Prior to entering politics, he was a long-serving police officer in Victoria and England. From 1967 to 1969, he was a police officer with the Metropolitan Police in London. After leaving the police force in 1990, Savage entered local politics as a councillor for the Shire of Mildura council, until 1995 when the Shire was merged with the City of Mildura and Shire of Walpeup into the Rural City of Mildura.
Savage ran as an independent candidate for the seat of Mildura in the 1996 Victorian state election.
Savage based his campaign on the neglect of rural Victoria by incumbent Premier Jeff Kennett"s government, in particular its closure of the Vinelander rail service between Melbourne and Mildura. His campaign was successful, and Savage was elected after a large swing from the incumbent Liberal member Craig Bildstien.
At the next Victorian election in 1999, Savage retained his seat, and along with two other independents (Craig Ingram and Susan Davies), held the balance of power in the Victorian parliament (pending the results of a supplementary election in Frankston East following the death of sitting Member of Parliament Peter McLellan on election day). At 11am on 18 October, Savage, Ingram and Davies held simultaneous press conferences, announcing their support for the Labor Party led by Steve Bracks.
Savage lost his seat to the National Party"s Peter Crisp in the 2006 Victorian State election, a loss he attributed to the Nationals" high-budget campaign, Labor"s failure to reopen the Mildura rail link, and a proposal to build a toxic waste dump in his electorate.
After leaving his seat, Savage kept a low profile, saying "There"s nothing more dull than ex-members of parliament.