Policy moves in Australian schooling have increasingly included a focus on autonomy for schools and principals. Generally speaking, autonomy is intended to provide leaders and schools with more decision-making power to meet local needs. However, the definition and practices association with autonomy appear to be different across states and territories, due to the nature of state governments setting policy directions. This project is one of the first large-scale projects to examine definitions and practices of autonomy across different systems and contexts. Its significance lies in the potential for developing an understanding of different approaches towards leader autonomy in different contexts, and how autonomy affects the work (and, subsequently, the workload) of school leaders. The project also investigates how autonomy might affect the retention of principals, exploring how long principals see themselves remaining in their roles.