[Note: typos preserved.]

The Age, 20 May 1977, p1

Scientology E-meter back at $20 an hour


Scientologists are charging Melbourne people more than $20 an hour for psychological testing with the outlawed E-meter.

The leader of the Church of the New Faith (Scientology) in Victoria, Mrs. Elaine Allen, yesterday confirmed that at least 12 members of the cult were using the E-meter.

Mrs. Allen said people who joined the church paid an average of $250 for one course of 12 one-hour counselling sessions.

She said that over "a lifetime" of 20-30 years a person could undertake 1000 hours of counselling - an outlay of about $21,000.

Under the Victorian Psychological Practices Act the E-meter - an electronic device similar to a lie detector - can only be used by qualified doctors and ministers of religion.

Mrs. Allen, 40, a Balwyn mother of four, this week became the first scientologist to be officially registered as a minister of religion in Victoria.

Scientology was banned 12 years ago after a State Government inquiry found the movement was prevented, debased and ill-founded.

Mrs. Allen yesterday told "The Age" at the church's headquarters in Inkerman Road, Caulfield, that it had 12 ordained ministers in Melbourne who regularly used the E-meter in counselling the 5000 members.

The E-meter is a simple electronic device which registers a patient's thought impulses through two tin cans held in the hands.

At the 1965 inquiry which led to the banning of scientology in Victoria, the E-meter was described as a device which impressed the ignorant but proved nothing.

The Acting Minister for Health, Mr. Jona, yesterday said that Mrs. Allen, as a registered minister of religion, was the only scientologist in Victoria permitted to use the E-meter.

When told that other scientologists were using the advice, Mr. Jona said: "It would seem to me most unusual."

He said the Government would have to take a closer look at the church's operations.

"Under the legislation, as the only ordained minister, she is the only person granted exemption," Mr. Jona said.

"If this becomes widespread, we will act. The spirit of the legislation must be preserved."

When asked if the church was deliberately breaking the law, Mrs. Allen said: "It's a law that can't be enforced. They can fine me."

Mrs. Allen said scientologists had been performing their normal activities since the church reformed in Victoria in 1969.

"The Government has known about it," she said.