[Note: last paragraph is as published.]

The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 22 Dec 1965, p1

Scientology files seized in raid

MELBOURNE, Tuesday. - Police raided the Scientology Centre in Spring Street, Melbourne, today and seized about 4,000 personal files on clients.

The raid took place less than half an hour after the bill outlawing scientology in Victoria was proclaimed by the State Government.

Police filled a 30cwt truck with confiscated files and handed them over to the custody of officials of the Attorney-General's Department.

When the police arrived, they found paper burning in two five-gallon dustbins in the centre's backyard.

They removed all personal files they could find in an hour-and-a-half search of the building.

A promise "to co-operate"

The raid was led by officers of the Attorney-General's and Health Departments, who said the scientologists had promised to co-operate with any police operations in their headquarters.

State Government legal authorities will now examine the files. Under the new legislation (passed today) the authorities have power to destroy them if necessary.

The proclaimed sections of the Act make it an offence for anyone to charge a fee or accept reward for practising scientology or to advertise that they are willing to teach it.

This is punishable by a fine of up to £100 for a first offence and a fine of up to £250 or a gaol sentence of up to two years for subsequent offences.

The Act defined scientology as the system "or purported system" of the study of knowledge and human behaviour in writings disseminated by the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International.

Break-in power

Anyone holding scientological records now has to deliver them to the Attorney-General to be "destroyed or otherwise as the Attorney-General thinks fit."

The definition of records includes tape-recordings, registers, phonograph records and documents.

The Attorney-General has power to issue a warrant for the seizure of such records if necessary by breaking into premises.

A board of inquiry in Victoria, which sat for 160 days and heard 151 witnesses, tabled a report on scientology in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in October.

The report said its practice was "evil" and a serious threat to the community, medically, morally and socially.

Scientology procedures had done very considerable mental harm to individuals who had undergone "processing and training," the report said.

Recommended ban

Mr K. V. Anderson, Q.C., who headed the inquiry, recommended that scientology be banned in Victoria and the organisation's files of "the intimate secrets" be destroyed to prevent blackmail.

An hour before the police arrived at the organisation's headquarters today, the district secretary, Mrs W. Coulson, said the scientologists would carry on as long as they could.

"We feel we have a right to practise what we believe in," she said.

"Police art still coming in to take scientology courses, despite the bad Press."

[Press articles on Scientology]