Tony Abbott’s media strategy straight from John Howard playbook

Tony Abbott’s media strategy straight from John Howard playbook, by John Lyons.

Tony Abbott appears to have thoroughly absorbed one lesson from his mentor John Howard: survival in the wilderness. His media strategy could be straight from the playbook of Howard. …

Howard’s long road to the Prime Ministership involved many unexpected detours. He was leader of the Opposition from 1985 to 1989, when he lost the position to Andrew Peacock. He regained the leadership in 1995.

In those wilderness years, Howard deployed a strategic mindset so that he could continue to be part of the national debate.

Howard relentlessly used the ABC, despite having reservations about it — his staff say his view was that the national broadcaster was “our enemies talking to our friends.”

But in his years in exile, Howard tirelessly worked the ABC’s radio programs, often ringing up radio programs such as ‘PM’ to offer his perspective on various issues of the day.

It kept Howard alive politically, and finally allowed him to successfully launch a comeback.

Rather than the ABC, Abbott’s radio network of choice is Sydney’s 2GB. His fortnightly spot with top-rating morning presenter Ray Hadley gives him a guaranteed platform to set the news agenda.