Brown refers Exclusive Brethren matters to Senate committee
Senator Brown wants the Committee to examine public funding and tax arrangements which may advantage Brethren members.
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He says the inquiry would examine the education opportunities for Brethren children, who are not allowed to attend tertiary institutions.
“It would also perhaps look at the $10 million paid to five Brethren schools around Australia in January this year, those schools have a population combined of just 2,000 students,” he said.
Bob Brown ‘vilified’ Exclusive Brethren
The Exclusive Brethren has accused Australian Greens leader Bob Brown of vilifying its church and members.
Senator Brown yesterday urged the Upper House to conduct a wide-ranging inquiry into the activities of the Exclusive Brethren sect, saying it had prevented thousands of young Australians proceeding to tertiary education.
But Exclusive Brethren spokesman Daniel Hales said Senator Brown’s attempt to refer the church to the Senate’s community affairs committee was based on a “fictional account” of the group’s activities.
“Senator Brown’s remarks in the Senate were characterised by many factual inaccuracies,” Mr Hales said in a statement.
“Church members, their businesses and schools are subject to exactly the same regulations, laws and scrutiny by government agencies, tribunals and courts as other Australian individuals, businesses and schools.
“We obey the law scrupulously.”
The sect was embroiled in controversy before last year’s federal election, when it was alleged it was campaigning for then-environment minister Malcolm Turnbull in his marginal seat of Wentworth in Sydney’s east.