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Are we guilty of Schadenfreude?

Reading the mainstream newspapers this week and listening to talkback radio has been like going back in time to 2013 when the Labor government was in disarray, the economy was supposedly haemorrhaging and the national debt was skyrocketing.

We remember how the Murdoch press were in hyper drive spilling out story after story about a dysfunctional government, incompetent ministers, backbench members speaking out of turn, leadership rumblings which turned out to be true and so on, and so on. Talkback Radio was doing much the same.

Today, that same Murdoch press are still at it, as are Fairfax and yes, talkback radio too. And it is still the government they are lambasting, except that it is the new government, the one we elected just 17 months ago. How the wheel has turned.

Yesterday, February 4th 2015 was perhaps the most telling when Paul Kelly, editor at large with The Australian wrote such a scathing article about the present government, I thought we had just emerged from some form of time travel.

A link to Paul’s article is blocked behind a paywall. But this is what he wrote, “The Abbott government is being destroyed before our eyes. The Liberal Party’s frustrations and divisions have cracked wide open. It has taken only 17 months for a sizeable section of the party to announce that Tony Abbott has failed as PM and needs to be liquidated.”

I would go further than that, Paul. The whole government needs to be liquidated. But in saying that I hope neither of us have violated some obscure national security law that might interpret the word ‘liquidated’ as meaning something more than a harmless metaphor.

As Paul’s article points out though, this whole, hilarious circus, has come to this point, i.e. the possibility of a leadership spill next week, without a leadership contender playing any part. It’s all about the failings of the present leader.

Frankly, anybody who could see through the facade Tony Abbott has been hiding behind for the last five years, could see this coming a mile away. When looking at his contradictory nature, things he said way back when, compared with his comments on a variety of issues today, it should have been obvious to anyone in the media a long time ago.

It was obvious for a large part of the electorate. That is evidenced by the election result itself; hardly a landslide. But such was the hatred for Julia Gillard, who by any measure looks positively presidential today, those contradictory failings were allowed to go through to the keeper by a supportive media who just wanted her, Kevin Rudd and Labor out.

And now the chickens have come home to roost. For those of us who saw what was happening, who could see the fallacy of Abbott’s promises, the lies about the state of the economy, the opportunism over the boat people, the regressive climate change policy and perhaps a dozen or so other contradictions, we are all now struggling to hide our enjoyment at the way things have turned out.

Are we guilty of Schadenfreude? Yes we are. Schadenfreude is such a delightful way of expressing our present feelings. I think Blair Donaldson, a responder on Facebook captured the feeling best when he wrote, “If members of Abbott’s own party are more interested in removing him than finding a viable alternative, it says a lot about the poisonous atmospherics in the party. There must be a fair bit of schadenfreude among the PM’s critics in the party and on the opposition benches as they watch Abbott get undone by his own ego and incompetence.”

Abbott’s time as PM is nearly over. It just needs to be pronounced. But I can’t help thinking how much I would enjoy letting it bleed on for a little while longer.

Schadenfreude does that to you.


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  1. bobrafto

    When Howard started lying about the ‘children overboard’ and that absolute fiasco on the wharves, there was considerable angst building up in me and I couldn’t wait for the day Howard got the boot.

    And when he did get the boot, I felt deflated, there was no more rage to maintain.

    This time round it is Abbott building up the angst and I felt privileged that I was able to use Photoshop as a means of relieving my angst.

    The same can be said about John and his missives.

    No doubt arseholes can contribute to inspiration in creating missives or graphics.

  2. DanDark

    Yes what goes around comes around, he will be gone by end of February 🙂 as I said a few weeks ago
    Tones has been gone in the head for years though
    What did he used to say, I don’t have to ask permission, just ask for forgiveness or some bloody crap like that
    And he still wants people to forgive the git for frightening the shit out of the majority of the population
    for the past 17 months, he as 2 chances now nil and zero, he lives in La La land and has done all
    his useless life….

  3. David

    John one point we should all remember about those words of Mr Kelly…..there is no way in the world, no way that Kelly wrote that without the approval of Murdoch. He would not have the guts.

  4. Ross in Gippsland

    Prime ministers come and go, most don’t leave a big mark on any of us. In my 63 years I’ve seen a few.
    Liked Whitlam when he was PM, he left his mark, vastly respected him and his achievements later in life. Loathed and detested Fraser when PM, not so much now. Liked Bob Hawke, the first Hawke government the best we are ever likely to see, it’s a pity he self destructed but I would still shout Bob a beer anytime anywhere. Liked Keating just didn’t like his neocon ideas. Barely tolerated Howard, always thought of him as a poisonous little cane toad. Didn’t mind Rudd, liked Julia better, even sent her a thank you card when she left politics. That leaves us with Abbott, a PM who has and will leave an indelible stain.
    Without a doubt the very worst PM of the very worst government, together with the very worst Liberal and National parties, in living memory.
    I want them all gone now, never to return, but seeing Abbott done slowly will also do me just fine.

  5. wmmbb

    Tony Abbott has raised the question of who – how ironic – gets to select PM’s. This decision is the discretion of the party, but is “endorsed” in some sense at the general election. How did somebody who is demonstrably a political incompetent. My expectation is that sooner or later, this situation will come unstuck. At the moment ideological positions are trumping pragmatism. Historically, it is interesting to observe that ideological divisiveness was more a problem for the left.

    As for the mass media, they are infatuated with their own self-importance.

  6. Graham Houghton

    Better than death by chocolate and I’m not the one dying.

  7. June

    i confess I felt momentary guilty reading your (thought provoking) article John. How am I any better than the Lib zealots and media hacks that howled so derisively against Rudd and Gillard? There IS a difference however. Under ALP the budget deficit wasn’t a consequence of buying dud planes etc. we all the know the issues with the current LNP policies so I won’t repeat them here. I balm my conscience in the knowledge that Abbot & co find themselves in this debacle because they created it, rather than at the hands of a vicious and malignant opposition and biased MSM campaign.

    @ Ross in Gipsland – you echoed my sentiments exactly.

    I am one of those previously-indifferent-to-politics voters … Until Abbott rose as leader of the LNP, and then PM. What a tragedy for our country he has risen so high. Never again will apathy or disinterest be my prevailing attitude towards our leaders. Lesson learned.

  8. flohri1754

    @ Ross in Gippsland …. though only having been in touch with Australian politics since 1984, from my reading of Australian political history since 1901, I would agree with you entirely on your condensed overview ….

  9. philgorman2014

    Enjoy it while you can. Unfortunately insidious corpocracy blights all three major parties, and they all dance to Citizen Murdoch’s nasty tunes.

  10. Graeme Henchel

    To paraphrase Paul Keating. Maybe Abbott was the recession in values and vision we had to have. Abbott’s demise started as soon as he defeated Turnbull to become opposition leader. It was then that he decided to throw out all pretence of being a responsible opposition and having a truthful dialogue. He would never have become PM if it weren’t for Rudd’s own dysfunctional and narcissistic behaviours. To be honest I was sad to see labor defeated at the last election but not sad to see Rudd go. In my view his restoration to labor leadership after his undermining of JG should never have been rewarded. But back to Abbott. He has so tainted political discourse in this country that he has taken it to a nadir. Abbott has not recognised the change not only in the nature of the political debate but in the medium. As one wit said in the Guardian comments, Abbott is a political climate change denier. No more evidence of this is necessary than his dismissal of social media as “electronic graffiti”. The MSM media is becoming increasingly irrelevant and seen rightly as the mouthpiece of corrupt moguls. The real debate, the incisive analysis is occurring in the new media including AIM, the Guardian, the Conversation etc. There is much humorous and sometimes puerile contributions to the comments sections of these publications but there is also many fascinating and informative contributions made. The analysis of Turnbull and Bishop as alternative leaders in social media is already streets ahead of what is occurring in the MSM.
    Perhaps the one good outcome of the Abbott kakistocracy is that it has given impetus and importance to the electronic graffiti. It is the alternative media that has taken up the fight to the Abbott/IPA agenda and the MSM is now fast paying catch up.

  11. Lee

    I’m divided between the drawing out of Abbott’s leadership and seeing Margie’s hangdog face all the time.

  12. eli nes

    spot on david kelly lost our family support when he tried to explain he was not writing for rupert and he feigned anger at such a suggestion.
    But, perhaps any long term joy should be tempered by the power of one of abbutt’s portfolio responsibilities.
    The focus of the women autocuists is that we should focus on what he has done rather than his faults. They then repeat what ‘he says he has done, as what they ‘believe he has done’ with no references to medicare, medibank, FTAs , jobs and $billions sent overseas etc.
    How ironic would it be that his dishonest attacks on gillard so astoundingly and spectacularly effective when repeated in the media, at bbqs and pubs are considered unfair when applied to abbutt and the women of australia, who did not support gillard, rally around him??????

  13. Citizen Dave

    I agree with the sentiment but use if the word ” Schadenfreude” is smug elitist wank!
    Speak english you smug prick!

  14. Blanik

    I want to see him shed tears of blood.

    Schadenfreude will do me until abetter word comes up, CO. Perhaps you can offer a better one?

  15. philgorman2014

    Citizen Dave. Think about it.

    English is a thieving mongrel language that has always enriched itself by pinching everyone else’s best words and phrases. Schadenfreude is brilliant and has no English equivalent.

  16. Bilal

    It is to be hoped that Abbott has enough idiot support to survive. The last thing democratic Australia needs is an intelligent leader of this moronic front bench. They all need to be put into the garbage bin of history and Tony’s survival as PM will make sure that happens.

  17. Geoff Andrews

    … but who to replace Abbott?
    I understand Campbell Newman is available.
    With Parliament starting next week, why doesn’t Labor ask every Minister a question and not ask Abbot anything. Maybe concentrate on the National party ministers?
    I’m sure a motion of no confidence in Monsewer Abbot is close at hand. Could be a good guide for the LNP number crunchers.

  18. gangey1959

    @ RossIG. Spot on, but personally I have a bit of a reservation about Hawke. And I couldn’t stand Howard.
    Schadenfreude ??
    Does it really matter what words or metaphors we use.
    Lets face it. Tones is stuffed. There. I said it. In every way, including biblically (haha, cop that on TA) by any one who can get close enough. Except his missus if she has half a brain.
    All we need now is to know who is going to lead the LNP into their next election loss.
    Are we guilty of it ? Bloody oath.

  19. keerti

    Agreed Philgorman2014…. That’s why I prefer the German scheisser for shit! It captures more of energetics and feeling of it! There is definitely more in,”He is a disgusting, low down, low life piece of scheisser.” Than in ,”He is a disgusting, low down, low life piece of shit.”

  20. diannaart

    Are we guilty of Schadenfreude?


    Am also rather gobsmacked at the vociferous turning of the MSM on its previously vaunted wunderkind. Conservatives eh? Love you one minute, stab you in the eye the next.

  21. Simmo

    Schadenfreude is just a better way of saying ‘sucked in’, so get over it.

  22. Bolly

    I am for a long drawn out experience. No political euthanasia please.

  23. stuff me

    I don’t care what you call it, they are rooted…

  24. Florence nee Fedup

    Good strategy to ask Abbott question is QT. One never gets a answer anyway.

  25. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Let it bleed on until they call an election.

  26. georgep

    Guilty of schadenfreude? Not on your life. I’m revelling, joyous, even ecstatic that The Mad Monk is getting what he’s owed. Guilt is the last thing I feel about Abbott’s current predicament.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Julie Bishop ✔ @JulieBishopMP
    @JoeHockey A desperate PM leading a bitterly divided party resorting to base politics of fear and division seeking to distract from ALP woes

    6:59 PM – 11 Jun 2013

    Julie Bishop ✔ @JulieBishopMP
    ALP now have 3 “leaders” – the Defender, the Contender and the Pretender.

    5:10 PM – 10 Jun 2013

    Hon. Scott Morrison ✔ @ScottMorrisonMP
    Labor leadership chatter is all about a Government sacking itself for its own poor performance #fb

    7:38 PM – 23 Jun 2010

    Michaelia Cash ✔ @SenatorCash
    Labor continues to obsess about leadership because the Prime Minister continues to show bad judgement.

    1:50 PM – 19 Mar 2013

    steveciobo ✔ @steveciobo
    @fitzhunter utters the words that everyone knows are a death sentence for Gillard – “the PM has my total support” just now #abcnews24

    5:47 PM – 18 Jun 2012

  28. Helen Brennan

    reading grinning evilly… agree with the comments re the abbott regime. TA is a dead man walking time will finish him off..but the terrifying aspect is the damage that these neocon barbarians are doing to our society, our environment and our economy.. all in the mindless worship of the dollar..

  29. mludowyk

    Can’t get the grin off my face watching the news at the moment. I do hope they ‘do him slowly’.

  30. lawrencewinder

    My schadenfreude will only be complete when as philgorman2014 alludes to “The-Coots-with -Queer-Ideas-From-a-Parallel-Universe” , the bloody IPA as “The Ugly American,” Murdoch’s choir are “liquidated”, too.

  31. corvus boreus

    For those who are suffering a surfeit of “schadenfreude”, may I recommend trying “epicaricacy” as an alternative?

  32. BSA Bob

    Abbott’s a special case. It’s not a crime to feel the emotion of schadenfreude when considering his demise. I’ve been terrified of him ever since I became aware of him as a junior Howard minister on the way up. And I can put my hand on my heart & say I’m genuinely bewildered as to why anyone could think otherwise. I’ve got a truckload of schadenfreude.

    He was an installation of the media & the sad thing is that when he goes they’ll circle the wagons around their new liberal darling. They’ll get the same easy ride Abbott got.
    All this current stuff from the media is just their primal obsession with blood in the water.

  33. diannaart


    “epicaricacy” nah, ‘schadenfreude’ works fine – I have spent years passing on the meaning of this satisfying word plus: the German simply aids the pronunciation with emotion a’plenty, whereas the English sounds rather like something you take to induce vomit.

    I was going to use the German for ‘plenty’ but decided not to – the English is just fine for this one. 😉

  34. Geoff Andrews

    There you go, Citizen Dave; good ‘ole Corvus has given you the good ‘ole English word, “epicaricacy”, instead of that wanky, kraut word “schadeklzt…”, (or something). Don’t worry, even I had to look up both words. Mind you, Corvus is a bit of a tosser too like most commentators on this site.
    Just between you and me, the site doesn’t have the balance you get with “The Australian” or the ABC.

  35. Kaye Lee

    One wonders why you bother reading it then Geoff. But thanks for your insightful comment which contributed so much.

  36. The AIM Network

    Perhaps then, Geoff, you’d like to offer some balance.

    Something more constructive than your previous comment would be a good place to start.

  37. DanDark

    Kaye one dosnt have to “wonder” Tones is a goner, it’s curtains for him now, so out come the attack dogs,
    Life is too short to bother with Tones” bovver boys” 🙂
    Yesterday after consulting with GPs Natalie from the greens, they expect doctors visit will be 100 bucks
    if the LNP get their way, and 60 bucks for people on a pension card….

  38. stephentardrew

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the media actually told the truth that they are all fools because they were fooled by Abbott and his team. Pointy blame works wonders when the arrow is actually bending back on its defenders.

    So the media and conservative voters are demonstrable fools because they allowed themselves to be misled like a bunch of sheeple in a complicit act of sabotage and incredulous gullibility.

    Watch them all point and blame without taking one iota of responsibility for their act of bastardy. Every one of the journalist that supported Abbott have lost all credibility.

    Come on Guys and Gals fess up.

    Once a fool always a fool.

    Point is can you be trusted?

    Doubt it.

  39. Geoff Andrews

    It WAS tongue in cheek, Kaye.

  40. diannaart


    There ARE emoticons – to enable any reader to understand written words, which lacks sound indicators, when something is tongue in cheek.


    Just trying to be helpful 😉

    Have a nice day 😀

  41. Geoff Andrews

    “Perhaps then, Geoff, you’d like to offer some balance.
    Something more constructive than your previous comment would be a good place to start.”
    I presume I’m addressing editorial staff of AIMN.
    I will paraphrase my “previous comment”.
    I suggested, sarcastically, that the Liberals could always fall back on Campbell Newman, after all, three years ago the Qld LNP had nobody better in parliament; that Labor should not give Abbot any air by asking him any questions: rather, that all questions should be directed to National Party ministers as the National party are being forced to stand around like a herd of cows waiting to be serviced while the bulls fight it out in the other paddock, so they (the ministers) might like the opportunity to damn Abbott with faint praise and finally I opined, constructively of course, that a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister might flush out his supporters and may even induce someone to cross the floor. Now that would be fun.
    Did you perceive a mischievous motive in, what I considered to be, constructive comment?
    My comment on the balance of AIMN was strictly between me & Citizen Kane.

  42. Michael Taylor

    Geoff, we were unaware that your comment was tongue-in-cheek.

  43. corvus boreus

    I am, I freely confess, rather partial to tossing the odd quick one off the wrist when I feel the need to clear out some custard.
    I masturbate and I vote (not necessarily simultaneously).

    Ps, I have not as yet found any ‘pure’ English replacement for the most beautiful German term “backpfeifengesicht”

  44. Geoff Andrews

    Thank god for someone with a sense of the ridiculous.
    It could well be that Dave’s comment was meant to be :-J (happy now, Diannaart?), in which case my comment was unnecessarily trivial (happy now, Kaye?) and am guilty of the same misinterpretations of Kaye Lee and Mr Taylor. A bit like a pedant sought of getting it wrong.

  45. John Kelly

    Corvus, so pleased that you were able to share that with us.

  46. Kaye Lee

    I do apologise Geoff. I would do embarrassed emoticon if I knew how.

  47. David

    You are on to it Geoff,

  48. diannaart

    “backpfeifengesicht” awesome word – CB

    Always was happy, Geoff – I would do raspberry emoticon if I knew how.

  49. Geoff Andrews

    Michael Taylor,
    My comment to Dave was tongue in cheek including any reference to “balance” and tossers”, my reference to Campbell Newman was tongue in cheek, my suggestions that no questions be directed to Abbott and the assumption that Labor will bring on a motion of no confidence were serious and, I thought, constructive. There will be one question time and normal debate on Monday and a spill motion on Tuesday. Hopefully, Labor has some better tactics for this golden opportunity than my feeble suggestions.

  50. Lee

    Corvus, I think that qualifies as an overshare. 😀

  51. Geoff Andrews

    I dips me lid to ya. I thought when you introduced “backpfeifengesicht” into the conversation you were making it up, but the wonders of google have set me straight. Wouldn’t Shakespeare have had a ball had he have been German.

    If the tossers in the back room of AIMN had their shit together, they’d be working on a process where you could have sent me a sound recording of a raspberry or even a 15 second skype recording (a la Q&A).
    But I suppose it’s too hard … can’t be done … not enough storage …. metadata problems ……..let’s wait for Bill Gates to do it …. sorry, sorry, silly comment … must be stoned.

  52. Michael Taylor

    “If the tossers in the back room of AIMN had their shit together”

    That’s a big ask. :mrgreen:

  53. Geoff Andrews

    Just a constructive thought, mate. Someone will do it in the next 5 years so it may as well be my favourite, imbalanced web site.

  54. gangey1959

    I just can’t wait for Tuesday.
    @ Dianaart. I think the English word you are looking for that would be a general replacement for “emetic”, as in something used to induce vomit, is surely “Abbott”
    Have a fun weekend folks.

  55. diannaart


    Close, my friend, I was certainly thinking of an emetic; a type of which is called “syrup of ipecac”.

    Enjoy your weekend, next week promises to be a doozy.

  56. Robyn Brice

    I have to admit, I am enjoying watching the bloodletting in the LNP. They deserve it, but they are still damaging us as well. As much as it is entertaining watching Abbott stumble from one disaster to another, watching Peta Credlin look as though she is ready to chew through steel and all the other being decimated one by one, I fee that for the sake of the country, they have to go so we can get about the business of fixing the damage these mongrels have wrought. I will miss the protest marches though.

  57. venessam

    Every so often, I disobey the firm directive of my circle of friends “never read the comments the collective idiocy will just enrage you” I’m so glad I did this time. Since its so entirely unbalanced 🙂 towards people with mainly half a brain, I don’t have to listen to the ravings of the ideological over the factual. And discovering “backpfeifengesich” was worth the whole ride. Now if i can only figure our how to pronounce it I can use it at parties and amaze my friends…

  58. TechinBris

    Das backpfeifengesicht! I had forgotten that one. You have to love the way the Germans compound their words. So logical, but a gruelling read if write a big number without using Hindu-Arabic numerals. :{P

  59. Jexpat

    You have to love the way the Germans compound their words. So logical, but a gruelling read.

    Not only grueling to read, but also grueling to (or attempt to) speak!

    They’ve got nothing on the Welsh, though:

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