[Note: typos preserved.]
The Australian, 25 Aug 1972, p3
TWO A.L.P. leaders yesterday came out in support of the Scientology Church of the New Faith.
The party's Senate Leader, Senator Lionel Murphy, committed a Labor Government would recognise the church and South Australia announced it would repeal its ban on the church.
Senator Murphy said a Labor Government would recognise he church in exactly the same way as any other religion.
Under the Constitution, all religions were entitled to equal treatment.
The Australian vice-president of the church, the Reverend T. B. Minchin, had sought permission to conduct marriages and be recognised under the Marriage Act.
The church is banned in several countries - including the U.S., Britain and South Africa - and in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
The South Australian Attorney-General, Mr King, said yesterday that the present State ban would be repealed, but in Victoria - where scientology was banned in 1965 after a board of inquiry - the Government has no intention of recognising it.
The Victorian board of inquiry said scientology was evil and a serious threat to the community medically, morally and socially.
It said its adherents were sadly deluded and often mentally ill, and that one woman had "been processed into insanity in a demonstration during the inquiry."
It also cited cases of people paying up to $2000 for "mumbo jumbo" and alleged that over a six-year period Victorians were fleeced of $500,000.
Last night, several Labor MPs said they could not understand why Senator Murphy had agreed to recognise and institution which was widely regarded as harmful.
The Opposition Whip in the House of Representatives, Mr G. Duthie, said he was opposed to recognising scientology as a religion.
"A lot of my colleagues would also oppose it," he said.
"I agree that all churches are entitled to equal treatment, but scientology is not a religion."
In South Australia, Mr King said the ban would be removed because the Government believed it "inconsistent with the principles of a free society to impose prohibitions on a particular sect."
He said the legislation would ensure that only registered and qualified psychologists would be able to offer their services for fee or reward, but declined to comment on the effects new legislation would have on the use of devices known to scientologists as E-meters.
The Victorian Minister for Health, Mr J. H. Rossiter, said his Government had no intention of lifting its ban on scientology.
"I'm looking forward to a further split in the Labor Party on this important issue," he said.
The State Opposition Leader, Mr Holding, said the Victorian branch of the A.L.P. had not discussed the matter recently and it had not changed its attitude towards scientology.
The Victorian Labor Party first brought scientology to public notice in Australia after the cult was blaimed for an increase in admissions to mental institutions in the State.
Scientology was founded in the late 1940s by an American science-fiction writer, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, who is now a multi-millionaire and lives in a stately home in England.
It is based on a best-selling book he wrote - Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health - which claimed a dramatic breakthrough in psychotherapeutic techniques.
The techniques involve simple mental exercises and a gadget known as the Electro-Psychrometer, or E-meter, consisting of a couple of wires, two handgrips or electrodes and a dial for measuring changes in the electrical circuit formed when a patient takes a grip in either hand.
In 1968, the assistant executive secretary of Scientology, Mr Peter Gillham, visited Melbourne and said the movement was prepared to spend $2 million fighting the State Government's ban.