Credlin told Abbott to 'f--- off' ahead of 2013 election
THE CONTROL that former chief of staff Peta Credlin had over then Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been dissected in detail in a new book published this week.
The book, by The Australian's senior writer and former advisor to John Howard and Peter Costello, Niki Savva, has examined the key political relationship which saw Mr Abbott rise to the highest office in the land.
While Ms Credlin's influence over the former PM has been examined in the past as a key factor that led to his downfall, Sava's account was informed by numerous insiders willing to go on the record about the tempestuous time.
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The book details numerous instances of how Ms Credlin overruled Mr Abbott's decision to attend meetings and travelled with Mr Abbott to control what he did and said at various events.
It also shows how Ms Credlin sought to control Mr Abbott's diary, vetting events, including attempts to isolate other staff trying to access Mr Abbott who had differing views to her own.
The book also examines Ms Credlin's past as a political staffer, giving voice to what previously had been quiet whispers of the way she managed various offices and people.
Mr Abbott and Ms Credlin have not responded to Savva's book, other than to say she failed to contact them to respond to claims made about them by others in the book.
The book, The Road to Ruin: How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government, goes on sale this week.
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According to author Niki Savva, the pair's mutual destruction was assured by their often bizarre behaviour, including:
- Credlin was overheard telling the then Opposition Leader to "F--- off!" by Abbott staffer Murray Cranston as they travelled to Perth Airport ahead of the 2013 election. She yelled that "he would be nothing without her".
- As PM, Abbott attemtped to force an entire Cabinet meeting to apologise to Credlin after someone told an off-colour joke about a submarine. She lectured them, and said it was why the party was "doing so badly among women".
- Abbott declined to meet PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill because Credlin said she would not "allow" the meeting. He asked a senior advisor to convince her to let him speak to the foreign leader but when she said "it's not going to happen", the meeting was refused.