Questions to the Minister of Health,
24 Nov 1965

House of Commons, Western Australia


Investigations and Action by

2. The Hon. N. McNEILL asked the Minister for Health:

In view of publicity given in other States to the practice of Scientology, I ask-

(a) has the Government carried out any investigations in Western Australia; and

(b) if so, what action, if any, does the Government intend taking in this matter?

The Hon. G. C. MacKINNON replied:

(a) Not specifically on the organisation in this State. The Government has been in very close touch with Victoria. Copies of the report of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology, as presented to the Victorian House, and the appendix, which was not so tabled, have been made available to this Government and have been carefully studied. A copy of the Bill "to provide for the Registration of Psychologists, the Protection of the Public from Unqualified Persons and Certain Harmful Practices and for other purposes", as presented in the Victorian Legislature on the 10th November, 1965, has been received and studied, along with the speech introducing this measure as prepared by the Minister for Health, The Hon. V. Dickie, M.L.C. Reports have also been received from the Commissioner of Public Health, the Director of Mental Health Services,, the Solicitor-General, and the Commissioner of Police in this State.

(b) The Government is of the opinion that the publicity given in the national Press to this subject has highlighted the undesirable aspects of scientology and the dangers involved in the use of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy in the hands of any but fully qualified practitioners.

At different times the writers of scientology have claimed that it is

(i) An organised science of thought, built on definite axioms.

(ii) The modern science of mental health.

(iii) An organised body of scientific research knowledge concerning life, life sources in the mind, including practices that improve intelligence, state and conduct of persons.

(iv) Latterly, and particularly since the Victorian inquiry, a philosophy of life and a religion.

A brief examination of the variations in definition given above will indicate some of the difficulties which will have to be faced in arriving at a satisfactory method of control.

What is clear from an examination of the report and of scientology literature is that in reality this is no science, but merely a conglomerate of some psychological half truths mixed in with some ill-defined philosophy - the product of a lively but irrational imagination. Its danger to society lies not so much in its hocus-pocus of beliefs as in the ritual of its indoctrination. This involves "auditing" of "pre-clears" by a prolonged system of repetitive questioning which exhausts the pre-clear and produces in him a state bordering on hypnosis.

In view of these various matters the Government has decided to watch the situation carefully over the ensuing few months. This matter of hypnotheraphy and psychotherapy will, no doubt, be discussed by State Ministers for Health, and I am further advised that the State Attorneys-General are also examining certain aspects. If found to be desirable, this State will take positive steps in the 1966 session.

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