SENATOR XENOPHON TO ADDRESS INAUGURAL CONFERENCE ON CULTS

12 March 2010

Independent Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon will tomorrow address the inaugural National Conference on Cults in Brisbane, being organised by The Cult Information and Family Support Group Queensland.

Senator Xenophon will be speaking on the subject of 'Cults and the Impact on Individuals and Families'.

It follows his Parliamentary speech in November last year during which he raised concerns about the Church of Scientology and allegations of coerced abortions, child labour, false imprisonment, families being separated and lack of access to adequate medical services.

"I have spoken with many former members of the Church of Scientology and not a day goes by when I don't receive a letter or a phone call from another Australian wanting to share their story."

"Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott might be able to turn their backs on these victims, but I can't and I won't. Not when I've listened to how their lives have been ruined by this organisation," Nick said.

Yesterday, the Government and Opposition's voted against establishing a Senate Inquiry into the appropriateness of applying a Public Benefit Test to charities and religious organisations in Australia with respect to their tax exempt status.

Senator Xenophon says he'll introduce another motion next week focused specifically on allegations against the Church of Scientology.

"I do not have a problem with what people believe – it's how they behave that concerns me. And the Church of Scientology seems to be ruining people's lives, not just in Australia but around the world," Nick said.

"The Public Benefit Test which is currently applied in the United Kingdom means that charities and religious organisations have to demonstrate that the public good they provide outweighs any public harm they cause before they can receive tax exemption from the government."

"I will continue to call for a Senate inquiry into the practices of the Church of Scientology, every sitting week, until the Government and the Opposition take this seriously."

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