[Note: typos preserved.]

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney), Sun 19 Mar 1967, p11

The Medical Journal of Australia this week warned that banning of Scientology in Victoria could mean an upsurge in other States. The journal called for action if the cult seemed to be spreading. This week Sunday Telegraph reporter Leslie Wilson found it IS in Sydney.

"Ratbagology" is here

Scientology - or ratbagology as it has often been dubbed - made a bid to get started in Sydney this week, at a public meeting.

The Hubbard Scientology Organisation is the mob of hustlers run out of Victoria last year and described in the British House of Commons two weeks ago as a group "extracting money from the weak and mentally ill."

Boss of the show is L. Ron Hubbard - referred to as "L Ron, Mr Hubbard, Our Ron, Old Ron, Ron and L." American-born, he lives in Britain and has been the subject of many probing newspaper and magazine stories.

Until last year he attached a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) to his name. But he decided to drop the title when some found out the doctorate was from a mysterious, non-regostered, apparently non-existent American university.

At Wednesday night's meeting in St. Phillip's Hall, York Street, Sydney, "Ron Ron" was described to the audience as a former engineer.

As a person who has probed the activities of the Scientologists for the past eight years in Victoria and London I found there was nothing new in the spiel handed out to the 70-odd people - except that the prices of the literature had increased.

The Church of Scientology Creed, a 29-line blat telling people things like "all men have inalienable rights to their sanity," is sold for 45 cents.

On sale on Wednesday were mainly the beginners' books. Titles like Dianetics: The Moderm Science of Mental Health by LRH going for a mere $4.50 for the newcomer with 20 percent cuts for life and international members and a 30 percent slice for combined international and life members.

Metal Scientology car badges were going for $4.75 and blazer badges were a snip at $7.25.

Members only

Under the category Books for further understanding of Scientology, there is one called Scientology 8.80 by LRH and another Scientology 8.8008 also by Ron, a book of E meter drills by Mary Sue Hubbard and Have you lived before this life? unsigned, and for "members only."

Kids get a mention - Child dianetics by LHR - and world problems e.g. All about radiation and Brainwashing are suggested reading.

In fact there is very little Ron doesn't know about everything.

(I got my "Creed" for 35 cents, but the list price is 45. There was some confusion about which price tag went where in St. Phillip's.)

When the would-be scientologists is completely hooked, he is offered a "Hubbard E Meter Mark V with leads and charging wire" for $148, an E Meter Tone Arm Counter for $8.75 and an E meter carrier for $2.20.

These are listed under "Confessional Aids" and in Victoria almost succeeded in sending some people to mental hospitals.

You can also get a Scientology tie - for gents, at no discount - for $3.10, a scarf for $5 and a 15 x 12, probably glossy, of our Ron for a mere $4.75.

For some inexplicable reason a 9 x 7 pic of the boss drops $4 to a drop-in-the-bucket 75 cents.

Scientology, as outside experts have studied it, appears to be a lot of meaningless mumbo-jumbo aimed at a public which cannot help itself from swallowing it. In the House of Commons the Minister for Health (Mr. Kenneth Robinson) said: "To attempt a definition of Scientology is a sterile exercise."

He added: "Scientology appears to mean nothing more than Ron Hubbard, its founder, chooses to say it means."

And the Victorian Anderson Inquiry said Scientology claimed to be the world's largest mental health organisation "yet what it really is is the world's largest organisation of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy."

Attending the meeting this week were the usual assortment of curious, frustrated, lonely, and people devoted to the cause.

The pattern always used is to sprinkle the audience with some handsome young men and women members. The hard-core operators do the stage work.

The only freedom

A personable young man named Martin Bentley was the first speaker. He wandered round the subject of Scientology being the only freedom, dropped a "Buddha" here and there and mentioned the centuries-old classics. He also gave Ron a good build-up.

I went to Wednesday's meeting as a member of the public and rang Ron's Sydney headquarters on Thursday, asking to talk to the head man there.

He is at No. 2 Buckland Street, Broadway, and there's a sign on the door announcing Ron's joint.

I was told I couldn't speak to the head man. I asked how much joining fees were these days. No comment. I said I had attended the meeting.

My phone friend said his name was Eder. In broken English he said he was an executive of the organisation.

If I went to Buckland Street I wouldn't be allowed to talk to anybody in authority.

But - "If you give us your name and address we'll send you a package of information about us ..."

As was said in the House of Commons: "Scientology does not like publicity. It thrives on a climate of ignorance and indifference."

And in Britain every time a newspaper quotes from Victoria's victorious Anderson report Ron drops a libel writ on the publication.

Oh, well ...

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