Niki Savva examines in forensic detail the 2019 election of the Morrison government.
Who were the plotters in Malcolm Turnbull's downfall, and why did they want him gone? And how did Scott Morrison come up the middle, surprising everyone to win the Liberal Party leadership? These questions and more are answered in Plots and Prayers, a detailed account of the tumultuous leadership challenges of 2018.
Author Niki Savva has worked both as a political journalist and as a Liberal staffer, giving her unique insights and a broad range of insider contacts. She brings all this into play, painting a drama of almost Shakespearean proportions, with a cast of ego driven, ambitious men and women, all sharpening their knives and either plotting or planning. The book is a stark, if ugly, reminder that politics is primarily about personalities, with policy coming a poor second.
What went wrong? A decade long war between two of the party's titans, Abbott and Turnbull, meant the Liberals were in constant turmoil. Turnbull didn't help. Brilliant, yes, difficult according to his friends, he was a poor communicator with a Quixotic streak who couldn't see what was happening around him.
Comprehensive and with a wealth of fascinating interview material, Niki Savva has given us a definitive document of the times.
Plots and Prayers, by Niki Savva. Scribe $35
Review by Chris Saliba
North Melbourne Books