The Road to Ruin: How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin

The Road to Ruin: How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government 4 Updated with links at the bottomKevin Rudd was given no warning, but even he lasted longer than Abbott Julia Gillard had plenty of warnings, but even she lasted longer than Abbott Abbott ignored all the warnings, from beginning to end the public ones, the private ones, from his friends, his colleagues, the mediaNobody knows the ins and outs of Australian federal politics like Niki Savva And she writes about it so delightfully that it s like reading a knowledgeable gossip column 4 Updated with links at the bottomKevin Rudd was given no warning, but even he lasted longer than Abbott Julia Gillard had plenty of warnings, but even she lasted longer than Abbott Abbott ignored all the warnings, from beginning to end the public ones, the private ones, from his friends, his colleagues, the mediaNobody knows the ins and outs of Australian federal politics like Niki Savva And she writes about it so delightfully that it s like reading a knowledgeable gossip columnexcept, this isn t gossip Savva worked in high profile conservative politics as Peter Costello s press secretary for six years and on John Howard s staff for three She is now a respected journalist and columnist who knows who s who and where the skeletons are buriedThe anecdotes related here are based on primary sources that is, they were related to me by people who saw or heard or participated in what transpiredI won t comment on the politics and the promises and budgets, just some of the turmoil.Savva mentions the persistent rumour that PM Tony Abbott and his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin, were having an affair, but it was always denied and Savva doesn t elaborate But Abbott and Credlin were both convinced that he couldn t run the country without her, and Savva says that may have been true As it turned out, he couldn t run it with her either Briefly, the best Opposition leader ever to bully and beat a troubled Labor government couldn t make the transition to government after his party won Tony Abbott wasted energy kicking the losing Labor Party when they were already down, meanwhile defending his Chief of Staff who kept egging him on and keeping everyone else away You know, the same thing bullies do to the abused isolate them.Her style was hector, bully, restructure, and sack She cleared most of the females out of all positions of power She was noted for her screaming rages and foul language, even in public and even attacking the PM, who just said she was upset Oh dear I guess so Here s one episodeSuzanne Kasprzakhandled John Howard s diary for five long years She was a stalwart and absolute professional, renowned for her hard work and efficient manner She was in Malcolm Turnbull s office when Abbott won the leadership Most of Turnbull s staff, including Credlin, who was then deputy chief of staff, stayed on Pretty soon, Credlin decided she was unhappy with Suzanne s work She would go into Suzanne s office, close the door, and start yelling at her After a few months, Credlin insisted that all diary requests had to go through her She would put a red line through every request she disapproved, including those from backbenchers Credlin restructured the office Abbott called Suzanne in, thanked her for her work, told her he had never been better served by anybody, but in the new restructure there was no job for her He gave her a bunch of flowers, which she threw in the bin as she walked out of the office She left feeling fragile, her confidence woundedCredlin reduced many others to tears until they resigned She herself often resorted to tears, poor dear, gaining sympathy and comfort from her boss.Next is an example of how she gathered ammunition Out to dinner with staff, Shane Evans remembers he and a female colleague decided to leave at the end of the meal while others stayedPeta, obviously wanting to continue holding court, openly challenged us about leaving, in front of everyone who was there To his colleague s response that she was tired , Credlin replied I ve seen your phone bill, and I know you stay out much later than this Evans says now It was a minor incident, but telling about her willingness to cross lines and obsess over the details of her staff, right down to the minutiae of trawling through their phone bills to see who was communicating with who and whenControl freak, much Gheesh But because she spent all her time nit picking and shouting and managing the PM, even applying his on camera make up , she neglected her overflowing in tray where every single request and policy landed before it was allowed to go to her Prime Minister Things didn t get done, policies weren t read, messages didn t get through, access to the PM was denied.Ministers couldn t get plane tickets without Credlin s written authorisation, and she d leave the Foreign Affairs Minister hanging until 24 hours before take off She delayed authorising tickets for a dozen conference goers for so long that they lost their discount fares, costing the taxpayersThe rumblings of mutiny in the ranks were growing louder they d had enough They made spreadsheets of supporters and resorted to pretend birthday celebrations to meet secretly without raising suspicionThey knew they had the numbers A cardinal rule of politics is, when you have the numbers, use themUse them they did Malcolm Turnbull challenged for the leadership of the Liberal Party and won The nation breathed an enormous sigh of relief as Abbott slunk off to the back bench.If it were a film script, it would sound far fetched The pity isBoth of them had the potential to be wonderful role models He was the most community minded prime minister we have ever had His fire fighting, his surf live saving, his many acts of kindness should have made people warm to himGreat read for political junkies Niki SavvaP.S A couple of links to articles about Niki Savva herself.http www.smh.com.au federal politichttp www.afr.com brand rear window This from 2010, after she wrote So Greek Confessions of a Conservative Leftiewhich saidThe possibility of Abbott leading a government, Savva feels is Very remote You never know And on the recent airing of Abbott s view on women s chastity, she laughs, He s so old fashioned, he reminds me, as I wrote in my book, of one of my relatives who offered me money to keep my virginity till marriage Kevin Rudd was given no warning, but even he lasted longer than Abbott Julia Gillard had plenty of warnings, but even she lasted longer than Abbott Abbott ignored all the warnings, from beginning to end the public ones, the private ones, from his friends, his colleagues, the media His colleagues were not being disloyal They did not feel they had betrayed him they believed he had betrayed them Their motives were honourable They didn t want him to fail they wanted the government to succeed, and they wanted the Coalition re elected Abbott and Credlin had played it harder and rougher than anybody else to get where they wanted to be But they proved incapable of managing their own office, much less the government Then, when it was over, when it was crystal clear to everyone that they had failed, when everyone else could see why they had failed, she played the gender card while he played the victim In The Road to Ruin, prominent political commentator, author, and columnist for The Australian Niki Savva reveals the ruinous behaviour of former prime minister Tony Abbott and his chief of staff, Peta Credlin Based on her unrivalled access to their colleagues, and devastating first person accounts of what went on behind the scenes, Savva paints an unforgettable picture of a unique duo who wielded power ruthlessly but not well Great read on the worst government and PM in modern history And without doubt the worst political staffer and certainly egomaniacal Chief of Staff ever, anywhere Set the Liberal National Party Coalition, conservatives, and political women back years The Zaky Mallah rubbish should have been left out, the detail it went in to was distracting and irrelevant Niki Savva s The Road to Ruin How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government is written in a gossipy, conversational style Reading it, I felt as though Niki was dishing the dirt over a quiet chardonnay in Kingston The casual style works because Savva, a political journalist and former media advisor to Treasurer Peter Costello, is giving readers a look into the inner workings of the Australian political machinery.The first half of the book details the deeply dysfunctional rela Niki Savva s The Road to Ruin How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government is written in a gossipy, conversational style Reading it, I felt as though Niki was dishing the dirt over a quiet chardonnay in Kingston The casual style works because Savva, a political journalist and former media advisor to Treasurer Peter Costello, is giving readers a look into the inner workings of the Australian political machinery.The first half of the book details the deeply dysfunctional relationship between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his one woman Praetorian Guard , his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin Savva details the bizarre level of micro management that Credlin exerted over the Prime Minister s office, letting briefs and minutes pile up in her in tray as she consulted with the Prime Minister s chef over menus, picked flower arrangements for the G20 meeting, and personally oversaw renovations at the Prime Minister s Canberra residence She also spells out one outlandish incident after another, with Credlin routinely storming out of meetings, shouting at the Prime Minister to fuck off , and on one occasion even delaying a motorcade in Indonesia as she and Tony Abbott had it out behind closed doors As Savva notesThe volatility, the questionable judgement, the unnecessary meddling at every level, not only made for a dysfunctional office it filtered through every nook and cranny of the government There s sadness too, as Savva, herself a political conservative, saw how things could have turned out so much betterIn my weekly column for The Australian on 6 June 2013, a few months before the election, I offered what I believed was constructive advice about what was needed for Abbott to succeed in government The morning the piece was published, the then leader of the Opposition texted her Niki, enjoyed today s piece and got a good chuckle from the cartoon Cheers Tony Savva continuesThat cartoon was a magnificent illustration by Eric Lobbecke, showing Credlin as a sword wieldingwith Abbott peeking out from behind her, fingers demurely entertwined John Lyons saw the illustration hanging on Credlin s wall when he interviewed her for The Australian, for a piece published on 21 February 2015 He was taken aback when he saw it displayed so prominently because of what it said about their relationship.Whatever message Abbott took from that column, it wasn t the right one The same goes for Credlin All the seeds were sown then All he had to do was make a few adjustments He never did For The Road to Ruin, Savva interviewed other prominent Prime Ministerial staffers including Tony Eggleton, who was Harold Holt s press secretary when the latter drowned in 1967 and, as Federal director of the Liberal Party, was suddenly thrust into the limelight during the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975 and Tony O Leary who, as Prime Minister John Howard s press secretary in 2001, was preparing for a White House meeting with President George Bush when terrorist planes flew into the World Trade Center.As Savva points out, these anecdotes illustratethe extreme importance of having professionals in those jobs, then trusting them to do them They also show when it s time for staff to butt out and leave it all to the politicians or how the best always tell the boss what he or she doesn t want to hear She goes on to highlightanother extreme failure in the Abbott office There was no division of responsibilities instead there was a takeover The chief of staff not only took over the jobs of the political advisers, the policy advisers, the administrative staff, the decorators, and the menu planners, but she took over the jobs of the press secretaries too The reader is left to speculate about whether Peta Credlin would have performed as admirably as Tony Eggleton or Tony O Leary in similarly difficult circumstances.While Savva s gossipy style is employed to good effect in this political tell all, the historical sidebars would have benefited fromcontext No doubt all Australians of a certain age remember where they were when they heard that Prime Minister Holt was missing, presumed drowned, or that the Whitlam government had been dismissed, but The Road to Ruin would be of interest to a broader audience, and havelongevity, if the historical background were painted in.The second half of the book focuses on the Liberal party s increasingly desperate attempts to persuade Tony Abbott to stand aside, then when those tactics failed, the machinations of the Group of Eight who worked with Malcolm Turnbull to deliver the September 2015 coup which finally unseated the Prime Minister.As Savva writes of the G8, It was precise, it was discreet, it was swift, and it had every possible contingency covered The blow by blow account of the Group s manoeuvrings becomes tedious, but may provide a useful playbook the next time an Australian political party wants to dump their leader The Road to Ruin finishes with some reflections on Tony Abbott s psychological makeup, the challenges facing Prime Minister Turnbull, and the Australian political system Savva concludes that our revolving door of leaders is proof that the system does, in fact, workBetween late 2007 and 2013, the system threw up three deeply flawed and deficient individuals who became prime minister, then the system rose up to eject them The fact that this could happen is proof that it works well, that it does the job it was designed to do Perhaps the last word in this saga belongs to The Huffington Post, which posted on 15 September 2015It s Monday, so Australia has a new prime minister I loved reading this detail by dismaying detail account of the downfall of Australia s worst ever prime minister Other reviewers say the writing is a bit choppy in parts, with typos here and there, and that it could have done with a bitpolishing and editing, but I loved these aspects of the book, too Writing which is a bit rushed and chaotic is a perfect way to describe rushed and chaotic events Tony Abbott should never, ever have been Prime Minister of Australia, and this book spells o I loved reading this detail by dismaying detail account of the downfall of Australia s worst ever prime minister Other reviewers say the writing is a bit choppy in parts, with typos here and there, and that it could have done with a bitpolishing and editing, but I loved these aspects of the book, too Writing which is a bit rushed and chaotic is a perfect way to describe rushed and chaotic events Tony Abbott should never, ever have been Prime Minister of Australia, and this book spells out in excruciating detail just why A Goodread indeed Some very interesting anecdotes and insights but quite choppily written in parts which is distracting It feels like it was rushed to print which is a shame as it could heave been a much clearer and stronger read. Rollicking good read detailing the dirt and dysfunction within the Abbott government I loved especially that one of the Murdoch News Corp journos penned this, so the experience was kind of like watching a wolf eat one of its own Of course, very little put down on how bad the actual policies of the Abbott government were that played a role in his downfall, the book focuses instead on his flawed personality, the arrogance, and a corrosive working relationship with the controlling Chief of Staff Rollicking good read detailing the dirt and dysfunction within the Abbott government I loved especially that one of the Murdoch News Corp journos penned this, so the experience was kind of like watching a wolf eat one of its own Of course, very little put down on how bad the actual policies of the Abbott government were that played a role in his downfall, the book focuses instead on his flawed personality, the arrogance, and a corrosive working relationship with the controlling Chief of Staff Peta Credlin to the exclusion of everyone else Those who would prefer just the laughs of Australia s worst ever prime Minister tony Abbott, may prefer, The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott by Andrew Street LOLs abound.However, Savva s book show s Abbott as not so much as the blithering idiot he was which Street does well , but as a kind of empty shell, who was barely capable of anything as complicated as dressing himself Savva doesn t detail the onions, the minister for women, the gaffes, the day to day stup Those who would prefer just the laughs of Australia s worst ever prime Minister tony Abbott, may prefer, The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott by Andrew Street LOLs abound.However, Savva s book show s Abbott as not so much as the blithering idiot he was which Street does well , but as a kind of empty shell, who was barely capable of anything as complicated as dressing himself Savva doesn t detail the onions, the minister for women, the gaffes, the day to day stupidity, butdetail of his office culture But despite the clinical detail, you are left withquestions than answers Why did he give his control and authority to someone else, especially an obvious nutcase How did such a dunderhead last as long as he did Who was putting on his pants for him An excellent read Savva s access to sources is fantastic, and there are some very illuminating insider accounts here I have two main problems with the book.Firstly it was clearly rushed to publication apart from the typos, the writing is uneven and jumps about a lot It would have benefited frompolish and alogical structure.Secondly, while Savva doesn t pretend to be a neutral observer and did have an involvement in some of the matters discussed, she injects herself into the writing a bit too much Savva s access to sources is fantastic, and there are some very illuminating insider accounts here I have two main problems with the book.Firstly it was clearly rushed to publication apart from the typos, the writing is uneven and jumps about a lot It would have benefited frompolish and alogical structure.Secondly, while Savva doesn t pretend to be a neutral observer and did have an involvement in some of the matters discussed, she injects herself into the writing a bit too much I kept expecting one of the random name dropping asides to end with, Needless to say, I had the last laugh.A good read overall though It s fascinating to read recent political history and reflect on the stories behind the headlines.Niki Savva is a respected political journalist and I enjoy watching her appearances on Insiders ABC TV I m not sure I completely like her writing style The book is very readable, but feels piecemeal and repetitive in parts There was also a sense that Savva really doesn t LIKE Abbott or Credlin and there s a subsequent hint of bias But Savva brings a unique perspective to telling this tale not It s fascinating to read recent political history and reflect on the stories behind the headlines.Niki Savva is a respected political journalist and I enjoy watching her appearances on Insiders ABC TV I m not sure I completely like her writing style The book is very readable, but feels piecemeal and repetitive in parts There was also a sense that Savva really doesn t LIKE Abbott or Credlin and there s a subsequent hint of bias But Savva brings a unique perspective to telling this tale not only a journalist, she was a political staffer She s seen the story from the staffer s side and that s a valuable insight in this story.Despite slight misgivings about writing style, I enjoyed the book It was interesting I think the content overrides any minor qualms about writing style For that reason, I d like to read Niki s other book, So Greek It would be interesting I m sure.I do like Savva s ending To paraphrase She warns that Turnbull need not follow the same road as Abbott Only time will tell which road he takes


About the Author: Niki Savva

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Road to Ruin: How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government book, this is one of the most wanted Niki Savva author readers around the world.


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