[Note: typos preserved.]
The Australian, 28 Aug 1972, p7
SCIENTOLOGY was banned in Victoria after an exhaustive 160-day inquiry in 1963-64, which yielded four million words of evidence. It was later banned in South Australia and Western Australia, and appeared on the decline.
But South Australia has now decided to repeal its ban, and the Federal Opposition leader in the Senate, Senator Lionel Murphy, QC, says a Federal Labor Government would recognise the Scientology Church of the New Faith.
Members of the Church of the New Faith intend to fight for the right to practise scientology.
The temporary Deputy Guardian of the church in NSW, Mrs Audrey Devlin, said yesterday: "We are prepared to fight any ban no matter how long or how costly because we do intend to get scientology fully reinstated."
The church is registered in every State except Queensland. In Victoria it is registered as the Church of Scientology; in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia as the Church of the New Faith.
The church, Mrs Devlin said, is not banned anywhere. The practice of scientology is banned in only three places in the world - Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
"Scientology," she explained, "is a religious philosophy which can be applied." It can be applied for the betterment of man or to rehabilitate his own natural abilities, she says.
Mrs Devlin claimed that there are about 20,000 members of the church in Australia, 5000 of them in NSW. Church services in Sydney are held each Sunday night in Old South Head Road, Bondi Junction.
"We practise the religion of scientology. In application we deliver what is called processing or training. Processing is the action governed by the technical disciplines and codes of scientology to someone in order to free him from whatever is bothering him.
"We have an annual membership charge of $10.50 and we also make a charge of $15 an hour for processing. Processing lasts as long as it is needed."
Both the Australian president (Rev Michael Graham of Perth) and the vice-president (Rev T. B. Minchin of Adelaide) were ordained by the church itself whose mother institution is the Church of Scientology in California, founded by science-fiction writer, Mr Lafayette R. Hubbard, now reputed to be a multi-millionaire.
Scientology was registered in Victoria in May this year as a foreign company called "The Church of the New Faith Incorporated."
This was a complete reversal of the stand they took during the Scientology Board of Inquiry when they declared they were a science and not a religion.
Scientology in Victoria comes under the Ministry of Health following legislation passed in the Paychological Practices Act of 1965-66 which provides for the prosecution of anybody practising scientology for the gain of fees or reward.
A senior spokesman for the Health Department said the Act also prevented any advertising of the movement.
But the Victorian president of "The Church of Scientology of California in Victoria," Mr I. K. Tampion, a trained secondary teacher working as a company secretary, said yesterday there were 1000 Victorian members and the numbers were growing by two to 12 new members each week.
The church holds services at Inkerman Road, Caulfield every Sunday. Every week night at least 20 people attended discussion and learning groups in the same building which, according to Mr Tampion, looks more like a house than a church.
Mr Tampion said there were three church leaders in Victoria:
Mr Gordon Bellamine, the public relations officer, himself and Mrs Elaine Allen, the mission director.
The group calls itself a mission because it is a preliminary foundation body and still growing, he said.
In Victoria the Caulfield group is the only formal centre of scientology, though members hold meetings in Elsternwick, about five miles from Melbourne or at Geelong, 47 miles away. Mr Tampion said any religious body extracted money from its members. "We probably extract less than any other body," he said.
The Leader of the Opposition in Victoria, Mr Clyde Holding, said there was nothing in Victorian law to prevent scientologists from practising.
"Now they have decided they are a religion, they can practise, I don't really care, as long as they don't use their past methods of processing members, which were straight-out psychological techniques.
"What they are not entitled to do is break the law, and this applies to any religion," he said.
In South Australia, members of the Church of the New Faith have been openly practising scientology despite a State ban introduced by the Scientology (Prohibition) Act passed in 1969.
About 600 members attend the two Adelaide suburban churches at Fullarton and St Peters. The State leader and Australian vice-president of the movement, Rev. T. B. Minchin, said that there were at least another 1500 South Australians who were followers of scientology, but they were not full-time members.
"The Church of the New Faith has grown in South Australia since the ban from about 400 members to the present figure," he said.
"Despite the Prohibition Act our movement has grown unhindered because the Act proved totally unenforceable since its inception.
"During the past three years I have made nearly 100 television appearances and each time the response has been terrific with more and more inquiries about our faith every day. Senator Murphy's decision that the A.L.P. would recognise the Church of the New Faith is a breakthrough for the Australian Constitution," he said.
"The Liberals completely betrayed the Constitution when they placed a ban on our movement."
Mr Minchin said the recognition of his church would allow marriages to be performed as in other churches.
"At least five to to South Australian couples each year ask to be married in our church but because of present laws they have to go through two marriage ceremonies - one in our church and the other in a registry office. With recognition we will be able to carry out marriages like any other church," he said.
If scientology is practised in Brisbane its adherents are keeping quiet about it.
Police say there have been no complaints about the cult for at least three years. Police once kept a close watch on certain people practising it but enthusiasm for the cult seems to have petered out.
The Minister for Justice, Mr Knox, says scientology is not registered to collect money in Queensland.
There is no evidence of an organised following in the A.C.T.