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.
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
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.