Robertson and the Pope

September 29, 2010 at 10:51 am (Catholic Church) (, , , , , , , )

 
From (“Holding Pope responsible for abuses is not too dangerous”, September 29). It would seem that Geoffrey Robertson would accept that the Pope is immune from prosecution if he, is indeed, a head of state. To deny his state headship is, I think, about as logical as saying he is not a Catholic. Ex officio the Pope is the head of state and government of the Vatican City . However, big or small the territory of the Vatican City is, I would not think, this should legally determine whether it is a state or not. Also there are people with Vatican citizenship, perhaps not many, but they do recognise the Pope as their head of state. In the overall historical picture of the Pope’s claim to be a head of state, while focusing only on the Lateran Pacts of 1929 which created the Vatican City , it is well to remember that the Holy See has been recognised since late antiquity as a sovereign entity with the Pope as its head. The Pope as a head of state or not, I suspect, is just a red herring on Geoffrey’s part disguising a good red-blooded anti-Catholicism. Would he be as eager to question the bona fides of the Queen of England for the way sexual abuse has been handled in Anglican institutions?

 Reference: Wikipedia, “Vatican City”

See: http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=23604

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In memory of the late Peter Kimmins, 20 Aug 1943 – 18 Dec 1979

January 9, 2010 at 12:53 pm (Angoram, Catholic Church, Papua New Guinea, Wewak) (, , , , , , , , )

Peter, Andrei and David Augustus at Como

Outside the church
Church of St Michael, Daceyville, Nov 17, 1979

Diaconate Ordination

Peter's Ordination to the Diaconate by The Most Rev. James P. Carroll

Ordination to the Diaconate

John Benson

Peter and Andrei at Como

"Compass Theology Review" Vol 13, no 3, September 1979

"Compass Theology Review"

"Compass Theology Review"

"Compass Theology Review"

From Mrs Kay Kimmins

Peter with his Mother

Peter with our family at Como

Snaps and...

Bits and pieces...

Peter’s obituary in “The Catholic Weekly” 3 Feb 1980

Letter to Peter's Mother from David Wall

Mass at St Paul's Seminary, Kensington NSW, 5th March 1980

Mass at St Paul's National Seminary

People living in the East Sepik District in the late 60s and early 70s would well remember Peter Kimmins. The tragedy of his sudden death in December 1979 was a great loss to many people. Although he died many years ago he is still fondly remembered.

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Catholics in conservative parties

December 2, 2009 at 3:56 am (Barnaby Joyce, Catholic Church, Riverview) (, , , , , , , , , )

Australian Catholics of past generations would find it hard to believe that the three recent candidates for Liberal Party leadership were Catholics: Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott.

  It was generally assumed up until the late 1960s that Catholics had no political future in conservative politics in Australia. The first slight breach in this came with the emergence of Philip Lynch as a Minister in the Gorton and McMahon governments in the late 1960s and early 70s.

  If you include Barnaby Joyce, the National Party leader in the Senate, with Abbott and Hockey, it is interesting to note that they all come from Jesuit schools – Abbott and Joyce from Riverview and Hockey from St Aloysius.

  When Nick Greiner (an old boy of Riverview) became NSW Premier in 1988 it was an event for the school almost like the Second Coming.

  Catholics coming into their own in conservative parties in Australia raise a number of interesting questions about the demise of the Anglican Presbyterian ascendancy, or perhaps the general indifference by Australians to denominational considerations and sectarianism, or then again, just an apathy towards religion.

  Whatever answers we come up with one thing is for sure our fathers and grandfathers would be amazed.

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Ralf Stuttgen’s Views and Perceptions

July 12, 2009 at 3:47 am (Catholic Church, malaria control, Papua New Guinea, philosophy, theology) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

new shots 035

 

On my recent visit to Papua New Guinea I had some far-reaching discussions with my friend, Ralf Stuttgen. Ralf has many interesting and discerning points of view which are worth airing in the hope that they can be commented on and further discussed by others.

 Our conversations ranged over theological, philosophical, educational and environmental questions and were tackled uniquely and insightfully by Ralf.

 Here are his views:

 Who and what is God? Any definition of God cannot be divorced from our material existence and humanity’s system of values. Fundamentally God is love and with this concept in mind no one with values is essentially an atheistic according to Ralf. By a stretch of the imagination most, I guess, could accept a principal power and reality in the universe named God or something else. Theological definitions must continually be refined and explained in modern terms. Objective truth is not just a question of what is right and what is wrong.

Symbol and myth reveal and divulge theological and ethical truths. Virginity is a symbol of divine wisdom and life is like the rising dawn. There is no doubt in Ralf’s mind that the essence of the Christian message is fundamentally sound, but the interpretation of the message needs to be refined and updated.

 Ralf looks at sin and an appropriate definition; Sin is any act where the damage is greater than the advantages. I suppose in a sense the end justifies the means. All acts have good and bad potentials. Untruths and lies are always involved with sin and the suppression of information. An ill-informed conscience cannot be an arbitrator of good and evil.

 Science fiction can be a useful tool for awakening future generations to development possibilities for in this genre humankind looks at the desirable and the possible.

 On the broad question of the economy, education and development Ralf continually stresses the primary importance of quality education. Any country without an educated population is doomed to a state of undevelopment. Even a state without abundant natural resources but with an educated population has the capacity for significant economic development, look at the South Korean economic miracle and compare this with Papua New Guinea, a country with vast natural resources and a seemingly inability to lift the standard of living for its population. Over the past thirty years or so South Korea has put in place a vibrant education and training programme throughout the country, whereas in PNG the state of education at all levels: primary, secondary, tertiary and technical training is at best poor and only available to a small percent of the population. The result being that South Korea exports the products of a technically advanced economy with vast returns to its educated and well governed population, whereas PNG is increasingly becoming a land that is largely being exploited for its resources by others. The country is plagued with inappropriate and destructive resource exploitation with little return to its people in general. One need only look at the logging and mining industries and the environmental hazards they are creating. Corrupt officials and politicians and overseas companies get their rewards but the uneducated masses get comparatively nothing. One example of poor governance and supervision in PNG is that 60% of the gold extracted from the country is exported illegally. This means that the state gets nothing for this valuable resource.

 Ralf is emphatic in his assertion that education is the solution to all the world’s problems.

Doing it right – Success   Doing it wrong – No Success

Education will improve public health. The most common cause of death is stupidity.

Education will protect the environment, stupidity leads to the killing of wildlife and even over-population. Governments must improve their education systems before they improve their health services. In British India the health services were better than the education services; result over-population.

 Education, Research and the Future

 Our biological, genetic and evolutionary future is tied up with education and new ideas.Let us look at some problems with new insights: Is Western Agriculture appropriate in undeveloped countries? Not always as it requires deforestation; more research is needed into methods of growing food. Humankind should be able to live off trees. The whole world could be covered with trees. Trees are a great source of starch and more research is needed to fully utilize them as food. Sensible conservation will protect the jungles of the world. In the past in PNG when the kunai grasslands were protected from burning it was noticed that the jungle trees come back. It is true to say our scientists need a broader education. 

General reflections

 Who does the Development Bank develop? Answer: The Development Bank. Only take out a loan when land and labour are there with future prospects to guarantee success. Look at the bind the West New Britain oil palm small holders are in trying to repay the Development Bank.

Indigenous people at least should be guaranteed health, fresh air and natural conditions.The reality is that indigenous people must adapt or vanish.The laws of evolution are there. In North America some indigenous people were known as little heads because of their small brain size. Presumably the evolutionary process had past them by. We must face the fact that some genes become outdated Will we in the future condone and allow some form of genetic engineering?

What was the principal cause of the fall of the Roman Empire? The Roman State did not have a Department of Education as an institution preserving and passing on knowledge to future generations.

Global warming has been going on for years, markedly since AD 400. Development and education are historically intertwined with changes of climate.

We must all learn to manage our health. Sleep is the most important anti-malarial. In the future humankind must learn to eat different foods.

The attempt to commercialize the production of sago in the Sepik will be a disaster. The keeping of cattle and wet rice growing are inappropriate as agricultural ventures in PNG as tasks associated with these endeavours are foreign to the people.

Managing rubbish is a problem for PNG towns and cities.

What is a Jew? Ralf looks at this broadly: There are ethnic Jews and theological Jews. Ethic Jews are those with a racial connection to Israel and theological Jews are all people of good will. This is in accord with God’s promise to Abraham:

Your descendants shall be as numerous as the stars in heaven. Your descendants will be as numerous as the sand on the seashore.

The ideas of a better world are not exclusively Jewish but also come from other ancient people such as the Persians and Egyptians. The big question was and is just how to achieve a better world? The answer will come from the chosen people who are all people of good will.

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Monsignor Quixote – DVD

April 19, 2009 at 1:43 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

” Sir Alec Guiness stars with Leo McKern in the story of a friendship between a Catholic priest and a Communist Mayor. Together they travel from their remote village to Madrid and back exploring their friendship. the demands of belief and constancy of faith.

“This lavish production filmed entirely on location captures the wit, warmth and vitality that make the original novel by Graham Greene a unique work of literature.”  (Blurb on DVD cover)

This review is from: Monsignor Quixote [DVD] [1985] (DVD) “Simply one of the most enjoyable and beautiful films you will see. Its very simple, two actors Alec Guiness and Leo McKern, showing you what they can do. It’s one of the last pieces of work completed by Guiness before his death. I saw this gentle, simple film some 20 years ago and loved every minute and finally decided to buy it on DVD. 

“They don’t seem to make films like this any more unless its an independent production. Its one of the last films which focuses on the talent and makes the best of it on a wonderful Graham Greene novel.”

By Frank Bierbrauer

 

I can’t recommend this production too strongly!

See:

http://www.westcoastcompanions.org/jgc/2.1/rami_porta.engtext.htm

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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The Reverend John Spender makes himself available to anxious intentional communities

March 9, 2009 at 11:08 am (Catholic Church) (, , )

It recently came to my notice that  Rev John can be called on by needy intentional religious communities. To ascertain the qualities of this man, I dug up an interview he gave me sometime ago. (See a previous post)

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Confession and the Catholic Church

February 23, 2009 at 1:11 am (Catholic Church) (, )

The Confession that changed everything

Why do so few of us seem to go to confession these days?

BY DAN CONNORS

 

When my friend Robert was young, he went to Confession a lot. Through high school and college the sacrament remained a regular part of his life. But one day when he was in his early 20s, one Confession changed everything.
The priest was clearly having a bad day. He seemed annoyed at Robert for even being there, appeared impatient with his list of sins, and yelled at him for messing up a couple of the words in the “Oh my God I am heartily sorry” prayer. “The next time you come to my church,” the priest scolded, “come prepared!”

There was no next time. More than 30 years later Robert still goes to Mass every Sunday and takes an active part in his parish’s life, but he’s never been back to Confession.

He and I talked about it recently. “You’re not still mad at that priest, are you?” I asked.

“No, of course not,” he said. “I forgave him a long time ago. We all have our bad moods.”

“Then why have you never been back to Confession?” I asked, one friend to another.

Robert thought for a moment. “I don’t know,” he said. “At first I stayed away because I was mad. But as time went by I just got out of the habit. I found I didn’t miss it, and maybe didn’t need it. I’m a good person,” he added.

Robert isn’t alone. Catholics don’t go to Confession as often as they used to. Maybe our ideas of sin have changed. Maybe some got out of the habit of confessing. Maybe some had bad experiences with the Church that they haven’t gotten over. Maybe some feel that what they do in their lives is none of the Church’s business. All of them probably see themselves, like Robert, as “good persons.” And generally they are.

“But you know Penance isn’t just for great sinners,” I said to Robert. “It’s a sacramental encounter with the Lord that can help everyone, even saints!”

“Yeah, I know,” he replied. “And,” he added before I could say it, “if we are all such ‘good persons,’ why is our world such a mess?” He thought for a minute. “I know I’ve hurt people when I’ve been in bad moods, too. Am I any better than that priest was?”

Robert is thinking about all this. His parish’s Lenten Penance service is coming up soon. Who knows? He might show up.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts about Penance today. Why do you — or why don’t you — go? What advice would you give Robert? Please write to me at Catholic Digest, P.O. Box 6015, New London, CT 06320 or e-mail me at dconnors@catholicdigest.comCD

 

 

 

 

On Feb 14, 2009, at 9:22 PM, David Wall wrote:

 

 

Dan,
I think that Western-present-day Catholics have mainly fallen away from regular confession, or no confession at all, because of the Church’s obsession with sins of the flesh.

This fixation encompasses many so- called sins that are no longer considered sinful by the average Catholic. Take, for example, the practice of artificial birth control by Catholic married couples.

I recently attended Mass and listened to a sermon haranguing the congregation to go to Confession. The sins uppermost in the priest’s mind ranged from birth control to abortion with the unworthy reception of Communion by those who had not confessed being specially mentioned.

The fact is that since Vatican II the average Catholic has changed but not the official position of the Church on anything of significance. 

I myself still try to confess at least once a year, but I must say, not out of any deep commitment to Auricular Confession, but I think more out of a sense of guilt that still remains from my early pre-Vatican II religious indoctrination.

Just a few thoughts on the subject that I hope are relevant.

With all good wishes,

David

 

 

Thank you, David, I appreciate your thoughts!

 

Dan

 

Dan Connors

Editor-in-Chief

Catholic Digest

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Oh, for an intentional community!

December 29, 2008 at 6:33 am (Catholic Church) (, , , )

What I’m looking for is an intentional community of the Roman and Catholic persuasion in the inner city of Sydney, where I can worship and be a part of a community of faithful who exemplifies the defining aspects of a dynamic church: the church militant, the church suffering and the church triumphant.

    I want a parish church where there is an open conflict between the parish priest and the congregation, with no clear guidelines as to, who is actually conducting the weekly Mass. Let there be long-winded dissertations and outpourings by congregation members when the time comes for prayers of the faithful; and as for the sign of peace, anything less than chaos, as people move around the church, kissing, hugging and shaking hands would be unacceptable. The pastor must wait patiently while these expressions of love are taking place. With a bit of luck, he might not even turn up for next week’s Mass and leave the faithful entirely to their own devices.

   The community I want is one dedicated to the first Australians; be they functional or dysfunctional, the more dysfunctional the better. The call for “any change brother” would be like music to the ears of the parishioners, especially if the hard word is put on one during the consecration at Mass. The advisability of keeping one’s possessions close especially when going to communion need not be stated. The spirituality of those moving about the church must be a known fact and not open to question.

    I like the idea of putting items of supposed sacredness on the altar without reference to the pastor; what would he know anyhow?

   I want a priest who says very little about social justice and a lot about sin and damnation. I want a parish that has a fierce and ongoing memory of a past charismatic pastor and wants to preserve this at all costs; one that moves with the times but is stuck in time. It would be energizing if during Mass someone jumps up and informs all about a television service that impressed him or her and is far better than the present one.

   The parish that I want must be militant, triumphant and suffering and I put to my readers, is there such a parish?

   One might accuse me of looking for drama rather than spirituality, and this might be right, but please protect me from the insipid and dull and let me grow in the excitement and exuberance of a truly intentional community.

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Review of What Do We Know, What Can We Believe? Anglican News, March 2002

July 24, 2008 at 1:24 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

 

Review of What Do We Know, What Can We Believe? Anglican News, March 2002

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Richard Ackland’s piece in the SMH 27/06/08 : High Court ponders World Youth Day largesse.

June 30, 2008 at 2:15 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

 

High Court ponders World Youth Day largesse

Richard Ackland           Sydney Morning Herald     27/06/08

Five days before the last federal election John Howard dipped with desperation into his grab bag of tricks and came up with $22 million of Commonwealth money for World Youth Day – the Catholic Church’s proselytising and marketing extravaganza to be held in this city next month.

Is that expenditure in breach of the constitution? The issue has hurriedly come before the High Court. It has had a couple of rounds already, and is on again this morning.

The applicant is Carmelo Vescio, a non-practising Catholic. When he heard about this money being splashed around in an effort to woo the vote of wavering Catholics he immediately contacted the relevant minister in Canberra, Peter McGauran (Xavier College, Melbourne), to ask, “On what basis are you doing this?”

He received no reply. Howard and his staff also refused to respond. Appropriate ministers in the current government have not replied.

On March 20, Vescio filed a writ of summons in the High Court seeking to challenge the expenditure as offending section 116 of the constitution, which says: “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”

These funds for World Youth Day will be appropriated by legislation. Of course it is not the only money for the event. The NSW Government is ladling another $86 million, Telstra is stumping up a heap of sponsorship money, and if you look up the World Youth Day shop on the internet you can see the dazzling array of merchandise, or “religious products”, that can be ordered with your credit card.

Does section 116 get in the way of Howard’s political bribe? The High Court has shown reluctance to get involved, except for Justice Michael Kirby (Fort Street High).

When the writ arrived the Chief Justice, Murray Gleeson (St Joseph’s, Hunters Hill) refused to accept it. He directed the court registrar to decline to issue the proceedings without the leave of a judge.

Vescio and his lawyers then sought leave from Justice Susan Crennan (Our Lady of Mercy, Heidelberg). She refused it, saying the documents were “confusing, prolix and embarrassing”. She added that the complaints “are political in nature”, presumably unlike Howard’s largesse.

So it came on before Kirby last Friday. Time is of the essence because Vescio wants the money stopped before it is all gobbled up in the frenzy of papal excitement.

Five days before the last federal election John Howard dipped with desperation into his grab bag of tricks and came up with $22 million of Commonwealth money for World Youth Day – the Catholic Church’s proselytising and marketing extravaganza to be held in this city next month.

Is that expenditure in breach of the constitution? The issue has hurriedly come before the High Court. It has had a couple of rounds already, and is on again this morning.

The applicant is Carmelo Vescio, a non-practising Catholic. When he heard about this money being splashed around in an effort to woo the vote of wavering Catholics he immediately contacted the relevant minister in Canberra, Peter McGauran (Xavier College, Melbourne), to ask, “On what basis are you doing this?”

He received no reply. Howard and his staff also refused to respond. Appropriate ministers in the current government have not replied.

On March 20, Vescio filed a writ of summons in the High Court seeking to challenge the expenditure as offending section 116 of the constitution, which says: “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”

These funds for World Youth Day will be appropriated by legislation. Of course it is not the only money for the event. The NSW Government is ladling another $86 million, Telstra is stumping up a heap of sponsorship money, and if you look up the World Youth Day shop on the internet you can see the dazzling array of merchandise, or “religious products”, that can be ordered with your credit card.

Does section 116 get in the way of Howard’s political bribe? The High Court has shown reluctance to get involved, except for Justice Michael Kirby (Fort Street High).

When the writ arrived the Chief Justice, Murray Gleeson (St Joseph’s, Hunters Hill) refused to accept it. He directed the court registrar to decline to issue the proceedings without the leave of a judge.

Vescio and his lawyers then sought leave from Justice Susan Crennan (Our Lady of Mercy, Heidelberg). She refused it, saying the documents were “confusing, prolix and embarrassing”. She added that the complaints “are political in nature”, presumably unlike Howard’s largesse.

So it came on before Kirby last Friday. Time is of the essence because Vescio wants the money stopped before it is all gobbled up in the frenzy of papal excitement.

Kirby was not actually hearing an appeal from Crennan. He was only deciding whether the application for leave to issue the summons was reasonably arguable.

The appeal from Crennan is on this morning before a full court. In breathing life into the case and saying it should be expedited, Kirby said: “If there is some defect in the applicant’s process it is sometimes appropriate to endeavour to cure that defect, rather than to prevent the person having one of the most fundamental rights that exists in a society governed by the rule of law, which is access to the courts.”

How’s that for a swipe? It got better: “The reference by Justice Crennan to the fact that the complaints of the applicant are ‘political in nature’ does not necessarily render them insusceptible to consideration against the standards set by the Constitution.”

The hurdles that have to be leapt by Vescio’s legal team include earlier decisions of the court on giving money to church schools, the Greg Combet case (Work Choices advertising) where “appropriation for the purposes of the Commonwealth” was considered, and also the various decisions on an individual’s “standing” to challenge the constitutionality of a law.

As Kirby said, it is all “arguable”.

And some of the arguments have already emerged. The applicant says he is personally affected by being excluded from Royal Randwick as a racegoer during the papal mass. He’s also excluded from certain streets and “airwaves”.

Counsel for the applicant, Peter King (Sydney Church of England Grammar School), said that during World Youth Day (ie. a week) people who go to Randwick are excluded from practising any other religion except Catholicism. This amounts to an “interference” in religious observance – sponsored by the state.

The particulars asserted before the court say that that the papal mass is a religious observance and so it must be taken as correct that “it excludes participation by persons who profess other faiths and religions”.

We will see how it fares today. If Vescio is not successful in his leave appeal then he can join the NoToPope brigade and hand out condoms to the worshipful “pilgrims” flocking to the holy of holies – Randwick racecourse.

justinian@lawpress.com.au

 

Kirby was not actually hearing an appeal from Crennan. He was only deciding whether the application for leave to issue the summons was reasonably arguable.

The appeal from Crennan is on this morning before a full court. In breathing life into the case and saying it should be expedited, Kirby said: “If there is some defect in the applicant’s process it is sometimes appropriate to endeavour to cure that defect, rather than to prevent the person having one of the most fundamental rights that exists in a society governed by the rule of law, which is access to the courts.”

How’s that for a swipe? It got better: “The reference by Justice Crennan to the fact that the complaints of the applicant are ‘political in nature’ does not necessarily render them insusceptible to consideration against the standards set by the Constitution.”

The hurdles that have to be leapt by Vescio’s legal team include earlier decisions of the court on giving money to church schools, the Greg Combet case (Work Choices advertising) where “appropriation for the purposes of the Commonwealth” was considered, and also the various decisions on an individual’s “standing” to challenge the constitutionality of a law.

As Kirby said, it is all “arguable”.

And some of the arguments have already emerged. The applicant says he is personally affected by being excluded from Royal Randwick as a racegoer during the papal mass. He’s also excluded from certain streets and “airwaves”.

Counsel for the applicant, Peter King (Sydney Church of England Grammar School), said that during World Youth Day (ie. a week) people who go to Randwick are excluded from practising any other religion except Catholicism. This amounts to an “interference” in religious observance – sponsored by the state.

The particulars asserted before the court say that that the papal mass is a religious observance and so it must be taken as correct that “it excludes participation by persons who profess other faiths and religions”.

We will see how it fares today. If Vescio is not successful in his leave appeal then he can join the NoToPope brigade and hand out condoms to the worshipful “pilgrims” flocking to the holy of holies – Randwick racecourse.

justinian@lawpress.com.au

————————————————————————————

 

As a practising Catholic (St Ignatius’ College, Riverview), I found much to agree with Richard Ackland’s piece in the SMH 27/06/08 : High Court ponders World Youth Day largesse.

 

Many Australians, I’m sure, would be less than impressed with tax payers’ money going directly to promote a religious function. The Church in any secular society is always ill-advised if it needlessly antagonizes people in seeking privileged treatment from the authorities at the expense of others. The dispute with the racing fraternity about  Randwick Racecourse being used for a Papal Mass is a point in question. Surely there is ample church property in and around Sydney where this event could take place; the grounds of my old school, Riverview readily come to mind. The citizens of this country may be favourably disposed towards World Youth Day but many may not want to have to pay for it or be disadvantaged by it.

 

David Wall

152 Wilson Street

Newtown 2042 NSW

Phone: 02 95505053

 

 

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