The Australian, 14 Mar 1973, p2

Murphy: not our function to decide on true religion

THE Federal Attorney-General, Senator Murphy, said yesterday he thought requirements on the Government to recognise religious bodies should be dropped.

He told the Senate he thought the system was "bad" and "unhealthy," and the relevant clauses should be taken off the statute books.

The former Attorney-General, Senator Ivor Greenwood (Lib, Vic) asked if Senator Murphy was aware of a report on the practice of Scientology, prepared by Mr K. Anderson, QC, now a judge of the Victorian Supreme Court.

He said Mr Anderson described Scientology as an "evil," and a danger to the mental health of the community.

Senator Greenwood asked if Senator Murphy had any reason for not accepting the report's findings.

He asked: "If he does, what steps has he taken or does he intend to take to protect the public in relation to the recognition of scientology as a religion?"

Senator Murphy said in the several years since the report was released scientologists in several States had organised themselves into a church called the Church of the New Faith.

It was recognised as a religion in South Australia last year.

In 1970 a magistrate in Western Australia ruled that a man applying for exemption from national service because he was a minister of the Church of the New Faith, was a minister of religion and not eligible for call-up.

Senator Murphy said: "In these circumstances and taking into account section 116 of the Constitution - which guarantees there will not be discrimination between religions - it is not the function of the Commonwealth Government to decide which are true religions, which are false and start to discriminate between them."

He said he believed the system under which an Act of Parliament required the Government to recognise a body as a religion was a bad one.