There are indications that, temporarily at least, there has been a substantial curtailment of scientology activities in Victoria, due to unfavourable reaction to the publicity necessarily attendant upon the Inquiry. This has been reflected in the big decline in the income of the HASI, the drastic reduction in its staff and the discontinuance of the Academy of Scientology at 2 Coates Lane, Melbourne. There is reason to believe, also, that the Geelong and Hawthorn centres are now quite attenuated.
It appeared from the evidence that to be a scientologist has in some instances attracted ridicule and discrimination. To be, or to have been, a scientologist, should not, of itself, carry any opprobrium. For many people, dalliance in scientology has been an unhappy interlude-a somewhat unnerving experience unwittingly embarked upon and thankfully escaped from. Hubbard claims that once a person has been in scientology he is really never the same again; this may well be so because, when disillusionment dawns, there may still remain the seared memory of chastening experiences in scientology. Very often persons in scientology have been, and still are, normal people who, however, have lapsed into gullibility and have had disquieting experiences without which they would have been far better off. It is unfair to ostracize or otherwise punish these innocent victims of scientology's deception. " There, but for the grace of God, go 1," should be the fervent prayer of many who resisted the urge to sample scientology.
Unless some action is taken it is unlikely that the fortunes of scientology in Victoria will remain at tl1eir present low ebb for very long. Hubbard is very resilient; his organization is international, large, efficient and powerful, and can comfortably absorb the reverse which it is presently suffering in Victoria. Hubbard still has loyal henchman in Victoria. As well as the disillusioned persons mentioned above, there are those who are the hard core of scientology in Victoria. They are the professional scientologists; they may well be deluded and their dedication may be sincere, but they are the people who have been keeping the flag of scientology flying during the Inquiry, who sought to underplay certain features of scientology theory and practice - " to go very slowly and use watered down scientology" - and who proclaim in the Melbourne HASI Communication Magazine of January, 1965, that "We will be here teaching and listening when our opponents' names are merely mis-spelled references in a history book of tyranny".
Notwithstanding that their revenue has almost ceased and their numbers are decimated, they are waiting to re-establish themselves along much the same lines as formerly, though possibly under some disguise. The registration of a new business name by the HASI in February, 1965, namely, "The College of Applied Philosophy", almost suggests that plans are being laid for scientology to blossom forth as a new philosophy.
Scientology and Religion.
In considering the nature, extent and effect of recommendations which it deems proper to make, the Board has constantly kept in mind the distinction between the holding of beliefs on the one hand and harmful practices based on such beliefs on the other. Such a distinction assumes added importance when the body of beliefs under consideration may reasonably be described as a religion. It is quite clear, however, that scientology in Victoria does not remotely resemble anything even vaguely religious, and no serious claim was made that it did.
Even if scientology could reasonably claim to be a religion, such are its practices that government action may be required to curtail or prohibit certain of its activities. In Adelaide Company of Jehovah's Witnesses Inc. v. The Commonwealth (1943) 67 C.L.R. 116, (1943) A.L.R. 193, the High Court of Australia unanimously ruled that, notwithstanding section 116 of the Australian Constitution which provides that " The Commonwealth shall not make laws for establishing any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth", the Parliament of the Commonwealth was not prevented from making laws prohibiting the advocacy of doctrines or principles which, though advocated in pursuance of religious convictions, were prejudicial to the prosecution of a war in which the Commonwealth was engaged. Thus, even where there are constitutional guarantees as to freedom of religious beliefs the advocacy of such beliefs may be curtailed or prohibited in the national interest. In the course of his judgment, the Chief Justice, Sir John Latham, referred with approval to a number of decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States dealing with restrictive action which the government was entitled to take to curtail or punish allegedly religious practices, even though constitutional safeguards for the freedom of religious belief existed. One such case, Reynolds v. The United States (1878) 98 U.S. 145, will serve as an illustration. In that case, Reynolds, a Mormon who had a religious belief in polygamy, and who had more than one wife, was convicted of bigamy. In announcing the unanimous decision of the Court, which
refused to set aside Reynolds's conviction, Waite, C. J. said at p. 166, "Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship, would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice? Or if a wife religiously believed it was her duty to burn herself upon the funeral pile of her dead husband, would it be beyond the power of the civil government to prevent her carrying her belief into practice? So here, as a law of the organization of society under the exclusive domination of the United States, it is provided that plural marriages shall not be allowed. Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government could exist only in name under such circumstances ".
Where there are no constitutional guarantees, the position of the State would be at least as strong.
Inadequacy of present laws.
There are many features of scientology which are to be condemned, but its disturbing features possess a certain novelty, and many of its aspects, criticized in this Report, are merely on the fringe of existing laws which have not been designed to deal with the particular problems which scientology presents.
The Board heard a submission by the Committee for Mental Health and National Security that much that the HASI had done was actionable civilly in fraud, negligence, for breach of contract and assault. The Board expresses no views on individual rights in respect of remediable grievances which persons may consider, or be advised, they have against the HASI or individual scientology practitioners.
The Board also heard submissions by the same Committee that the activities of the HASI and of scientology practitioners have revealed a variety of offences, including treason, sedition, blasphemy, assault and conspiracy. Conduct of which one disapproves may readily be stigmatized by being vaguely denounced as criminal, without regard to the precise constituents of criminal offences and the insuperable difficulties of evidence and proof which often exist . The Board does not consider that the problems which scientology presents may appropriately be dealt with by invoking the criminal law in respect of the past conduct of the HAS1 and of scientology practitioners.
It is of this view for these reasons:
(a) the real problem of scientology is not one of repeated and clearly defined breaches of existing laws, but rather of a special course of conduct not adequately controlled by law, namely, the invasion of the field of mental health and the propagating of harmful psychological practices. Such features as may be contrary to existing laws are merely incidental to the overall problem;The Board is of the view that scientology presents a problem which is not to be adequately dealt with by peripheral sniping. The Inquiry has revealed that many people, not necessarily scientologists, have taken advantage of the virtual absence of any control over practices or techniques which are concerned with the treatment of the mind and mental health generally. As the Board sees the matter, the problem which the Inquiry has revealed is not confined to practices and techniques which, for the time being, are labelled "scientology", but extends to a variety of pseudo-psychological practices which flourish under a variety of names.
(b) there are difficult questions of law as to whether such offences as have been enumerated and other similar offences have been committed and are capable of proof;
(c) an unsuccessful prosecution would be claimed as a vindication of the past conduct of the HASI and of scientology generally;
(d) even a successful prosecution for a breach of an existing law would be of little significance-like prosecuting a bank robber for driving his get-away car against the traffic lights.
Scientology, it is true, embodies a large number of fantastic theories and it so happens that the processes of scientology have been built around these theories. However, the processes of scientology could be administered with equal harm without one word of scientology theories being mentioned. People accept the fantasy of scientology theories because they have been processed and have become mentally crippled; it is not the fantasy that leads them into scientology though it may help to sustain their servitude.
The real dangers of scientology processing and of the harmful hypnotic and other techniques it uses are not in relation to the fantasy which its adherents believe; such beliefs are merely symptomatic. The harm is done by the processes used and it is the prohibition of such processes which is necessary.
Suppression of scientology by name insufficient.
An attempt to suppress or proscribe scientology and scientologists specifically by name would probably be ineffective, and, in any event, would be undesirable.
It would probably be ineffective because scientologists, who are not lacking in mental agility, would find ways of changing names of processes-even changing the name of scientology- and continuing to practise in much the same way under another guise. Hubbard changed the name of his " science " from scientology to dianetics, and back again to scientology. " Doctor" Marcus Tooley, dealt with in Chapter 29, has his " dynamic psychology " and, as earlier mentioned, the HASI has now registered the business name of " The College of Applied Philosophy ".
Action against scientology specifically by name would be undesirable for at least two reasons: -
(a) Though scientology is not, and does not claim to be, a religion, it is a system of beliefs. Notwithstanding its weird theories and the peculiar practices based on them, it is a system of beliefs which any person is at liberty to hold, just as whoever wishes may believe that the moon is made of green cheese. That the rest of the community believes that it knows better is not recognized as a reason for coercing the Green Cheese School to believe what the most recent lunar observations have revealed. The proscribing of persons for beliefs which they may hold has so many undesirable features as not to need elaboration.Hubbard is adept at turning to advantage any opposition to himself and his " science". He has often told his followers that they would meet opposition and persecution because of what they believe; when views are expressed or action taken hostile to scientology, such events are complacently accepted by his followers as further proof that " Ron is right". Misplaced compassion and sympathy for scientologists, who would parade as martyrs suffering for their faith, might well be engendered in sections of the community.
(b) An attempt specifically to proscribe scientology and scientologists would tend to bestow on them the quality of an oppressed minority suffering for its beliefs.
In the view of the Board, however, there are more effective and less controversial ways of dealing with the dangerous practices of scientology than by prohibiting it by name. In order to control scientology, it is necessary to strike at the heart of the problem. This involves an appreciation of the essential nature and quality of its processes. Hubbard claims that scientology is a form of psychology and the evidence shows it to be psychology practised in a perverted and dangerous way by persons who are not only lacking any qualifications which would fit them to practise psychology but who have been indoctrinated and trained in beliefs and practices which equip them to do no more than apply dangerous techniques harmfully and indiscriminately.
Control scientology by controlling Psychology.
There are no standards prescribed in Victoria for persons who wish to practise psychology. Very considerable use is made, of course, Of psychological theory and practice by the medical profession, especially in psychiatry and psycho-analysis. As used in medicine it is ancillary to the broader profession of medicine. It is, of course, a learned science in its own right and many universities and other recognized institutions of learning award degrees or diplomas in psychology, or award degrees and diplomas which comprehend or embrace the very extensive study of psychology
A person so qualified may properly describe himself as a psychologist and may practise psychology; yet, legally, so may the most ignorant and least qualified person. The absence of any legal restrictions has enabled many persons, including scientologists, to describe themselves in various ways and to practise psychology though quite unqualified to do so.
In Victoria there is no legal control of hypnosis which is generally a major technique in the routine of the pseudo-psychologist. In England, there are restrictions on stage hypnosis. In the Hypnotism Act 1952 (15 and 16 Geo. 6 and 1 Eliz. 2, c. 46), hypnotism is stated to include hypnotism, mesmerism and any other similar act or process which produces or is intended to produce in any person any form of induced sleep or trance in which the susceptibility of the mind of that person to suggestion or direction is increased or intended to be increased. Restrictions are imposed on exhibitions, demonstrations or performances of hypnotism at or in connexion with an entertainment to which the public are admitted. They do not extend to the practice of hypnotism privately.
Despite the affinity between psychology and medicine no assistance in the control of the practice of psychology is to be obtained from Victorian legislation relating to the medical profession.
This year is the centenary of the Medical Practitioners Statute 1865 which enacted in substantially the same form as the law stands today sections which were the predecessors of section 24 of the Medical Act 1958. In Victoria, there is no statutory prohibition on the practice of
medicine or surgery as such by other than legally qualified medical practitioners. Virtually the only control is that effected by section 24. Section 24 (1) provides that " No person shall be entitled to recover any charge in any court of law for any medical or surgical advice or attendance or for the performance of any operation or for any medicine which he has both prescribed and supplied unless he proves on the trial that he is registered in accordance with the provisions of Division two of this Part". Section 24 (3) makes it unlawful for any person unless registered " to pretend to be or to take or use the name or title of a physician doctor of medicine licentiate in medicine and surgery master in surgery bachelor of medicine doctor surgeon medical or general practitioner or apothecary or surgeon apothecary or accoucheur or licentiate or practitioner in midwifery or any other medical or surgical name or title".
After the passage of one hundred years and the tremendous advances in medicine and surgery, which cannot now be effectively practised except in association with a system of hospitals from which those regarded as unqualified are excluded, there are very few who would presume to practise medicine or surgery if not registered under the Medical Act. On the contrary the problem of the unqualified psychologist is substantial. Psychology is a relatively new science and similar safeguards in respect of its practice have not yet developed.
In the Board's view, rather more stringent provisions than those in the Medical Act are needed to curb the emergence of a class of unqualified pseudo-psychologists of whom scientologists are the prime examples. Prohibitions on the right to sue for fees and on the use of deceptive titles are, of course, necessary; but such minimal restrictions could readily be overcome by payment in advance or some form of psychological coercion afterwards, and by the dropping of deceptive titles which, though often used, are not a necessary part of the pseudo-psychologist's act.
Regulation of the Practice of Psychology.
In order adequately to control the practice of psychology, the Board considers that measures of a regulatory and economic nature are necessary. In essence, the Board envisages a system of registration of psychologists, and prohibition on the advertising of psychological services and on practising psychology for fee or reward, unless registered. The practice of scientology is a business, and its attraction lies in the opportunity it affords for making money. Without revenue to maintain its organization its activities could not continue, and even its most dedicated adherents would find it impossible to practise professionally unless financially endowed. The prescribing of minimum standards for the practice of psychology and a prohibition on receiving payment for substandard services appear, therefore, to be the most effective means of procuring the cessation of scientology practices, except in the most attenuated and honorary way.
Appropriate action to deal with scientology involves three steps:
1. Public Awareness.
As already mentioned the adverse publicity which scientology received during the lnquiry has seriously curtailed its activities. However, the HASI may well regard such a reverse as temporary and may be awaiting the time when interest in the Inquiry and this Report will have waned. Thereafter, either at 157-159 Spring Street, Melbourne, or elsewhere, it will, under its own name or some other name, seek to re-establish itself. The likelihood is that scientology is planning to extend, if it has not already done so, to new areas in Victoria. It is important, in the Board's view, that the public be repeatedly warned of the dangers to mental health of psychological techniques practised by unqualified persons.
2. Registration of Psychologists.
Psychologists Registration Board.
The system of registration of psychologists envisaged as a means of controlling the practice of psychology in Victoria is one which involves the establishment by statute of a Psychologists Registration Board and the prescribing of minimum standards for registration. In considering the structure of such a Board, it would be necessary to safeguard the interests of those who are not professional or academic psychologists, but for justifiable reasons should be permitted to practise psychology in particular circumstances and are entitled to be registered or, alternatively, to be exempted from registration. Some consideration is given later in this Chapter to the kind of persons who should be exempted.
It is not the function of this Board of Inquiry to determine minimum standards or qualifications. It is sufficient for the Board to say that, in its opinion, scientology qualifications should not entitle a person to registration as a psychologist.
Of prime importance in any system of registration would be the meaning to be given to the word "psychology". It would need to be defined in terms which ensured that scientology techniques came under control.
The full scope of such a definition involves a consideration of many factors as to which the Board heard little or no evidence. The techniques and practices of scientology include -
hypnotic and similar techniques,Whatever else may be comprehended by " psychology ", the above particular activities should evidently be included.
the use of the E-meter.
The purpose of the proposed legislation should be to prohibit generally the practice of psychology for fee or reward by persons who are not registered or who are not exempted from registration.
It should also be an offence, unless in the case of permitted exceptions, for any unregistered person, for fee or reward,
(a) to practise hypnosis, defined in terms similar to, but not necessarily identical with, the definition of " hypnotism " in the English Act, and enlarged to describe more specifically scientology processes which involve a series of commands, repetitive or otherwise, designed or intended to be used for the purpose of inducing the absence or lessening of inhibitions and repressions;Prohibition on Advertising.
(b) to administer IQ tests or personality assessments or similar tests or assessments;
(c) to use an E-meter or similar electrical device whether or not in conjunction with (a) or (b).
It should also be an offence for any person, unless in the excepted classes or unless registered, to advertise -
(a) that he is skilled in psychology or psychological or similar techniques, psychological or similar counselling, hypno-therapy, psycho-therapy or any other similar alleged skills; or
(b) that he is available whether for fee or reward or not to render services in respect of any such skills, or
(c) that he will render such services whether for fee or reward or not.
Prohibition of Deceptive Titles.
The trappings of scientology include the pretentious use of titles, referred to in detail in Chapter 15. The use by scientologists and others of the title "Doctor" in relation to their practising of psychological techniques is a calculated deception where they are not possessed of any recognized degree which justifies the use of the title. An unregistered person may not lawfully use the title of "Doctor" in the practice of medicine or surgery. A similar prohibition should exist in relation to those who practise any form of psychology. The Board is of opinion that the restriction on the use of deceptive titles and qualifications should go further. It considers that it should be an offence for a person practising any form of psychology to use any title, letters or abbreviations in association with his name, unless he possesses a degree, diploma, licence or other authorization to use it or them from a university, college or other institution recognized by the Psychologists Registration Board. The deceptive "degrees" of "doctor of scientology" and "bachelor of scientology", both in extenso and abbreviated to "D.Scn." and "B.Scn.", and the additions of such letters as "HCA" and "HPA" to the name of a person practising scientology or some other form of psychology should not be permitted.
Exemptions from Registration.
Exceptions to or exemptions from the requirement of registration would need to be carefully considered. Prima facie, persons proper to be excepted would seem to include -
legally qualified medical practitioners,
ministers and other individuals engaged in recognized or usual activities of any bona fide religion,
teachers in universities and registered or otherwise recognized schools and similar institutions,
employees or other persons engaged by a person or organization for the purpose of determining the quality, capacity, ability or potentiality of persons employed or seeking employment,This list is by no means exhaustive; it is capable of being, and probably should be, substantially enlarged, for care has to be taken to guard against the establishment of too narrow a category of persons who have the right to practise for fee or reward techniques of psychology which are in varying degrees of constant application in almost every occupation and walk of life.
various social workers,
officials of marriage guidance organizations, &c.
The Board's recommendations, within its terms of reference, are of course limited to scientology, though the method recommended of dealing with scientology necessarily involves the surveillance of practices and conduct by persons other than scientologists.
3. The HASI Records.
In Chapter 24 and in other parts of this Report reference has been made to the nature and extent of records made and kept by the Melbourne HASI of the processing of preclears. These records, containing details of intimate and secret matters relating to preclears, are a potential threat to preclears who may be subjected to various forms of coercion. Preclears could be constrained to return to their earlier allegiance to scientology, and, in some hands, files could be used for the purposes of extortion and blackmail.
The Board has given consideration to the question of what action, if any, should be taken in respect of the HASI processing files. Though the files were not entitled to any form of privileged non-disclosure, the HASI created the false impression that the contents of its files were completely secret and that nothing in them would be disclosed, whatever the circumstances. Such a protection is considerably greater than the privilege which attaches to communications made by a patient to his doctor (see section 28 of the Evidence Act 1958), but, as a matter of law, no vestige of legal privilege attaches to the HASI files. Though the disclosure of the contents of the processing files is highly undesirable, to prohibit by legislation the disclosure of their contents would give to them an entirely unjustified quality of importance and security. The FIASI would probably boast that it was recognized by the State as of such importance that the contents of its files were by law made secret. However, while the files exist, they are a potential threat to the people to whom they relate.
All the HASI records, including the files, were tendered as exhibits before the Board, but their physical possession (other than of those which were specifically and individually tendered as separate exhibits) remained in Williams on his undertaking to produce them as and when required. The Board now sees no practicable way of procuring the files which are still in possession of the HASI, short of legislation requiring their surrender for the purpose of destruction. It should be pointed out that copies of preclear's processing reports are also kept by Hubbard at Saint Hill Manor in England, so that destruction of the files of the Melbourne HASI would not entirely remove the threat.
Though the Board was required to investigate scientology in Victoria and has made the foregoing recommendations for its curtailment in this State, it is proper to point out by way of final comment that while scientology is permitted to flourish in other States, any action taken in Victoria could not be fully effective. It seems certain that continental headquarters of the HASI would be transferred from Melbourne to another capital city from which residents of Victoria would be bombarded with a barrage of scientology literature. It is also probable that Victorians addicted to processing would readily travel interstate for courses in processing and training.
In concluding this Report, the Board wishes to thank the many persons whose co-operation very materially assisted the Board in its inquiry. Of these, certain persons merit particular mention.
The Board is grateful to counsel who appeared before it. Mr. Gordon Just, then of counsel (now his Honour Judge Just of the County Court), who appeared to assist the Board, brought to the Inquiry his customary courtesy, skill and thoroughness. Mr. J. R. O'Shea, who, until May, 1964, appeared as counsel for the scientology interests, and Mr. Ian G. Abraham, who thereafter and until November, 1964, appeared as counsel for the scientology interests, greatly helped the Board in the clear presentation of the views and the evidence of their clients; Mr. Abraham, in particular, bore the burden of his clients' cause for six difficult months during which he very competently and conscientious1y presented to the Board every relevant consideration in favour of his clients' case
and tested evidence hostile to their cause. The Board regrets that his clients' instructions constrained Mr. Abraham to withdraw from the Inquiry on the 30th November, 1964. Mr. Warren C. Fagan, of counsel, who appeared for the Committee for Mental Health and National Security made an important contribution to the material placed before the Board by his cross-examination on a number of aspects of scientology which assumed increasing importance as the Inquiry proceeded. The Board is grateful to these counsel whose very considerable labours were of real value to the Board in its deliberations.
The evidence of the 151 witnesses was recorded by a team of shorthand writers, typists and their assistants under the direction of Mr. J. May, the Chief Government Shorthand Writer. These ladies and gentlemen performed the colossal task of recording nearly 4,000,000 words covering nearly 9,000 pages, with speed and accuracy. Their co-operation and efficiency resulted in a complete daily transcript being available shortly after the Board adjourned each day. The Board's task was greatly facilitated by the immediate availability of a complete and accurate transcript.
The Board also wishes to thank Mr. John Herbert Joseph Campbell, who conducted a thorough investigation of the financial affairs of the scientology organizations in Victoria and whose very valuable services to the Board are not to be measured by the relatively short time which he took to give his evidence, which was almost unique at the Inquiry for it was accepted by all concerned without challenge, and he was virtually not cross-examined. Mr. Campbell's evidence threw light on certain features of scientology in Victoria, which might not have been fully appreciated without his thorough investigation.
The Board also wishes to thank the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Mr. R. T. M. Pescott, for the use of the theatrette at the National Herbarium, where almost all the proceedings of the Board were held. Though the presence for many months of the Board and its entourage involved Mr. Pescott in some inconvenience he readily made available for the Inquiry adequate facilities in idyllic surroundings.
The Board reserves for final mention the secretary to the Board, Mr. Ian Edward Crook. The Board cannot too highly commend Mr. Crook for the consistently efficient and thorough manner in which he cheerfully and unobtrusively carried out the very burdensome duties which fell to him. He performed the tasks normally performed by at least two persons, for he worked in collaboration with counsel assisting the Board in sifting material and preparing it for presentation to the Board, and he carried out the very substantial secretarial duties required of him both while the Board was sitting and while it was in recess. His services to the Board in the preparation of this Report were of incalculable assistance and were beyond the call of duty. The Board is aware that his Honour Judge Just shares the Board's views regarding Mr. Crook. The Board considers it fitting that its Report should end with its grateful acknowledgement to the secretary whose constant attention, intelligence, efficiency and skills sustained the Board and made more bearable the burdens involved in the conduct of the Inquiry and the writing of this Report.
Given under my hand and seal this twenty-eighth day of September, 1965.
Owen Dixon Chamber,
205 William Street,
Last updated 21 February 1997
This is a mirror of the HTML maintained by Martin Poulter (email@example.com)