The West Australian, Tue 13 Feb 1973, p3

Religious status for scientology

The Church of the New Faith (scientology) had been proclaimed a recognised denomination by the Federal Government under Section 26 of the Commonwealth Marriages Act, a spokesman for the church said yesterday.

In Canberra last night, Government officials 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 they said the Government had not announced the decision because it had not yet been officially proclaimed by the Governor General, Sir Paul Hasluck.

The church's guardian in South Australia, Mrs Robin Youngman, said that the decision put the church on the same footing as the Church of England and other major denominations.

"The Victorian ban against scientology is now null and void because it specifically exempts organisations acknowledged under the Marriages Act," she said.

With Federal recognition, the church and scientologists are now virtually free to operate in all States.

Mrs Youngman said a ban on scientology in S.A. had not been enforced since 1968 and a Psychological Practices Bill, apparently with the same objective, was in abeyance because of the State elections.


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 would again become legal.

A statement by Senator Murphy last year, committing a Labor Government to recognise the church, was criticised by his Labor colleagues, but he said that the whole issue of the freedom of religion was at stake.

The Australian president of the church, the Rev. Michael Graham, said in Perth last night that recognition would greatly help in the repeal of the ban on scientology in W.A. and S.A. Many Liberal members of Parliament in W.A. had said that they would never have banned scientology if it had been a religion.

In W.A. the church had been practising scientology without any real effect from the ban, but a more overt approach would be taken now.

"In the past we have said we are the Church of the New Faith, practising the religion of scientology, but now we will be known as the Church of Scientology, registered as the Church of the New Faith," he said.

Mr Graham said that individual members of the church would register under Section 29 of the Commonwealth Marriages Act as celebrants of marriage.