Australian Prime Minister Helps Take on Scientology November 18, 2009

Australian Prime Minister Helps Take on Scientology

We already know their athletes are bold. They are hosting a global atheist conference next year.

And now, we can add their politicians to the list of Reasons Australia is Better than Your Country.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he has concerns about the Church of Scientology but wants to see what material independent senator Nick Xenophon has before committing to a parliamentary inquiry.

Senator Xenophon told Parliament today there was criminal activity within the church and has called for a Senate inquiry into Scientology’s tax exempt status.

The Prime Minister throwing his voice to the mix is interesting enough, but take a look at the speech Xenophon made in the Senate yesterday.

It’s blunt, powerful, and another major blow to the Cult of Scientology:

What we are seeing is a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality.

On the body of evidence this is not happening by accident; it is happening by design. Scientology is not a religious organisation. It is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs.

What you believe does not mean you are not accountable for how you behave.

I also believe the activities of this organisation should be scrutinised by parliament because Australian taxpayers are, in effect, supporting Scientology through its tax-exempt status. I say to all Australians: as you fill in your tax return next July or August, ask yourself how you feel knowing that you are paying tax and yet this criminal organisation is not…

Ultimately, this is not about religious freedom. In Australia there are no limits on what you can believe. But there are limits on how you can behave. It is called the law, and no one is above it.

That’s a profile of courage for you.

Now when are some of these politicians also going to go after the Catholic Church for covering up their criminal past (and present)?

(Thanks to Julie for the link!)


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  • David D.G.

    Awesome! Serious props to Senator Xenophon. He’s fair dinkum!

    ~David D.G.

  • Kev

    Ultimately, this is not about religious freedom. In Australia there are no limits on what you can believe. But there are limits on how you can behave. It is called the law, and no one is above it.

    If only we had that attitude here.

    Very well said.

  • muggle

    Go, Australia! And, yes, Catholic Church next.

  • Revyloution

    What an apropos name, Xenophon. Well done.

    This is a very slippery slope that he has trod upon. With luck, we will all slide down it into a pit of rationality from which we might never return.

  • CybrgnX

    This is just picking on a small bunch that look to be easily put down. They will find that they will fail, because the Co$ is following the rules the govmint put in place to define religion. Whether you like them is immaterial.
    The jews BRAG about committing genocide 4 times….When has Co$ done so???
    The Xtians???? witch burning-crusades-inquisitions-pedophilia-gay killings….When has the Co$ done these????
    The islam??? woman killings-gay murders-jihads…..when has Co$ done these????
    They may be silly but they have not -as far as I know- killed anyone. So if you need an target, grow some balls and go after those that have REALLY demonstrated hate and violence.

  • Meh, Xenophon must be Xenu’s pseudonym, he wants to destroy scientology because they are the only ones who could stop him enslaving mankind! [/sarcasm]

  • And now, we can add their politicians to the list of Reasons Australia is Better than Your Country.

    Meh. Go read John Wilkins’ blog for examples of censorious, religion-pandering behaviour by the current Aussie government. My cynical view is that they can go after the CoS only because its a) not Christian and b) worse than most Christian groups.

  • Brit

    It is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs.

    I think that can be said about most religious organizations.

  • Pony

    Xenephon is a popularity hound who’ll say anything to get noticed by the media and make himself out to be a champion of the people.

    He originally ran on a platform of “No Pokies” (no slot machines in pubs) and has done absolutely nothing to reduce them, and was even caught on camera last year playing them.

    He has also been instrumental in blocking workplace legislation reforms, which would improve workers rights, because of a personal vendetta against unions.

    While it might be nice if we can get Scientology removed from the tax-free umbrella, and use it as a test case to remove it from ALL churches, I really don’t think that a) Xenephon is the man who’ll do it or b) that the Prime Minister will do anything which might endanger his OWN religious beliefs/voter base.

  • It’s a start, but our PM loudly and proudly wears his Xianity on his sleeve. He, and the then Premier of NSW welcomed Ratzinger-burger with open arms last year at World Youth Day.

    Yes, criminal activity should be punished anywhere and everywhere regardless of faith. Pity it may take some convincing to go after priests after Purity Bricks.

  • Beckster

    as you fill in your tax return next July or August, ask yourself how you feel knowing that you are paying tax and yet this criminal organisation is not…

    I feel this way about all churches . . . .

  • Pseudonym

    flawedprefect is correct, the current Australian Prime Minister is a devout Roman Catholic. He famously threw a tantrum on his official aircraft when it tried to serve him meat on a Friday.

    But don’t take my word for it. Just ask Bill Henson.

    Anyway, churches in Australia have copped a lot of flack for past behaviour from both the public and politicians over various issues. Mishandling of child sex abuse by the clergy was, obviously, a big one. (A former Governor-General was forced to resign over this issue.) Their part in the Stolen Generations (which was the subject of a royal commission) and, just this week, child abuse in the postwar child migration system, have also been pretty huge deals. Believe me, they’re not getting away with it.

  • What you believe does not mean you are not accountable for how you behave.

    Damn. Can he be my Senator?

  • Pseudonym

    Greta:

    Can he be my Senator?

    Unfortunately, you’d have to live in Adelaide.

    Seriously, Nick Xenophon probably the best senator in Australia, and the only one who consistently looks at issues on their merits rather than toeing a party line. One of the few disadvantages of living in Victoria is that our senators are pretty useless. (I’m looking at you, Stephen Conroy and Steve Fielding.)

  • Pony

    I do live in Adelaide, but he’s not representing my interests!

  • DexX

    He can talk the talk, but Xenophon has trouble walking the walk. He has proven himself to be unreasonable and obstructionist, and likes to hold genuinely important legislation to ransom to generate publicity for his own little hobby horses.

    Pony, above, has Xenophon’s number.

    That said, I’d prefer a senate full of Xenophons to a single Fielding. He’s a climate change denier who went on a junket to the US (funded by big oil) looking at all the evidence against man-made climate change, and he came home and voted against legislation to combat it.

    Admittedly, the legislation was pretty pissweak, but it was a start. Opposing it for being inadequate is one thing, but he opposed it because it was addressing a problem that the friendly people at ExxonMobile assured him is a media scare campaign.

  • Matt D

    I caught this on the news last night but didnt hear any of the specific allegations – were any actually made?

    As an independent senator Xenophon wields a disproportionate amount of power and has used this position to earn concessions on his pet interests, on threat of blocking important legislation.

    I’d like to know who’s behind this, I doubt he’s cooked it up on his own.

    Even though it is only CoS (a pretty easy target here), it could be the thin edge of the wedge, but I doubt K-Rudd will be too interested in digging dirt on the more “mainstream” religions.

    and yes, the whole Xenophon/Xenu thing is a too funny

  • Pseudonym

    Matt, it starts on page 73 of that day’s Hansard (1.1Mb PDF download). He did indeed make specific allegations and named names. Most of the cases were based on statements and letters written to him. I heard a report that he handed over the letters to the police; I haven’t seen a confirmation from the Senator himself.

  • Gibbot

    It’s already stirring the pot down here. There were two online articles today calling for an end to tax exemption for all religions. The first was from Crikey, a lefty online subscription service that are generally ahead of the pack on issues like this. The second, surprisingly, came from Murdoch site The Punch. While there are obviously more religious wingnut comments on the the punch article, the majority of comments on both stories are overwhelmingly in favour of scrapping tax concessions.

    We’re a long long way off seeing any action, but even getting the issue into the public forum is a victory of sorts.

    Oh, and here’s the full transcript of Xenophon’s speech.

  • Stevejme

    Sadly our PM is a Christian fundamentalist who will not be getting my vote next year.

  • Pseudonym

    Stevejme, I don’t like the Catholic agenda either, but KRudd is hardly a “fundamentalist”. Remember who it was who removed all legal inequities for same-sex couples (apart from one).

  • @pseudonym – I’m just waiting to see if they go and overturn the ACT’s civil unions bill again…

  • Daphon

    “Remember who it was who removed all legal inequities for same-sex couples (apart from one).”

    Not all, only those under federal legislation. For example, private superannuation companies can still (and most do) discriminate against same-sex couples.

    Although brought up a Catholic, Rudd now attends Anglican churches.

    If Rudd does today what ex-Sen Greig predicts

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/11/20/rudds-divorced-from-reality-when-it-comes-to-gay-marriage/

    then, yes, as far as I’m concerned he is a Christian fundy.

    http://www.acl.org.au/national/browse.stw?article_id=28324

  • Daphon

    Oh, and Rudd’s aircraft tantrum about his weight loss diet rather than not eating meat on Fridays due to religious beliefs:

    “Mr Rudd has been losing weight and is on a non-red meat and fruit-only for dessert diet.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/kevin-rudd-blows-up-over-special-vip-jet-meal/story-e6freuy9-1225697726533

    (I’m no apologist for Rudd as I loathe the man almost as much as I did Howard.)

  • Pseudononymate

    Hey, if anyone wants to actually DO something to support Xenophon, you can sign a petition here!
    http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/32251.html