Founded in 1976 by Greg Lindsay, who currently holds the position of Executive Director of the centre, the CIS has risen to become a distinguished institute on the Australian political landscape. The centre's research program includes study in the fields of social, foreign and economic policy. The centre supports the logical conservative principle of small government. Michael Darling currently holds the position of Chairman of the CIS, having worked in this capacity since 2004.
- List of conservative, neoconservative and libertarian think tanks
- Menzies Research Centre and Institute of Public Affairs - two other prominent Australian conservative think tanks.