In Canberra last night, Government sources confirmed that the Attorney-General, Senator Murphy, had granted authority to the church to perform marriages, the criterion for its recognition as a religious denomination.
But the sources said the Government had not announced the decision because Senator Murphy's decision had not yet been officially proclaimed by the Governor-General, Sir Paul Hasluck.
"This puts us on the same footing as the Church of England and other major denominations," said the church's guardian in South Australia, Mrs Robin Youngman.
"The Victorian ban against scientology is now null and void as it specifically exempts organisations so acknowledged under the Marriages Act."
With Federal recognition, the church and scientologists are now virtually free to operate in all States.
Mrs Youngman said a scientology ban in Western Australia was being repealed. A ban on scientology in SA had not been enforced since 1968 and a psychological practices bill, apparently with the same objective, was in abeyance because of the State elections, she said.
The president of the Church of the New Faith (Inc.) in Victoria, Mr Ian Tampion, said last night that under the new Act, the practice of Scientology in the State will again become legal.
A statement by Senator Murphy last year committing a Labor Government to recognising the church was criticised by his Labor colleagues, but he said the whole issue of freedom of religion was at stake.