Quackery-promoting cult uses front group to gain influence
Concerns have been raised about a partnership between the Federal Government and a drug awareness group run by members of the controversial Church of Scientology.
Corporate lawyer and researcher Grainne O’Donovan said the partnership could potentially be used by the church, through Drug Free Ambassadors Australia (DFAA), to try to recruit members from schools and youth groups.Consumer Alert: Scientology Quackery“Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill… (Scientology is) the world’s largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy.”
– Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, quoted atWhat judges have to say about Scientology
The DFAA – sponsored by Scientology – is a partner in the government’s National Compact set up by former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd in March within the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).
The DEEWR website says the National Compact is an agreement between government and ‘‘not-for-profit’’ community organisations to provide “real input into government policy and program delivery’’.
Ms O’Donovan said it was “worrying” that the DFAA was in a position to influence government policy, considering serious widespread concerns about its practices.
‘‘They are citing the entry on the government’s Harm Prevention Register in written materials, giving the impression they are a government-approved charity,’’ she said.
“The ambassadors aren’t just against illegal drugs they are also against approved medical drugs and psychiatry.’’
On a DFAA link on the department’s website the group describes itself as ‘‘a charitable organisation under the Harm Prevention Register that was established to meet the increasing demand for the Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life community drug prevention program, which members of Scientology churches and other volunteer organizations have been conducting for over 20 years around the world.’’
Last week, a Senate economics committee report recommended that a commission be established to investigate the finances and tax-free status of the not-for-profit sector – including religious groups – to ensure they were providing genuine service. The report also recommended that the Attorney-General look into the creation of an ‘‘anti-cult’’ law.