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Church of Scientology under investigation over alleged breaches of Australian slavery laws

Church of Scientology under investigation over alleged breaches of Australian slavery laws

The national Fair Work Ombudsman in Australia has released a preliminary report which implicates the Church of Scientology in Australia of breaching slavery laws.

According to reports on Australian TV, the preliminary report by the Fair Work Ombudsman, alleges that the Church of Scientology is guilty of false imprisonment of members and forced labor.

A report by the Australia Broadcasting Corporation says that in spite of earning $17 million in 2009, the Church of Scientology was paying some of its workers as little as $10 a week, forcing the workers to stay on government welfare. According to a report by the Australian Associated Press:

A final report by the Fair Work Ombudsman is due for release later this week, but the preliminary report has found some workers were paid as little as $10 a week by the church despite it earning more than $17 million in 2009.

The Church of Scientology, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman report covered up its breach of slavery law by falsely classifying some of its workers who should be classified as employees as volunteers. The Church also claims that some of the under-paid workers are in "holy orders" and thus not covered by the Fair Work Act.

But the report by the Fair Work Ombudsman said:

The allegations … may potentially be a breach of the provisions of the Criminal Code Act 1995 dealing with slavery … the Fair Work Ombudsman will refer the witnesses’ allegations to the relevant authority for further investigation.

A former Church of Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the report by the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman will have repercussions on the Church of Scientology worldwide:

I think a bunch of governments particularly in Europe and the Commonwealth will follow in the footsteps of the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman and begin their own investigations and reviews.

Although the Church of Scientology says that it is a religious organization with no profit-making motives, the Fair Work Ombudsman report said that the Church in Australia made about $11.5 million in 2009 from spiritual counseling and training. The Church, according to the report, operates spiritual training courses and counseling which costs Church members a lot of money: an "advanced program" the Church offers to members costs as much as $65,000. A former member of the organization also alleges that members of the Church pay for spiritual "cleansing" of repercussions from their past lives.

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Transmodernist writer and thinker. Author of "Confessions of God: The Gospel According to St. JohnThomas Didymus"
  • Rutah

    So, their vow of poverty to serve the ideals of L. Ron Hubbard involves being on welfare, so they can afford to live on the $10/week the cult pays them, while the cult rakes in a fortune?

    I don't think the cult is going to worm out of this one.

    I hope they publish their 2010 earnings and we see a huge drop.

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