Sky News presenter Paul Murray
Sky News presenter Paul Murray

The week in politics with Paul Murray

WE have a crisis in boys' education. This week we learnt one in four boys are failing the NAPLAN tests.
Now I know no-one technically fails, but if you aren't meeting the lowest standards, that's what we used to call failure.

Twenty-five years ago girls were the ones being left behind; huge effort and energy were put into turning things around and now girls outperform boys in almost every subject at every level of school.

We need to keep the effort up to help girls, but the time has come to admit we have one heck of a problem with boys' education.

Schools are like oil tankers. They take a long time to turn around and I for one am pushing the alert button now.

We can't wait until two in four boys are failing or we lose a generation of male students to mediocrity.

Winning might be losing in Bennelong

No matter the result of today's by-election in Bennelong, the spin has begun.

If Labor wins, Malcolm Turnbull is done and his colleagues will have no choice but to cut him loose as soon as possible.
If the polls are right that's not going to happen, but the PM isn't out of the woods with just a win.

John Alexander won the seat with almost a 10% margin last time. If that is cut to 5% or less that is a huge worry for the bedwetters on the Liberal backbench.

But if Labor can't make a big dent there will be problems for Bill Shorten, an unpopular leader who may be holding Labor back from winning the next election.

Perhaps the most interesting result will be to see how Australian Conservatives do. If polls are right 7% is a huge first outing.

No points for Barilaro's backflip

NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro is the biggest loser this week. A fortnight ago he said Turnbull was the problem for the Government and he had to go by Christmas.

But this week he jumped on the radio to say a week is a long time in politics and he went too far.

Were you right then John, or are you right now?

Either way, you have lost the respect you got for breaking with the script and showing your true feelings when you bagged the PM.

No wonder people are going to One Nation in the bush.

May the force be with you, always

Like many super-nerds I went to one of those midnight screenings of the new Star Wars movie. Don't worry, no spoilers.

The buzz before the movie, as hundreds of people were showing their tickets to get into the cinemas, was wonderful.

Everyone there was hopeful and excited to see what came next in the Skywalker saga.

A few people were dressed in costumes and the hum of voices was a friendly reminder that there's nothing like getting off the couch and seeing something you love with a bunch of other people.

So this summer, get off the couch and take your spot in a collective experience.

It's a reminder that we are part of a bigger world and it's not just background noise or a traffic jam.

*Joining Paul on the program this Monday are Graham Richardson, Ross Cameron and Janine Perrett.