Scientology a 'cult', Xenophon tells forum
Brisbane Courier Mail
March 13, 2010
INDEPENDENT senator Nick Xenophon says he will keep challenging the Church of Scientology's right to be recognised as a religious organisation.
Senator Xenophon said Scientology was a cult and not a religion, adding he would continue to pursue the organisation because former members had become 'victims' of its practices.
"I want to be quick to acknowledge that Scientology is just one organisation in the community that can be rightly described as a cult," Senator Xenophon told a forum on cults at Brisbane's Parliament House.
"I heard some of these stories from the people who approached my office to share their experiences with Scientology.
"Since my first speech to the Senate on this subject, I have unfortunately heard many more."
He said the Labor and Liberal parties had turned their backs on victims by refusing to endorse an inquiry into the need for a public benefit test for the Church of Scientology to receive tax exemptions.
Claims of forced abortions, imprisonment in boot camps and separation of families were aired this week on the ABC's Four Corners program.
"I cannot accept that Australian lives have been destroyed and more Australian lives may be destroyed, and our parliament wants to say, 'not our problem'," he said.
"I know a lot of politicians want to pretend this isn't happening.
"But good people spoke out. They trusted me with their stories, and I will not abandon them, even if it seems Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott want to."
Scientology was founded by L Ron Hubbard in Los Angeles in 1954, and its followers include Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and John Travolta.
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