Cults are under attack in Australia


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Laws failing against cult brainwashing, says MP

Australia's ABC Reports.

Tougher laws are being urged to help protect people from manipulation and brainwashing by cults.

South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon says, in France for example, the crime of mental manipulation is punishable by five years in jail or a $100,000 fine.

Adelaide doomsday cult Agape Ministries is being investigated by police after weapons and thousands of rounds of high-powered ammunition were found at 13 properties and four people arrested.

Senator Xenophon says current laws are little safeguard against brainwashing.

"The current laws that we have just don't deal with issues of psychological manipulation, effectively brainwashing, the way that people are deceived into handing over their money to these cults," he said.

Senator Xenophon says details emerging about Agape have been frightening.

"The fear, the manipulation and the coercion they were put under was just enormous. That's why we actually need to have laws that can deal with an issue like this which wouldn't impact in any way on the freedom of religion," he said.

Former cult members are urging Agape Ministries leader Rocco Leo to surrender to police.

He has been on the run since police raided properties in South Australia last week.

A former cult member Phil Arbon has told the ABC he has been getting death threats since going public with details about the cult.