Our Liberal Party, in all of its incomprehensible wisdom is considering making Australia Post responsible for providing some Centrelink services, such as “payment processing and other administrative roles”.
In my experience, Australia Post cannot reliably deliver mail, nor take appropriately-sized passport photographs, and I despair at the thought of them attempting to successfully administer to the needs of families, children, Carers, the unemployed, or those on disability or old-age pensions.
It is not yet a guarantee that Australia Post will bloat itself on the carcass of Centrelink. Other options include privatisation, “changes to limits on the company’s ‘commercial freedoms’ “, or increasing the costs of stamps and postal boxes.
I feel somewhat conflicted. While I do not think that all government services should expect to run at a profit (consider education and healthcare), Australia Post (in fact, many postal services, Canada’s included) is an example of an ineffective and inefficient business model whose prime product is meting out abusive and demeaning experiences for its service users. Something needs to change.
Simply raising the cost of services will not benefit Australia Post. Unless a business is irreplaceable in terms of product, service, convenience, or price, users will upgrade (as they see it) to another service. While I love writing a letter and receiving one, as I love holding a paper and ink book, the fact is Australia Post does very little that cannot be done by others – quickly, cheaply, more effectively. Time for a new business plan and strategy – or to simply fold. Given that rural Australia cannot rely on reasonable internet, and Australia Post already has (one hopes) excellent and strategic locations around the country, I would like to see someone exercise some Australian ingenuity. Think of a re-invention and a strategy that builds on existing assets, of the likes of what Steve Jobs accomplished with Apple. But where is the incentive? Where is the proactive leadership? Where is any leadership?
With Philip Morris Limited, Holden, Toyota, and Ford closing down, and Qantas and BP Australasia closing facilities there is no such thing as “too Australian to fail”. And we are situated in the midst of an utterly baffling Liberal economic … well, I cannot use the word “plan”, so how about “style”? The Liberals have utilised a rhetoric borrowed from other countries and a schizophrenic economic style which seems to ascribe to the (largely failed) austerity principles of other countries, without an understanding of how economic principles apply to Australia, as illustrated by Joe Hockey’s “treasury analysis“, (actually prepared by Hockey’s media advisor).
This approach is utterly perplexing, At the risk of pointing out something obvious that the Liberals have yet to notice, Australia is a different country. It is not in the EU, it is not in North America. Its banks did not cause massive debts and foreclosures, and its economy was not enmeshed with the economy of a country that did. The 2008 recession represented an opportunity for Australia to emerge as a major global player, an opportunity squandered under a Labor leadership due to a lack of vision, passive naval-gazing, and perhaps too much Murdoch press.
Australian Post Horror Story
For the record, this experience is how this post came to be
At the beginning of March, I had a notice in my mail that there was a package for me to pick up at the L- post office. Due to my work hours and location of work, I am unable to get to the post office on a week day. The following Saturday, I went to the post office, but the package is not there. I was told that it might still be in transit. I went to the post office the following Saturday but the package was still not there. The attendant took a photocopy of my notice and recorded my name and phone number on a piece of paper. Two day later, I got a phone call that the package was sent to the post office in K-, and they are sending it to L- by the following day at the latest. I say, “no problem, I won’t get there until Saturday.” The woman confirms the package will be there. I go Saturday, no package. The following Wednesday, I had a migraine and was unable to go to work so I went to the post office, no package. the guy kept asking me if I had other errands to run and I refused to just go away. He could not get K- on the phone because the line was engaged, so he asked me to write my name and number on a piece of paper. I stated I had done this exact thing two weeks ago and asked what would be different about this time, at which point he just started talking over me. He stated I was lying (in front of a cue of strangers) when I said this had almost gone on for a month. He turned his back on me (and of course, I cried in front of everyone).
I walk home, and the package is in my mailbox. Someone explain to me why this package could not have been delivered to my mailbox in the first place?!?!
The irony is that this package was from my mum in Canada. It likely spent more time in transit around my neighbouring suburbs than it did crossing from the North American continent, over the ocean, and getting to Queensland.
The kicker was what was in the package:
I think I need to write in it now…