The Advertiser (Adelaide), Thu 06 May 1982, p28

Scientology is not religion, says court

MELBOURNE - The Victorian Full Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Church of the New Faith, practising Scientology, was not a religion or a religious institution.

The Full Court unanimously dismissed an appeal by the organisation against a ruling by Mr. Justice Crockett in December, 1980, that it was not a religious organisation.

Mr Justice Crockett had dismissed an appeal against a decision by the Commissioner of Payroll Tax not to grant the church an exemption from tax as a religious organisation.

The Chief Justice, Sir John Young, Mr. Justice Kaye and Mr. Justice Brooking, in written judgments, all agreed that Scientology could not be called a "religion."

Mr Justice Brooking said the church was committing a criminal offence by holding itself out as willing to teach Scientology.

So far as Victoria was concerned, the church was a body formed for an object illegal under the criminal law.

It was impossible to avoid the conclusion that the church was holding itself out as being willing to teach Scientology and so committing an offence against Section 31 of the Psychological Practices Act, 1965.

The Act prohibited under penalty any person advertising or holding himself out as being willing to teach Scientology or from demanding or receiving any fee or reward in connection with the teaching, practice or application of Scientology.

The Chief Justice said that, during the argument before the court, much attention had been paid to the question of whether Scientology was a religion.

The best neutral expression he was able to apply to Scientology was a "set of ideas."

He was not persuaded that the nature of the ideas was enough to entitle them to be described as a religion.

Mr Justice Kaye said some religions had come into existence for social, political or other mundane reasons and some had broken away from established religions for similar reasons.

"There are strong reasons for concluding that the Church of the New Faith was incorporated in South Australia to defeat the provisions of the Psychological Practices Act by which the practice of Scientology in Victoria is outlawed," he said.

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