Niki Savva

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Niki Savva
OccupationJournalist, political staffer
  • Andreas Savva (father)
  • Elpiniki (mother)

Niki Savva is an Australian journalist, author, and former senior adviser to Prime Minister John Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello.

Early life[edit]

Savva was born in the village of Choli, Cyprus. Her father Andreas emigrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1951 and she followed with her mother Elpiniki and brother Steven several years later.[1]

Career and personal life[edit]

Savva started work as a journalist at the Dandenong Journal, before moving to The Australian newspaper. In her early twenties, she moved to Canberra to work as a correspondent in the Canberra press gallery, for The Australian newspaper and later for the Herald Sun and The Age. She also worked as the Washington correspondent for News Limited.[2]

The illness and death of her sister Christina at 43 caused Savva to reconsider her career in journalism in 1997, and she accepted a job offer from federal Treasurer Peter Costello as his media advisor.[3] She worked for Costello for six years before joining the staff of Prime Minister John Howard for three years on Howard's Cabinet Policy Unit.[4]

She now writes as a columnist for The Australian and appears regularly as a panelist on the ABC's Insiders program.[4]

Savva is married to Vince Woolcock, a Liberal political staffer.[5]

Political views[edit]

In a book about her time as an adviser to Peter Costello, and then to John Howard, Savva described herself as a "conservative leftie".[4] On the Liberal side of politics, she supported Costello's leadership ambitions, over those of the more conservative Howard,[6] and, later, Malcolm Turnbull's leadership ambitions over those of the conservative Tony Abbott.[7]

According to journalist Laurie Oakes, Savva said in 2011 that journalists can lie, but politicians shouldn't: "As a journalist I lied often, usually about my sources, but about other things, too. Journalists can and do get away with lying; politicians and staff can't. Nor should they."[6]

In 2016, her book The Road to Ruin: how Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin destroyed their own government was released to much critical acclaim. Based on Savva's unrivalled access to Abbott and Credlin's colleagues, and devastating first-person accounts of what went on behind the scenes, it outlined the fall of the Abbott Government, relating it to Abbott's closeness to his chief of staff, Peta Credlin.[8] Savva was criticised by Abbott and Credlin, several journalists, and the ABC's Media Watch,[9] for not contacting the subjects of her book for comment on its claims, or giving them a right of reply.[10] However, the book was hailed by many others as an exceptional piece of investigative journalism, with none of Savva's claims in the book having been disputed since its publication. Michael Gawenda wrote in The Sydney Morning Herald: "It is a terrific book, but that's not the point here. The point is that Savva does not rely on anonymous sources for her examination of the relationship between Abbott and Peta Credlin. Her sources are named. They speak for themselves. We know who they are and where they worked and we know the terms and circumstances of their relationships with Abbott or Credlin."[11]

The Road to Ruin won the 2017 Australian Book Industry Award (ABIA) for General Non-fiction Book of the Year.[12]


Date first published Title Publisher information Sales Source
22 November 2010 So Greek: Confessions of a Conservative Leftie Scribe Publishers, paperback, ISBN 1-92164-083-9 N/A [13]
7 March 2016 The Road to Ruin: how Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin destroyed their own government Scribe Publishers, paperback, ISBN 1-92532-140-1 34,000[14]
(as of August 2016)
due 2019 Highway to Hell


  1. ^ "Niki Savva: An insider's view". Neos Kosmos. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Niki Savva's journey from small town Cyprus to Canberra politics". Conversations with Richard Fidler. ABC Radio. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  3. ^ Tiffen, Rodney. "Canberra journalist, Costello spin doctor, Howard whinger". Australian Review of Public Affairs. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Insiders". Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Abbott Credlin Book Claims Pair Say Journalist Failed to Check Rumours Before Printing". Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Peter Costello press secretary Niki Savva reveals all". Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Nocookies". The Australian. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Tony Abbott-Peta Credlin relationship at heart of government dysfunction, Niki Savva book claims - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Going soft on Savva". Media Watch. ABC. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  10. ^ Maddison, Sarah (11 March 2016). "Abbott and Credlin deserved a right of reply". The Drum. ABC. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Anonymous Sources: it's how politicians lie to us". Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  12. ^ "ABIA win for Niki Savva". Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Meade, Amanda (25 August 2016). "Channel Nine's legal blowout and the international mystery tour of Andrew Bolt's book". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  15. ^