Senator Xenophon attacks Church of Scientology
November 18, 2009
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has used a speech in Parliament to raise allegations of widespread criminal conduct within the Church of Scientology.
Senator Xenophon says he has received letters from former followers of the religion detailing claims of crimes and abuses.
He says he has passed on the letters to the police and is calling for a Senate inquiry into the religion and its tax exempt status.
"Do you want Australian tax exemptions to be supporting an organisation that coerces its followers into having abortions? Do you want to be supporting an organisation that defrauds, that blackmails, that falsely imprisons?" he asked.
"Because on the balance of evidence provided by victims of scientology you probably are."
Senator Xenophon told Parliament the Church of Scientology is a criminal organisation that hides behind its "so-called religious beliefs".
"The letters received by me which were written by former followers in Australia contain extensive allegations of crimes and abuses that are truly shocking," he said.
"Crimes against them and crimes they say they were coerced into committing.
"There are allegations of false imprisonment, coerced abortions and embezzlement of church funds, of physical violence and intimidation, blackmail and the widespread and deliberate abuse of information."
Senator Xenophon says the allegations are shocking.
"It is alleged that information about suspicious deaths and child abuse has been destroyed and one follower has admitted that he was coerced by the organisation into purgering himself into deaths of his two daughters," he said.
"These victims of Scientology claim it is an abusive manipulative and violent organisation."
In a statement, the Church of Scientology says Senator Xenophon has abused Parliamentary privilege and is being pressured by disgruntled former members who are unreliable witnesses.
Disclaimer:This news page is about groups, organizations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form. But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful. Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing. Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organization or person on this page, is not necessarily meant pejoratively. Readers are encouraged to read widely on a topic before forming an opinion. Never accept information from a single source at face value. This website only holds a small amount of information and should not be relied on as a complete source. For example, if you find older information, this should be weighed up against newer information as circumstances can change.