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An increasingly isolationist american could undermine our protective ring of superpower agreements




FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop showed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull her mobile phone during Question Time, confirming news plunging markets were already reacting to.

Donald Trump had been victorious over the Democrats and much of the Republican Party, and had left Hillary Clinton in the Ohio and Michigan rust belt dust.

The man Mr Turnbull had criticised for loathsome comments about women, and opposition leader Bill Shorten had called barking mad, had won the election that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce described as a really dirty, filthy concoction.

Mr Trump spoke a lot of rubbish during the campaign, attractive as many voters found him, but there are some commitments he cant be relied on to be too inexperienced to implement.

And one of the central promises he made was that a Trump administration would pull the shutters down around an isolationist America.

The implications for Australia, a middle-ranked nation reliant on multilateral arrangements to keep in touch with the super powers and to ensure China and the USA keep talking, are substantial.

Mr Trump was sent to the White House by a block of insecure workers including 50 per cent of union member voters who believe trade agreements are paid for with their jobs.

Mr Trump agrees with them and has vowed to wreck such arrangements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

That means it is almost certain the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership of 12 nations including Australia will not proceed and the trade dividend Coalition governments have promised will not appear.

This puts a cloud over the US participation in other pacts such as the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum (APEC).

The mood within the RG Casey Building, the HQ of the Department of Foreign Affairs down the hill from Parliament, would have been as severe as the markets.

Mr Trumps campaign bravado threatened a showdown with China that would pitch Australia into the excruciating gulf between our major global security partner and our biggest trading partner.

This would not enhance chances of resolving tensions over the South China Sea, for example, a problem for us, Japan and South Korea. A Trump administration might decide the USA should abandon our region.

Further, the Trump exploitation of fear of Muslims not just Islamic extremists will have an impact on US relations with our biggest and most important near-neighbour, Islamic Indonesia.

Our hopes in the Middle East also are at risk. We must remember we have military men and women there supporting our interests in peaceful settlements, improbable as they might seem at the moment.

Mr Trump has preached a simplistic message of trust in President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to fight and defeat Islamic State, ignoring the Assad regimes murders of its own people and the strong case against him of dissidents.

As another leader Mr Trump likes, Russias Vladimir Putin, has found, bombing IS into the stone age isnt easy.

Among the allied nations warning that American faith in Assad would be foolish, and could increase the possibility of a bigger war involving Turkey and Iran, is Israel. There is huge trepidation in Tel Aviv over Mr Trumps grasp of foreign affairs.

Meanwhile, Mr Trumps Australian surrogates such as Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, One Nation senator Pauline Hanson and the LNPs George Christensen, will claim his election was an endorsement of their own positions.

This will increase pressure on Mr Turnbull to offer greater appeasement to the agitators in the Coalition base vote, and so increasingly retreat from his better instincts.

Before Mr Trump was declared President-elect, Ms Bishop told Sky News the Australian Government had reached out to both Trump and Clinton camps during the campaign to build a rapport with them ahead of the vote.

Any election in the US was momentous not just for the states, but for the rest of the world, she said.

Ms Bishop said she had been consistently saying for many months that Australia would work with anyone the American people elected.

Finally, just across the way from the RG Casey Building in the Treasury Department, calculations will be under way as to the Trump financial shock to Australia and to our trading partners.

The markets have dived in their initial response, wiping billions off global growth, and we cannot be isolated should this be beyond repair.

And there are backroom problems. If President-elect Trump carries out his threat to drain the swamp of the Washington establishment governing class will make some of our valuable, long-term contacts and sources disappear.

It could be the vulnerable workers cheering a Trump victory might soon be demanding to know why they werent warned.

This American vote, even if Mr Trump is all talk and little delivery, could make the Brexit decision look like a triumph of common sense.

Australia post scrambles to deliver parcels before christmas


THE staff at Australia Post’s social media headquarters are being kept busier than Santa’s elves.

Dozens of complaints about missing parcels and Christmas cards are pouring into the national carriers Facebook and Twitter accounts every hour, as the clock ticks ever closer to Christmas Day.

Frantic with just one more working day to go until the holidays, desperation is reaching its peak among those who are yet to receive their items. And there is little comfort for Australians whose gifts have been misplaced, stolen or lost in transit.

Sydneys Rachel Cassidy reported that her parcel, a tracked delivery, was brought to me by neighbours having been found in the middle of the road, run over and opened by some scumbags.

An Australia Post representative promised to investigate and suggested: In future it may also be best to ask the sender to send it with signature on delivery or even sign up to our parcel lockers.

Ms Cassidy was not impressed, replying that there were zero secure places to leave packages near her place.

Instead of paying more to have it signed for, recommend your drivers dont leave parcels outside front doors, she said.

THE LOCKER WAS BARE

Parcel lockers appear to have issues of their own, with one customer reporting that their item disappeared without a trace.

Today I went to pick up a parcel and the locker was empty, now it thinks I have my parcel, Andy Cownie wrote on Wednesday night.

Christmas presents are missing, now I have to buy more. How does a parcel go missing between staff putting it the locker and me going to collect it!?

Australia Post replied promising to look into it, saying I hope we get to the bottom of this before Christmas.

A vanishing handmade dreamcatcher had one customer tearing her hair out after it was marked as having been safe dropped at her work, when it was nowhere to be found.

No one had to sign for it, he didnt even ring the door bell, and he didnt have to have any proof that it was delivered, she wrote. Thanks for ruining my Christmas.

People waiting on deliveries from overseas were astounded by the contrast between the speed of getting an item into the country, and Australia Posts sluggish domestic delivery.

My husband ordered a package from overseas for my Christmas present on December 5. It has been sitting in Sydneys Alexandria business hub since December 12, South Australias Eve Rogers complained on Wednesday night.

Took seven days to get in to the country and then stalls when it gets here. He ordered it in good time and now its not going to make it!

Another customer said their parcel had been sent to Japan instead of Queensland, while a Townsville man said hed been waiting three weeks to receive a box of Hawthorn flags from Geelong.

Either you have lost my package, gone to the wrong address or it has been stolen, he wrote.

Paying for Express Post appears to have provided no guarantee, with multiple customers saying they were still waiting several days after paying for next day delivery.

Express post? What a joke! Waiting for an express post package that according to the tracker hasnt moved since Tuesday, Beth Williams wrote on Thursday.

Why bother having a tracker that never updates and Express Post thats not express?

THOSE PESKY MISSED DELIVERY SLIPS

Shoddy contractors employed by Australia Post to service peak demand have been blamed for the continuing scourge of missed delivery slips left in letterboxes, with no attempt made to actually deliver items.

The lazy practice, where the postie declines to even knock on the front door of the address, is a major thorn in Australia Posts side and the organisation has failed to clamp down on it. News.com.au previously reported cases where video evidence backed up frustrated customerss claims.

At best, it means the recipient will have to find time to go into their local post office during business hours to pick up the item.

One woman reported that a contractor had tried to leave notification cards or parcels for other people at her house, which was not the right street number and more often not the right street.

The union representing postal workers said contractors paid as little as $1.00 per delivery were cutting corners while frantically trying to complete deliveries.

When the heats on at Christmas time, theres only so many hours in the day, Communication, Electrical and Plumbing Union organiser Peter Chaloner told the ABC.

Youre not getting paid for extra hours, youre just getting paid for extra articles, so shortcuts are taken, Mr Chaloner says.

And the problem is not confined to the Christmas period; a survey by consumer group Choice earlier this year found that half of those who had received delivery of a package in the past 12 months had experienced problems, with the most common complaint missed delivery slips being dropped off when the customers were actually home.

JUST ISOLATED INCIDENTS

Australia Post officially requires drivers to knock three times and call out at the door when attempting home delivery.

The carrier, which delivered a record two million parcels within 24 hours last week, insists it is performing exceptionally well and that there are no issues with deliveries. It has been processing more than a million parcels each day since October.

Our 10,000 posties and delivery drivers have been working very hard to deliver Christmas gifts on time, it said in a statement.

In those isolated instances of delayed delivery, we urge customers to contact us directly so we can act.

Australia Post have been called 'grinches' after telling Victorian postie Cam McFarlane his Christmas-decorated motorcycle is a safety hazard. Courtesy: Wochit