to Melbourne for talks. Together they worked the phones. Morgan persuaded nine (actually six) companies to chip in $5000 a year for five years." [1] According to Paul Kelly in "The End of Certainty", those six companies were WMC, CRA, BHP, Shell, Santos and the Adelaide Advertiser.

The CIS has grown from then. As of May 2006, the CIS had a budget of more than $3 million, and employed 24 staff. [2]


In May 2005 CIS Director Greg Lindsay said that the Centre had an annual income of around $2 million, of which one-third came from corporations, one-third from foundations and one-third from individuals."We've never committed ourselves to do anything for any of our supporters," he said. [3]

On the CIS's website it states that "we do not accept government funding, nor do we derive any income from political parties or groupings." [4] It also claims that it is politically non-partisan, and that it is not influenced by it's funders: "'Independent' in our name means: We are politically non-partisan; Research is not directed by our supporters," it states. [5] The CIS is also one of only seven organisations mentioned by name in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 as tax-deductible gift recipients, entitling donors to claim gifts as tax-deductions. [6]

Also, the CIS, while asserting that research is not "directed" by its supporters, clearly makes an effort not the advocate policies which would disadvantage its many corporate donors. For instance, while the Centre has been a strong advocate of liberal economics (ie: opposing government intervention in the economy), it has always avoided the issue of considerable government subsidies for Australian mining and oil companies, with whose money the CIS was founded and which continue to be major CIS funders (see below).

The CIS also keeps almost all of its corporate funders secret. While it receives at least $800,000 from corporations, its policy is only to identify sponsors where they agree. [7] Companies which have been publicly disclosed and confirmed by the CIS as its funders include:

Some of the individuals who fund the CIS include [9]:

In June 2006, the Australian Financial Review reported that a 30th anniversary dinner attended by 600 supporters with the keynote address by Prime Minister John Howard raised $2.5 million. The CIS is aiming to raise $10 million as a capital fund to underpin the centre's operations.

Former Funders


Board Members

Former board members

According to Cahill (2004: 212) the CIS Executive board between 1984 and 1991 included:

Research Staff

Contact details

The Centre for Independent Studies
PO Box 92, St Leonards,
NSW 1590
tel: +61 2 9438 4377
fax: +61 2 9439 7310
Web: http://www.cis.org.au/

Other Sourcewatch Resources

External links