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The Road to Ruin: How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,223 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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; th

Kindle Edition, 262 pages
Published March 7th 2016 by Scribe
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Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic
In a faraway land there was a kingdom ruled by a pair of co-dependent fools whose own alienated supporters eventually rose up and deposed them.

This kingdom was Australia from 2013-15. The two fools were Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Chief of Staff Peta Credlin. In Road to Ruin Niki Savva examines in forensic detail the lies, delusion and weird, weird co-dependence between Abbott and Credlin that eventually saw their own colleagues band against them to throw them out of office. The picture
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Behind the scenes politics; power struggles
(Updated with links at the bottom.)
“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.”

Nobody 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
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Australians, Australian voters, politicians
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
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of "House of Cards"

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

David Dyer
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 bit more polishing 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
Mar 09, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
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 from more polish and a more logical 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.
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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
Andrew Mcdonald
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 30, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is good, but it could have been so much better. The first two chapters read as the extract for the papers, and it's not until Chapter 3 that Savva gets into the details. The book could have benefited from a tighter structure - less jumping from anecdote to anecdote, seemingly unrelated to a firm time line. There are also many typos, indicative of hasty editing and proofing. However, worth reading for what we learn about a disgraceful period in Oz politics. ...more
Marian Weaver

There was actually a good story buried in here, but the editing and proofing undermined it dreadfully. Scribe, ordinarily a particularly good publisher, really let Savva down with this book. It was difficult to stay engaged with what should have been a fascinating story.

If you can overlook the bad editing, it's a great read. The low rating is certainly not indicative of Savva's ability - it's Scribe's failure to bring her narrative to fruition.
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sometimes it's hard to work out what happened to the Australian Political system, and then along comes a book like this to explain quite a bit of it.

Whilst there is a page or two of salacious commentary and speculation (as often quoted in the media at the time of release) that's a minor distraction from the bulk that outlines an office, and people who operate in absolute, total and utter dysfunction. Stupidity, arrogance play their own part as well.

Alas it's the sort of book that the anti-Abbo
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Who would have thought politics could be so entertaining?! As a confirmed leftie, I always struggled to understand how Tony Abbott came to be Prime Minister in the first place. Although I am not a Liberal voter, I had never had any particular issue with the party until Tony Abbott came along. Having lived my life in Tony's long and strong held seat of Warringah, over the years I have come to be very familiar with Mr Abbott and his particular brand of right wing extremism. I always swore I would ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin destroyed their own government.’

Tony Abbott was Australia’s 28th Prime Minister, his chief of staff was Peta Credlin. He served as Prime Minister from 18 September 2013 to 14 September 2015. A period of less than two years, and shorter (even) than Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard. In this book, prominent political commentator, author, and columnist for The Australian Niki Savva sets out how Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin failed.

‘The combination of the two of them, so s
Neil Spark
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dysfunctional, damaging and delusional is the only conclusion to reach about Tony Abbott’s Prime Ministership after reading Road to Ruin. Nikki Savva, who worked for Peter Costello, has provided a detailed account of the workings of the office.

It confirms what was known: the job was beyond Abbott’s capability. There’s plenty of shocking information, from the micro-management of his chief of staff Peta Credlin to the way he treated colleagues. His claims of treachery, skullduggery and ambush abo
Teri Cooper
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it
I knew Abbott and Credlin were a sordid pair and that Tony Abbott was a useless a leader driven solely by ideology and personal religious convictions, however, the sheer scale of their collective shortcomings took me by surprise. If Dr Zachary Smith were still alive - and indeed a real person - he would almost certainly dub them "incompetent ninnies of the tallest order", and I really can't think of a more apt description.

An enjoyable romp through a deplorable and blissfully short period of Aus
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Corker of a read - even if half of the book is true (and I'm guessing a solid 80-90% of it's spot on), then the fact Tony Abbott was removed as leader is a damn good thing for Australia. ...more
Nicholas Whyte
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it

This is a book about Australian politics, of which I know little despite four years working for one of its more memorable characters. (He is quoted twice, one on the "Relevance Deprivation Syndrome" that hits politicians who have been removed from office, and once on Bronwyn Bishop: "Why do people take an instant dislike to her? It saves time.")

The story told is of the collapse of the government of Tony Abbott, who won the September 2013 election for the
Kate (Lillytales)
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Road to Ruin by Niki Savva documents the events that lead up to the second and final leadership spill that saw Tony Abbott removed from his prime ministerial office to be replaced by his rival, Malcolm Turnbull. For me, this was a book split into three parts: the first focused heavily on the relationship between Tony Abbott and his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, which read like an absolutely fascinating character study of two people who, quite frankly, couldn't get their shit together.

The mid
Malcolm Frawley
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I predicted that Tony Abbott would be the worst Prime Minister in Australia's history early in his reign. But it wasn't until I read this book, the 3rd* I have devoured about his time at the helm, that I fully appreciated how terminally incompetent he was/is. This is a man so monumentally incapable of doing the job to which he was elected that it defies the odds that he lasted as long as he did. The fact that his department was run by a woman who seemed to think it was she who had been voted int ...more
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wow! What a story. A great political insiders look at an incredibly dysfunctional PMs office. Some of the things revealed in this book you would doubt were real if Savva didn't use named sources to back up what she was saying.

It highlighted how completely delusional Abbott was and how little self-awareness he had. Not to mention that he was a pathological liar. If he decided that something happened one way and everyone else saw it happen another way there is no way you could convince him that h
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Weird people these politicians. Such egos and woeful listening skills. Unfortunately, this reads more as a prop for Turnbull than as a dissection of Abbott. Made me crinkle my nose.
Peter Geyer
One of the courses I applied for when finishing school was about Journalism, probably because I liked writing, and newspapers. In reality, I would have been totally unsuited interviewing, phone calling etc are still out of my league. Amongst other things, Niki Savva provides an insight into what political journalism requires, as a reporter and also as a staffer for senior politicians.

Savva is unusual in that she reports on the conservative, or Liberal, side of politics in Australia, without bein
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nikki Savva is an entertaining writer. Her descriptions of behind the scenes action illuminate areas of Abbotts time in govt that were not well known.
Tory Gregory
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hard to believe it's a true story! Baffling and addictive at the same time - reads more like a soap opera than a political drama but in a good way. ...more
Denise Rawling
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a politics tragic I devoured this clear sighted page turner - a double dose of weirdness with the Abbott/Credlin circus in full flight. Savva's insightful analysis, insider research and just plain good writing make this as fresh as when it was happening though I am reading it some years later. ...more
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by a connected political insider for political junkies, Niki Savva places the blame for the downfall of Tony Abbott on his relationship with his chief of staff Peta Credlin, and how they/she ran his office and the government. She writes not as a dispassionate observer, but as a political commentator who has not only many connections within politics but has herself worked inside that sphere.

This was almost the insiders guide to the (alleged) downfall of the Abbott government, time releva
Ben Thurley
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Weirdly enough, given my profession and interests, I don't read many political biographies or histories. I'm not normally one for insider political gossip, which is what this is. Well-informed, decently-written, but basically gossip. Which, if you're into Australian politics, is not necessarily a bad thing. However, Savva doesn't offer much by way of in-depth analysis of why and how our most recent Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin, destroyed Abbott's Prime Minist ...more
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Tony Abbott was the worst Prime Minister Australia has had for a very long time. The Australian press, initially very supportive of him, soon began a ceaseless stream of stories about his poor judgment and leadership. He was an embarrassment to us nationally and Internationally and we all sighed with relief when his party voted to change their leader for the remaining year of their term in office.
Niki Savva’s book compiles a long list of authoritative examples of the failings of Tony Abbott and
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“Abbott began the 2009 parliamentary year comatose on his office couch, and ended it by winning the Liberal leadership by one vote. Four years later, he was prime minister. Little more than six years later, he was back where he started. All of it wrought by his own hand. Is it any wonder he had trouble coming to terms with it?” 1 likes
“What happened made the staffer sit bolt upright, then shift back in his seat. To their dismay, they watched Credlin feed Abbott — who had a voracious appetite, and had already polished off his main course — mouthfuls of food from her plate with her fork. They had all heard the stories about her finishing his sentences for him at meetings with business leaders, but this took their behaviour to a whole other level. The MP noticed that a couple of other diners sitting nearby had witnessed the spectacle. Asked to describe the reaction of the other patrons, he told me: ‘It was like I am not seeing what I am seeing.’ According to the MP, Credlin also fed Abbott some of her dessert — again, from her fork, off her plate. As the meal was ending, she put her head on his shoulder to complain about being tired, to which Abbott said they must go soon.” 0 likes
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