Church of the New Faith

Church of the New Faith was a name used by the Church of Scientology in Australia from 1969 until 1983 to avoid laws that restricted or banned the practice of Scientology.

History

In 1965 the State of Victoria passed a law, the Psychological Practices Act, 1965, banning the use of the E-meter and teaching Scientology for money. Considering Scientology to be a form of psychology, it required anyone practising psychology to be registered with a newly established Victorian Psychological Council. However, since the Act's definition of psychology was broad enough to include the pastoral counselling traditionally done by priests and ministers of religion, any religious denomination recognised by the Australian government under the federal Marriage Act was exempted from its provisions. The Scientology organisation in Spring Street, Melbourne, closed in response to this law.

Similar laws were later passed in Western Australia in 1968 (the Scientology Act) and South Australia (the Psychological Practices Act) in 1973. The Church changed its name to "Church of the New Faith" and remained active in these two States.

In November 1968, two Australian Scientologists who had been working at Saint Hill, Ian and Judith Tampion, set up a mission of the Church of the New Faith in an inner suburb of Melbourne. They held meetings and sold books, but Scientologists in Melbourne would travel to Adelaide, South Australia for training.

The Church of the New Faith was incorporated in Adelaide on 18 June 1969[1]

In 1972, Western Australia repealed its Scientology Act. In January 1973, the newly elected federal Labor government recognised Scientology as a religious denomination under the Marriage Act, allowing Scientology ministers to conduct marriages and making them effectively exempt from the provisions of Victoria's Psychological Practices Act. The mission in Melbourne now became a fully functional Church offering training and counselling to the public. However, Victoria's law remained active, though the Victorian Scientology organisation was incorporated in South Australia.

In 1980, the Victorian branch of the Church of the New Faith applied for exemption from payroll tax. (The Church had exemption already in all other states where it operated). The Commissioner of Pay-Roll Tax rejected the application. The Church appealed against the decision, and lost on 18 December 1980. The Church lodged a Victorian Supreme Court appeal against this on 24 February 1981, which the full Supreme Court rejected on 5 May 1982.

Around this time, the Victorian Psychological Practices Act was becoming controversial, and was seen by many to be counter-productive. On 25 February 1981, officials of major religions urged repeal of the Act. Later, leading Churchmen including heads of Theological Colleges had signed a petition: "to remove all prohibitive sections aimed at members of the Church of Scientology purely on religious grounds. It further asks 'that in future no legislation be passed which discriminates against any minority because of its beliefs'".[2]

The Victorian Minister for Health, Tom Roper, explained to the Legislative Assembly that the Act was not being enforced in much of Australia. The Church of Scientology was flourishing in spite of the legislation banning its practice. Roper urged the lawmakers that in the future they shouldn't single out a minority group for legislation "in the way the Psychological Practices Act discriminates against Scientology."[3]

The Liberal and National Parties did not oppose the Labor Government's action to repeal the Psychological Practices Act. [4] The Act was amended by the Psychologists Registration (Scientology) Act, 1982 to remove all references to Scientology on 24 June 1982 and was repealed in 1987.

This did not, however, give the Church tax exempt status in Victoria. The Church appealed against the payroll decision to the High Court on 9 November 1982 and the case was accepted. They won the case (Church of the New Faith v. Commissioner of Pay-Roll Tax (Victoria)) in late 1983 and immediately started operating as the Church of Scientology once more, with confirmed status as a tax-exempt religion.[5] Subsequently in 2013, the UK Supreme Court affirmed the religious status of Scientology in that country, and credited the Australian High Court case judgment of Wilson and Deane as the "most helpful" of various international cases in defining the characteristics of religion. [6]

Victoria's Psychological Practices Act was finally repealed by the Psychologists Registration Act, 1987.[7] The South Australian Psychological Practices Act has remained in force and regulates the activities of hypnotists and psychologists in that State. However, neither this Act itself[8] nor the current regulations[9] now contain any reference to Scientology. The Western Australian Scientology Act, 1968 has been replaced by a Psychologists Registration Act, 1976[10] with similar provisions.

References

Notes

  1. ^ L. Ron Hubbard (1976) Modern Management Technology Defined p.78
  2. ^ The Age newspaper (Melbourne), Sat 18 April 1981, page 3
  3. ^ Hansard, Victoria, House of Assembly Pages 719–720, 3 June 1982.
  4. ^ The Age (Melbourne), Fri 25 Jun 1982, p10
  5. ^ Church of the New Faith v Commissioner of Pay-roll Tax (Victoria) [1983] HCA 40, (1983) 154 CLR 120 (27 October 1983), High Court.
  6. ^ https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2013-0030-judgment.pdf paragraphs 40-49 and esp page 18 paragraph 57
  7. ^ [web.archive.org/web/20070615021704/"Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2007. Retrieved 2006-03-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Psychologists Registration Act, 1987]
  8. ^ [1] Archived 21 September 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Parliament of South Australia (29 August 1996), Psychological Practices Regulations 1996, archived from the original on 29 November 2004, retrieved 16 March 2006
  10. ^ http://www.slp.wa.gov.au/statutes/swans.nsf/PDFbyName/226A3ED741613520482565D70018F4F8?OpenDocument

Additional sources

See also

  • iconScientology portal
Anderson Report

The Anderson Report is the colloquial name of the report of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology, an official inquiry into the Church of Scientology conducted for the State of Victoria, Australia. It was written by Kevin Victor Anderson QC and published in 1965. The report led to legislation attempting to ban Scientology in Victoria and similar legislation in several other States of Australia. No convictions were made under the legislation and Scientologists continued to practice their beliefs, although the headquarters was moved to South Australia. The legislation has been repealed in all States and subsequently Scientology was found to be a religion by the High Court of Australia.

Australian constitutional law

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Church of Scientology

The Church of Scientology is a multinational network and hierarchy of numerous ostensibly independent but interconnected corporate entities and other organizations devoted to the practice, administration and dissemination of Scientology, a new religious movement. The Church of Scientology International (CSI) is officially the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for guiding local Scientology churches. At a local level, every church is a separate corporate entity set up as a licensed franchise and has its own board of directors and executives. The first Scientology church was incorporated in December 1953 in Camden, New Jersey by L. Ron Hubbard. Its international headquarters are located at the Gold Base, in an unincorporated area of Riverside County, California. The location at Gilman Hot Springs is private property and not accessible by the public. Scientology Missions International is under CSI and oversees Scientology missions, which are local Scientology organizations smaller than churches. The Church of Spiritual Technology (CST) is the organization which owns all the copyrights of the estate of L. Ron Hubbard.The highest authority in the Church of Scientology is the Religious Technology Center (RTC). The RTC claims to only be the "holder of Scientology and Dianetics trademarks", but is in fact the main Scientology executive organization. RTC chairman David Miscavige is widely seen as the effective head of Scientology.All Scientology management organizations are controlled exclusively by members of the Sea Org, which is a legally nonexistent paramilitary organization for the "elite, innermost dedicated core of Scientologists". David Miscavige is the highest-ranking Sea Org officer, holding the rank of captain.

Although in some countries it has attained legal recognition as a religion, the movement has been the subject of a number of controversies, and has been accused by critics of being both a cult and a commercial enterprise.

Freedom of religion in Australia

Freedom of religion in Australia is allowed in practice and protected to varying degrees through the constitution and legislation at the Federal, State and Territory level. Australia is a secular country with legislated separation of church and state and with no state religion. The nation has over 13.5 million people who identify as religious and 7.1 million who identify as irreligious.Relevant legislation protecting religious freedoms include sections of the Constitution of Australia, Federal anti-discrimination laws and State/Territory-based human rights acts and anti-discrimination laws. As these freedoms are not protected in a single piece of legislation, but rather appear as sections, clauses and exemptions in other acts or laws, legal religious freedom protections are often a source of great debate and difficult to discern in Australia.

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Lionel Murphy

Lionel Keith Murphy QC (30 August 1922 – 21 October 1986) was an Australian politician and judge. He was a Senator for New South Wales from 1962 to 1975, serving as Attorney-General in the Whitlam Government, and then sat on the High Court from 1975 until his death.

Murphy was born in Sydney, and attended Sydney Boys High School before going on to the University of Sydney. He initially graduated with a degree in chemistry, but then went on to Sydney Law School and eventually became a barrister. He specialised in labour and industrial law, and took silk in 1960. Murphy was elected to the Senate at the 1961 federal election, as a member of the Labor Party. He became Leader of the Opposition in the Senate in 1967.

Following Labor's victory at the 1972 federal election, Gough Whitlam appointed Murphy as Attorney-General and Minister for Customs and Excise. He oversaw a number of reforms, establishing the Family Court of Australia, the Law Reform Commission, and the Australian Institute of Criminology, and developing the Family Law Act 1975, which fully established no-fault divorce. In 1975, following the death of Douglas Menzies, Murphy was appointed to the High Court. He is the most recent politician to be elevated to the court.

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Scientology

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Scientology controversies

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Scientology in Australia

Scientology has existed in Australia since the early 1950s. The number of Scientology adherents varies depending upon the source: according to the 2011 census, it has a declining population, 2,163 members, down from 2,507 in 2006, while Scientology itself has claimed 150,000 members in Australia. The 2016 census records 1,684 people describing their religion as Scientology. It has headquarters in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, and Canberra, along with a mission in Tasmania. The Church of Scientology Australia is the regional headquarters for the entire Asian and Pacific area.

Scientology status by country

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The Church of Scientology has been given tax exempt status in its home country, the United States, and has received full recognition as a religion in various other countries such as Italy, South Africa, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain; it thus enjoys and regularly cites the constitutional protection afforded in these nations to religious practice. Some countries, mostly in Europe, have regarded Scientology as a potentially dangerous cult, or at least have not considered local branches of the Church of Scientology to meet the legal criteria for being considered religion-supporting organizations, seeing Scientology as a business.The 2014 ruling in London, which had five judges in the UK Supreme Court unanimously rule that a Scientology chapel is a "place of meeting for religious worship", solidified the church's status as a religion in the region. While some theologians critically approach Scientology's status as a religion, social scientists as a whole agree that it "satisfies the abstract criteria for recognition as a religion".

Section 116 of the Constitution of Australia

Section 116 of the Constitution of Australia precludes the Commonwealth of Australia (i.e., the federal parliament) from making laws for establishing any religion, imposing any religious observance, or prohibiting the free exercise of any religion. Section 116 also provides that no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth. The product of a compromise in the pre-Federation constitutional conventions, Section 116 is based on similar provisions in the United States Constitution. However, Section 116 is more narrowly drafted than its US counterpart, and does not preclude the states of Australia from making such laws.

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Federal Governments have twice proposed the amendment of Section 116, principally to apply its provisions to laws made by the states. On each occasion—in 1944 and 1988—the proposal failed in a referendum.

Timeline of Scientology

This is a Timeline Of Scientology, particularly its foundation and development by author L. Ron Hubbard.

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