State governments should look to US-style "charter schools" - privately-managed public schools - as a way to boost the poor test results of Australian students, a new report argues. The report, published by the free market Centre for Independent Studies, argues that charter schools would encourage innovation and extend school choice to poorer parents who cannot afford private schooling. Charter schools would be funded at an equivalent rate to public schools, but would be run by private organisations - including for-profit companies. They would not charge fees. "Charter schools can be much more responsive to the challenges local communities face," one of the report's authors, CIS policy analyst Trisha Ja, said. "There has been a strong trend towards greater school autonomy in Australia over recent years and this would be the next step to bring more flexibility and choice into the public system."
James Massola, Political Correspondent Prime Minister Tony Abbott is being urged to consider dumping Joe Hockey as Treasurer if the Canning byelection goes badly for the Liberal Party, in a move designed to shore up his own leadership.
James Massola Analysis
Adam Gartrell A Victoria move to hold state-based inquiry into portable long service leave has prompted a push for Federal Labor to get behind the idea.
Lisa Cox Labor has called on the Auditor-General to investigate what training Australian Border Force officials have been given since the agency was established in July this year and whether their legal powers extend to random visa checks.
John Garnaut, Asia-Pacific editor China has won the first round of its contest for control in the South China Sea by completing construction of an archipelago of artificial islands which will enable it to further project its military power.
Peter Martin, John Thistleton Customers of Medibank Private will be free to use hospitals run by Calvary Health Care after agreement over a new contract
Lucy Cormack Former independent MP Tony Windsor has slammed a bungled government operation that would have seen people stopped for passport checks on the streets of Melbourne, telling ABC radio he had no doubt that some in the Abbott government "hope that something goes wrong domestically."
Cameron Atfield Queensland Labor's rise from just seven state MPs to once again holding government within three years has been lauded by federal Labor leader Bill Shorten in his quest to similarly topple a conservative government after just one term.
Lisa Cox The Australian Council of Trade Unions has shifted its attention to the counsel assisting the royal commission into trade unions and what role he played in the Dyson Heydon controversy.