Plots and Prayers: Malcolm Turnbull’s demise and Scott Morrison’s ascension

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Scribe Publications Pty Limited, Jul 1, 2019 - Political Science - 408 pages

In an enthralling sequel to her bestselling The Road to Ruin, Niki Savva reveals the inside story of a bungled coup that overthrew the Liberal prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and installed a surprise successor, Scott Morrison, who went on to take the party to a miraculous electoral victory.

On 21 August 2018, 35 Liberal MPs cast their vote against Malcolm Turnbull, effectively signalling the end of his leadership. Three days later, the deed was done, and Scott Morrison was anointed prime minister.

Tony Abbott’s relentless campaign of destabilisation, helped along by his acolytes in the parliament and by his powerful media mates, the betrayals of colleagues, and the rise of the religious right — climaxing in Peter Dutton's challenge — all played a part in Turnbull’s downfall.

But so did Turnbull’s own poor political judgement. He was a good prime minister and a terrible politician. The good bits of Malcolm were not enough to make up for the bad Malcolm.

Nevertheless, the sheer brutality of his removal left many Liberals aghast. MPs were traumatised or humiliated by eight days of madness. Men and women cried from sheer anguish. They went through hell, and feared when it was over that they would not make it back — and nor would the Liberal Party. As it turned out, redemption came with Morrison’s unexpected single-handed 2019 election victory.

Turnbull’s road ended in ruins, as it was always bound to and as he always knew it would, as he predicted to Niki Savva less than three years before it happened.

But when his end was imminent, he could not bear to let go. And when it was over, he was defiant, fragile — and, yes — vengeful.

This is the inside story of what happened — and what happened next.

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About the author (2019)

Niki Savva is one of the most senior correspondents in the Canberra Press Gallery. She was twice political correspondent on The Australian, and headed up the Canberra bureaus of both The Herald Sun and The Age. When family tragedy forced a career change, she became Peter Costello’s press secretary for six years and was then on John Howard’s staff for three. Her work has brought her into intimate contact with Australia’s major political players for more than 35 years. She is a regular columnist for The Australian, and often appears on ABC TV’s Insiders.

In March 2017, the Melbourne Press Club bestowed Niki with a lifetime achievement award for ‘outstanding coverage of Australian politics as a reporter, columnist and author’. Her previous book, The Road to Ruin, was a major bestseller, and won the 2016 General Nonfiction Book of the Year Award at the Australian Book Industry Awards.

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