A senior adviser to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has been linked to the Church of Scientology.
Innes Willox, Mr Downer’s chief of staff, is on the Church of Scientology’s roll of Australian membership, listed on the Internet.
Like other members named on the roll, Mr Willox also has his own personal Scientology website.
It includes his favourite L. Ron Hubbard quote and other personal details.
Scientology was founded by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s.
Some of its adherents believe our souls, or “thetans”, are covered in dead space aliens as a result of an ancient galactic confrontation involving an evil space tyrant named Xenu, and that this is the cause of much human suffering and mental trauma.
Scientologists equate the dangers of medical drugs with illicit street drugs and regard both as stumbling blocks to reaching a higher plane of consciousness through Scientology.
Scientologists practise Dianetics, which is claimed to be a type of psychotherapy and which includes a practice called “auditing”.
Using a primitive lie detector, called an E-Meter, new recruits are subjected to auditing and other types of therapy.
But Mr Willox told the Sunday Mail he was never a member of the Church and only flirted at the margins of the group some years ago.
“I am not actually a member of any religious organisation,” he said.
He said he did not know anything about his personal Scientology webpage until it was pointed out to him this week.
Even then he said he did not know whether the “Innes Willox” named on the webpage was him.
“I’ve got no idea,” he said.
Scientology, which numbers actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its adherents, has been criticised as an exploitative organisation.
Critics say its main purpose is money making and to that end controls and intimidates its members and enemies.
In the 1960s Mr Hubbard declared that humans were really just groups of spirits exiled to earth 75 million years ago by Xenu, the ruler of the galaxy.
In Australia, Scientology is regarded as a church, but in Germany it is regarded as a commercial enterprise.
A former journalist and recently a spokesman for a major airline, Mr Willox had earlier been Mr Downer’s media spokesman.
Mr Downer was also aware of his past links, he said.
Journalistic colleagues clearly recalled him being a Scientologist.
Political sources said senior advisers have to be personally “vetted” before they could receive a security clearance.
Past membership in a controversial political group or group would more than likely surface during the vetting.
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