Federal police find no evidence of Exclusive Brethren election sins

Federal police have failed to uncover evidence supporting claims a secretive Christian sect breached electoral and money-laundering laws.

But Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty said investigations into the Exclusive Brethren were yet to be finalised.

Exclusive Brethren

Many of the Exclusive Brethren movement’s teachings and practices are abusive to such an extent that this movement can rightly be labeled as an abusive church, and possibly even as a cult of Christianity

As its political smear campaigns demonstrate, hypocrisy is a hallmark of the Exclusive Brethren – members of which are not allowed to vote

A series of complaints about the Brethren’s activities had been referred to the AFP, Mr Keelty told a Senate estimates hearing today.

It received two referrals from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in 2007 but only one – relating to election funding totalling some $300,000 for the 2004 federal poll – was investigated with no evidence of wrongdoing disclosed.

In October, the AEC referred a complaint from the Australian Labor Party about distribution of unauthorised advertising allegedly by or on behalf of the Exclusive Brethren.

No information was provided to support assertions that the Brethren was responsible and the investigation was discontinued.

A third referral came from another source and related to a ABC Four Corners program in which it was suggested the Brethren had breached electoral and anti-money laundering laws.

Mr Keelty said no evidence was uncovered to substantiate the claims, although that investigation had yet to be finalised.

“At that point in time, we will be able to report on the outcome of that investigation,” he said.

“I will be happy to report the outcome when it is appropriate to do so.”

The Exclusive Brethren has been accused of campaigning in support of conservative parties in elections here and overseas.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday February 19, 2008.
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