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Plots and Prayers

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Photo of Sally Warhaft and Niki Savva

Sally Warhaft and Niki Savva

When Julia Gillard overthrew Kevin Rudd in 2010 it was as if the Canberra sky fell in. In the years since, we’ve seen Rudd the Second punished by the electorate and Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull each dispatched by their own party. This year, something changed. Scott Morrison and the Coalition government were re-elected as if the leadership coup against Turnbull never occurred.

Niki Savva is a veteran of Australian journalism and Liberal Party circles – and she was among the many people who were shocked by the May 18 result. At the time of the election, Savva was working on a book called Highway to Hell, documenting the infighting that led to Turnbull's downfall and an expected defeat for the coalition in the polls. The election result occasioned an extra chapter and a new title for the project. The finished book, called Plots and Prayers: Malcolm Turnbull’s Demise and Scott Morrison’s Ascension tells the inside story of conflict and vengeance within the Liberal Party and the extraordinary rise of our new Prime Minister. 

With Sally Warhaft, Savva discusses Canberra savagery and political miracles.


Portrait of Niki Savva

Niki Savva

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

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians' lives in the fog of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.

The Fifth Estate

The important stories of the day – off the front pages.

Sally Warhaft hosts a dizzying array of guests from the worlds of politics, culture, international relations and beyond, in a witty and revealing analysis of current affairs.