Genre: Political non-fiction
Publisher: Scribe Publications
I’m aware that this book review comes about a year too late as we have just passed the first anniversary of Australia’s current prime minister’s rise to leader of the Liberal National Party, but The Road to Ruin is still relevant as it provides readers with an understanding of how we got to where we are today.
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 middle section discusses the Liberal Party in general, its key players, the issues that plagued its progress under Abbott’s rule and how the internal machine faltered and sputtered when Credlin worked towards isolating the prime minister from the rest of his party. The third and final section of the book reads as a countdown towards the leadership spill.
As with any piece of non-fiction (especially when it’s political) it’s important to be critical of whose voice is represented and whose isn’t. Throughout this read, I wanted to know more about Niki Savva – why does she have the opinions she does? Is her viewpoint objective? Is she a credible source to be speaking about certain people and situations? Those questions will inevitably be answered by each different reader, however it cannot be denied that Niki Savva has a substantial background knowledge into the every day goings on in Australia’s government – and although some of this book reads like fiction (surely our parliament can’t be that much of a circus, right?), you have to remind yourself that these events actually occurred, in very recent history. Frightening.
The Road to Ruin tells the story of how Tony Abbott, with Peta Credlin’s constant assistance, played hard and ruthless to get to the top spot and how they then struggled to remain there through isolating the prime minister’s office and not allowing any communication to come in or out without it first going through Credlin. Credlin reads like a stereotypical bully in this book: a character who provides great interest for the reader as she makes rash decisions, manipulates her colleagues (and opponents) and, seemingly, will do anything to wield the power her position allows her.
This book is the behind-the-scenes story of how the Abbott government imploded, even with all of the forewarning that came before the day of the leadership spill. A fascinating book with great insight into the aspects of a government that otherwise would be unknown by Australia’s public. I was hooked from page one.