A senate inquiry into Scientology will not go ahead after the Rudd Government told the church it believed the Tax Office and police were the most appropriate authorities to investigate any complaints.
A staff member for Government Senate leader Chris Evans has emailed Scientologists who wrote to him after independent senator Nick Xenophon made a series of explosive allegations in the Senate last month, saying it would be inappropriate to conduct an inquiry into a private, religious organisation.
The email, from Hayden Falconer, noted that there was no precedent for the Senate to conduct such a targeted inquiry.
”It is not the role of the Parliament to inquire into the tax status of a particular organisation or individual, or to investigate criminal matters,” it says. ”The role of the Senate is to inquire into issues of public policy and public administration.”
The Opposition yesterday cited similar arguments in its rejection of a probe, meaning Senator Xenophon will lack the numbers to establish the inquiry. But Senator Xenophon was undeterred, saying yesterday that in February he would call for a vote for an inquiry and did not accept the Government’s argument.
”That’s a cop-out. The matters for police will quite rightly go to the police, but there are matters there that relate to civil law and issues of law reform in terms of the tax free status,” he said. ”If the major parties think that this is an issue that will go away, then they’re kidding themselves.”
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