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Trump greeted in China by flag-waving schoolchildren

Trump landed Wednesday in Beijing ahead of a meeting with President Xi Jinping President has touted ..

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  • Trump landed Wednesday in Beijing ahead of a meeting with President Xi Jinping
  • President has touted his close relationship with Xi, calling it 'outstanding'
  • But he says that won't stop him from getting tough with China over trade
  • North Korea is expected to dominate the agenda as it did when pair met in April
  • But first, Trump and his wife Melania Trump will tour Beijing's famed former imperial palace, the Forbidden City, and take in the opera with Xi
  • Last year when he visited China, Obama was prevented from using his stairs to deplane Air Force One in a major snub
  • Trump didn't have that problem: Chinese authorities had a rolling staircase tall enough to reach the front door of the plane

By Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent In Beijing, China and David Martosko, Us Political Editor For Dailymail.com In Seoul, South Korea

Published: 21:20 EST, 7 November 2017 | Updated: 05:51 EST, 8 November 2017

President Donald Trump took in an extra special performance of Peking opera on Wednesday evening in Beijing during a grand tour of the Forbidden City put on by China's Xi Jinping.

Trump was greeted Wednesday by a military honor guard and flag-waving schoolchildren in China, the third country in his 12-day Asia tour.

U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad met Trump and his secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, after Air Force One stopped on the tarmac in Beijing.

The president and first lady Melania are headed for a tour of the Forbidden City and a meeting with President Xi Jinping and first lady Madame Peng Liyuan.

Trump deplaned from Air Force One without incident, avoiding the embarrassment Barack Obama suffered just a year ago as he arrived for the annual Group of 20 summit.

Obama was humiliated by having to exit from the belly of the aircraft in China because authorities didn't prepare a staircase tall enough for him to walk off the front of the plane.

Chinese officials rolled a large set of stairs to the aircraft's door on Wednesday.

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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived on Air Force One in Beijing, China on Wednesday

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived on Air Force One in Beijing, China on Wednesday

Trump left Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on his way to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk about global trade and the North Korean nuclear menaceTrump left Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on his way to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk about global trade and the North Korean nuclear menace

Trump left Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on his way to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk about global trade and the North Korean nuclear menace

A U.S> and Chinese honor guard met the Trumps, along with a cadre of schoolchildren waving the flags of both nationsA U.S> and Chinese honor guard met the Trumps, along with a cadre of schoolchildren waving the flags of both nations

A U.S> and Chinese honor guard met the Trumps, along with a cadre of schoolchildren waving the flags of both nations

Chinese officials rolled a large set of stairs to the aircraft's door on Wednesday, avoiding any appearance of the kind of insult that greeted former president Barack Obama in 2016Chinese officials rolled a large set of stairs to the aircraft's door on Wednesday, avoiding any appearance of the kind of insult that greeted former president Barack Obama in 2016

Chinese officials rolled a large set of stairs to the aircraft's door on Wednesday, avoiding any appearance of the kind of insult that greeted former president Barack Obama in 2016

Obama was denied use of an airport staircase when he deplaned Air Force One last September as he arrived in China for the annual Group of 20 summit – a move that was seen globally as a major snubObama was denied use of an airport staircase when he deplaned Air Force One last September as he arrived in China for the annual Group of 20 summit – a move that was seen globally as a major snub

Obama was denied use of an airport staircase when he deplaned Air Force One last September as he arrived in China for the annual Group of 20 summit – a move that was seen globally as a major snub

Trump's visit to the Forbidden City will include tea with his Chinese counterpart, whom he entertained at his Florida Mar-a-Lago club in April.

The two first couples will also take in a performance of Peking opera, a distinctively Chinese art form that combines music, mime, dance and acrobatics.

The Forbidden City, now a major tourist attraction, has its roots in the 15th Century and was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty through 1912.

On the agenda for Trump during his Beijing visit are requests for a hardline approach to economically paralyzing North Korea, and talks aimed at shrinking America's massive trade deficit with China.

Last year the Chinese sold $347 billion more in goods to the U.S. than America sold into the world's largest communist nation.

A quiet dinner with Xi and Madame Peng in the Forbidden City will follow the opera performance.

Trump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the PhilippinesTrump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines

Trump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines

Trump roared with approval as he waded through a sea of children on the tarmac Wednesday in ChinaTrump roared with approval as he waded through a sea of children on the tarmac Wednesday in China

Trump roared with approval as he waded through a sea of children on the tarmac Wednesday in China

Trump said Monday in Japan that he's fond of Xi Jinping, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him tooTrump said Monday in Japan that he's fond of Xi Jinping, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him too

Trump said Monday in Japan that he's fond of Xi Jinping, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him too

Trump left South Korea on Wednesday after delivering a speech to the country's National Assembly. He said in a tweet Wednesday morning that he was looking forward to again seeing Xi, 'who is just off his great political victory.'

He said Monday inJapan that he's fond of Xi, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him.

But he won't allow their mutual affection to cloud his judgement, Trump asserted, as he pledged to take 'very, very strong action' against China and other countries that have been treating the United States 'unfairly' in the trade arena.

'He represents China. I represent the United States,' Trump said at a news conference in Tokyo.

On the way to Beijing, a senior White House official told reporters that the president plans to keep up his habit of tweeting while he's in China, even though Chinese citizens can't do it.

'The president will tweet whatever he wants,' the official said. 'That’s his way of communicating directly with the American people. Why not?'

'So long as he can access his Twitter account – because Twitter is banned in China along with Facebook and most of the other social media. I’m sure we’ve got the gear aboard this airplane to make it happen. But it is noteworthy that none of the major western platforms for social media are even allowed to operate in China.'

On Tuesday in Seoul, Trump pressured Xi's government to totally isolate Kim Jong-un, the 33-year-old despot across the border, during remarks in Seoul.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward to renewing his bond with Xi, whom he welcomed to his Florida Mar-a-Lago private resort in AprilTrump tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward to renewing his bond with Xi, whom he welcomed to his Florida Mar-a-Lago private resort in April

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward to renewing his bond with Xi, whom he welcomed to his Florida Mar-a-Lago private resort in April

Trump has touted his relationship with Xi Jinping calling it 'outstanding', but says he still intends to get tough with the Chinese leader over trade in BeijingTrump has touted his relationship with Xi Jinping calling it 'outstanding', but says he still intends to get tough with the Chinese leader over trade in Beijing

Trump has touted his relationship with Xi Jinping calling it 'outstanding', but says he still intends to get tough with the Chinese leader over trade in Beijing

In this photo taken on October 31, 2017, Chinese paramilitary guards walk in The Forbidden City in BeijingIn this photo taken on October 31, 2017, Chinese paramilitary guards walk in The Forbidden City in Beijing

In this photo taken on October 31, 2017, Chinese paramilitary guards walk in The Forbidden City in Beijing

All responsible nations must cut off North Korea's cash flow by imposing and enforcing international sanctions on Kim and his government, Trump declared, singling out China and Russia, two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

'It's time to act with urgency and with great determination,' the U.S. president said in a joint press conference with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

Beijing is the third destination on a five-nation hustle across eastern Asia.

As with every other stop on this trip, North Korea is expected to dominate Xi and Trump's discussions.

But in Beijing, more than anywhere else during the visit, Trump – a former titan of real estate – is also under pressure to address the regional trade practices that he said as a candidate he would fix.

Trump pounded China for alleged currency manipulation in the presidential election last year that unexpectedly put him in power. He's said as recently as February that the Chinese were 'grand champions' at the economic trick.

By artificially devaluing its currency, the yuan, Beijing has been able to been able to lower the price of its exports, 'stealing' American jobs, Trump has said.

Trump will tour a famous imperial palace and take in the opera today today with first lady Melania Trump as he brings his high-wire circuit of Asia to BeijingTrump will tour a famous imperial palace and take in the opera today today with first lady Melania Trump as he brings his high-wire circuit of Asia to Beijing

Trump will tour a famous imperial palace and take in the opera today today with first lady Melania Trump as he brings his high-wire circuit of Asia to Beijing

His assessment was rejected by the International Monetary Fund last year, and Trump's own administration has shied away from shackling China with the designation.

Since his April summit with Xi, the U.S. president has also backed off his verbal assault.

'The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding,' Trump said after less than a day of talks with the Chinese president and his representatives.

'We look forward to being together many times in the future. And I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away.'

Days later Trump was still gushing about his weekend in Florida with Xi in what amounted to a total about-face of his previous criticisms.

'Now what am I going to do? Start a trade war with China while in the middle of him working on a bigger problem, frankly, with North Korea?' he asked rhetorically in an interview with Fox & Friends.

Trump said later that month that it wouldn't make sense to label Xi's country a currency manipulator after the Chinese leader offered to assist the U.S. in its efforts to constrain North Korea.

'Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!' Trump tweeted.

China's stepped up efforts to choke off Kim Jong-un's finances has not kept Trump from complaining about the gross trade deficit between the two countries, nor has it had an immediate effect on the United States' enforcement of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Trump told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo late last month that the U.S. loses 'hundreds of billions a year' a year to China.

Trump singled out China on Tuesday in South Korea as a country that needs to do more to cripple North Korea's nuclear aggression Trump singled out China on Tuesday in South Korea as a country that needs to do more to cripple North Korea's nuclear aggression 

Trump singled out China on Tuesday in South Korea as a country that needs to do more to cripple North Korea's nuclear aggression

Trump is due in Beijing on Wednesday where he will meet Chinese leader Xi Jingping on his home soil for the first time (the two are pictured at the G20 summit in Germany in July)Trump is due in Beijing on Wednesday where he will meet Chinese leader Xi Jingping on his home soil for the first time (the two are pictured at the G20 summit in Germany in July)

Trump is due in Beijing on Wednesday where he will meet Chinese leader Xi Jingping on his home soil for the first time (the two are pictured at the G20 summit in Germany in July)

'We lose with almost every country, we have massive deficits,' the billionaire president insisted. 'We can't allow the world to look at us as a whipping post. Not gonna happen, anymore.'

Monday, at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Trump told a reporter who asked how his administration plans to enforce its mandate of a 'free and open' Indo-Asia Pacific without riling up China, a major power on the continent, that he would not allow the communist country to take advantage of the U.S.

'You will be seeing things of countries that have been treating the United States and the United States worker and companies…our country, and our workers very unfairly, you will be seeing that the United States will take very, very strong action,' Trump said.

The legal work is mostly finished, he revealed. 'And you're going to see a very big difference, and it's going to happen very soon. Because the United States, by many countries, has been treated very, very unfairly when it comes to trade.'

Trump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in AprilTrump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in April

Trump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in April

The administration believes that China is behind as much as $600 million in IP theft through forced technology transfers.

China's Commerce Ministry has called the probe 'irresponsible' and 'not objective.' Beijing would almost certainly bring additional U.S. action before the World Trade Organization.

But Trump could unilaterally impose tariffs on Beijing through Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 if USTR determines that China is engaging in 'unfair trade practices' – a powerful weapon if he decides to use it.

Trump has been hesitant to act against Beijing so long as Xi goes along with his plans to suffocate North Korea's nuclear ambition.

The resident left Seoul on Wednesday after meeting with Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South KoreaThe resident left Seoul on Wednesday after meeting with Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South Korea

The resident left Seoul on Wednesday after meeting with Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South Korea

Trump visited Japan earlier this week and after stopping in Beijing he is due to visit Vietnam and the Philippines before heading back to the USTrump visited Japan earlier this week and after stopping in Beijing he is due to visit Vietnam and the Philippines before heading back to the US

Trump visited Japan earlier this week and after stopping in Beijing he is due to visit Vietnam and the Philippines before heading back to the US

At a briefing with reporters on Sunday evening in Tokyo, a senior White House official insisted that the economic and security concerns of the Trump administration are wholly separate issues when it comes to North Korea and trade with countries in the Indo-Pacific.

'The United States isn't going to barter away our interests on the trade front in order to make gains doing what the entire world has, more or less, obligated itself to do, and that is to contain and confront the threat from North Korea,' the official asserted. 'So I don't see a comingling of those two issues.'

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Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative

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In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.

The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.

But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.

So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?

‘Just paperwork’

Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.

Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.

The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.

Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.

Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.

Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.

Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.

It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.

“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”

But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.

Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.

But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.

It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.

Critics push for investigation

Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.

But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.

And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.

Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.

Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.

“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.

“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”

The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.

And she says the same transparency is needed here.

The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them

The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.

“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.

“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”

PM defends governor-general

Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.

“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”

Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.

“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.

“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”

A role fit for purpose?

Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.

She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.

“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”

Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.

“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.

“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”

But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.

“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”

 

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62683210

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Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania

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A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.

Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.

The other driver involved was not hurt.

Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.

The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.

“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.

“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”

Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.

Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.

Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.

Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.

In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.

Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61103987

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Sydney airport warns delays could last weeks on third day of travel chaos

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Long queues at Sydney airport’s domestic terminals have continued for a third day, with some passengers missing international connections, as the airport warns delays resulting from a surge in travellers and a shortfall in security staff could continue for weeks.

Chaotic scenes were reported in the departure halls as early as 4.30am on Saturday, with some frustrated travellers, many of whom heeded the pleas of airport chiefs to arrive at least two hours before their domestic flight was due to take off, claiming only one security line was operating.

While the queues that formed early on Saturday are understood to have cleared later in the morning, the airport apologised to affected travellers.

“Traffic numbers are picking up and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport. We appreciate your patience,” Sydney airport said on its Twitter account.

A wave of families travelling as the term two school holidays begin this weekend, combined with close contact rules that are understood to be taking out about 20% of security shifts in any given day, are driving the problem.

Certis, the company that Sydney airport contracts for its security operations, is desperately trying to recruit personnel, while the airport has reallocated back office, IT and retail workers to the departure hall to comb queues so they can prioritise passengers at risk of missing their flight.

“We are working around the clock to resolve these issues and have teams in the terminals bringing passengers forward in order of priority,” a Sydney airport spokesperson said.

He added that the airport is “anticipating it will [be] busy right through the school holiday period and peak over the Easter and Anzac Day weekends, in some cases at 90% of pre-Covid passenger levels”.

“We’re deeply grateful to passengers for their ongoing patience and we’re sorry to everyone who has been inconvenienced,” the spokesperson said. “We would also like to thank passengers for getting to the airport early and treating staff and each other with kindness and respect.”

The Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was forced to clarify comments he made on Friday that passengers were “not match fit” and that those forgetting to remove laptops and aerosols from their bags at the security check contributing to the delays.

“Just to be clear, I’m not ‘blaming’ passengers,” Joyce said. “Of course it’s not their fault,” he said.

Qantas shed thousands of staff during the pandemic, and outsourced ground crews in a decision that was challenged in court.

On Saturday, Qantas also apologised to a Melbourne family left stranded in Sydney, after domestic flight delays caused them to miss an international trip.

Javiera Martinez, her partner Daniel Capurro and their three children were supposed to be flying to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen in three years.

But after their 8am Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and airport transfer delays in Sydney meant they couldn’t make their 11.30am LATAM Airlines flight to Santiago.

Martinez said the airline’s procedures at the airport were chaotic.

“We think Qantas didn’t behave appropriately. I got berated by the person at the counter – they never apologised, they never assumed any responsibility at all,” she said. “It was a rude conversation. We have been mistreated badly I would say.”

The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to take them again as they wait for seats on the next flight to Santiago from Sunday.

The airline has apologised and paid for a night’s accommodation in Sydney.

“We sincerely apologise that the family missed their connecting flight on another airline due to delays moving through Sydney airport on Friday,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

The family is among many affected by hold ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.

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