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Behind the hollow headlines

MELBOURNE (SE): News of the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese sovereignty set to be celebrated on July 1 overshadowed the headlines in Australian newspapers on June 29 when police in Melbourne announced that George Cardinal Pell had become the highest ranking Church official ever to be charged with sexual offences.
 
A former archbishop of both Sydney and Melbourne, and currently the prefect for the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, Cardinal Pell is to face the court in Melbourne on July 26.

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Sydney sees biggest ever petition to parliament

SYDNEY (SE): Members of the Legislative Council (upper house) in the state parliament of New South Wales in Australia sat in silence as a history-making petition was tabled by Labour member, Greg Donnelly.
 
The petition, bearing 55,559 signatures, was tabled in opposition to an Abortion Law Reform Bill filed and authored by the Greens Party member, Mehreen Faruqi.
 

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Australian shame has message for worldwide Church

SYDNEY (SE): The 21 days of shame of the Church in Australia reached its 14th day on February 17, but tended to drop out of the news as the submissions being made to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse were focussed more on structural problems rather the grizzly details that dominated the first week.

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Day of shame for Church in Australia

SYDNEY (SE): On February 6, the Catholic Church in Australia began its 21 days of shame, as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse launched its final intensive review of the response of the Catholic Church to the crisis at a hearing in Sydney that will involve more than 60 witnesses, including the archbishops of the six most influential dioceses.

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Australia joins China in thumbing nose at international law

DILI (UCAN): Australia is showing that China is not the only bully in the region that is prepared to thumb its nose at international law and use its financial clout to kick its weaker neighbours around.

It is currently digging its heels in and refusing to renegotiate on the delicate issue of maritime boundaries between its huge land mass and its tiny neighbour, Timor-Leste, in a dispute in which billions of dollars’ worth of oil and gas reserves are at stake.

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Get political the Australian bishops urge their people

SYDNEY (SE): As Australia wades through its longest ever election campaign on the torturous road to the July 2 polling day, the bishops of the Land Down Under have released a strong appeal for Christians to pressure political parties for an end to what they call the throwaway culture espoused by the two candidates for the top job, the incumbent prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and opposition leader, Bill Shorten.

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Tourism trumps conservation

CANBERRA (SE): Australia’s economy may once have ridden on the sheep’s back even though it may not be its main provider of affluence today, but a spokesperson for GreenPeace said that now the government is trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

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Former Vietnamese boat refugee to head up Australian diocese

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, a former refugee who had fled war-torn Vietnam by boat, has been named by Pope Francis to lead the Diocese of Parramatta in Australia, the Vatican announced on May 5.

The 54-year-old Conventual Franciscan has been working in Australia since 1989 and has been auxiliary bishop of Melbourne since 2011. 

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Call to end an Australian rip off

DILI (UCAN): About 3,000 people marched from the Australian-owned Tiger refuelling station to the Australian embassy in the Timor-Leste capital of Dili on February 23, demanding that the Australian government stop exploiting oil and gas reserves in the Timor Gap—the maritime boundary separating the two countries—and using a treaty it signed with Indonesia in 1972 to justify it.

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An unholy mess or a road to Rome

ROME (SE): Whether or not the former archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, George Cardinal Pell, would return to Australia from his present posting in the Vatican to appear before a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which has now shifted its base from Ballarat to Sydney, has been an ongoing saga in the Australian media over recent weeks.

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