Senator Xenothon spells out his strategy.
Sydney Morning Herald
Senator keeps at the faith
JACOB SAULWICK NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT
November 20, 2009
IF THE major parties do not agree to an inquiry into Scientology, Nick Xenophon will just keep telling horror stories about the religion until they do.
''I'm going to be a persistent bastard on this,'' the senator told the Herald yesterday, two days after he described Scientology as a criminal organisation under cover of parliamentary privilege and called for an inquiry into the church.
Yesterday the Opposition backed away from the idea of a parliamentary examination of Scientology. The Government is also said to be wary of an inquiry, but is keeping its options open.
Senator Xenophon, however, who has received a flood of correspondence from former church members since levelling his attack, is prepared to keep dripfeeding stories about Scientology into the Senate to eventually prompt an inquiry.
"With all due respect to Senator Xenophon, I do have reservations about whether a Senate inquiry is appropriate and would be inclined not to be supportive,'' the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Nick Minchin, said. ''Any concerns about illegal activity should be referred to the appropriate authorities."
Senator Xenophon's chief of staff, Rohan Wenn, travelled to Sydney yesterday to brief a senior police officer in the organised crime division on allegations made by former church members and tabled in Parliament this week.
''They are taking the matter very seriously,'' Mr Wenn said.
Mr Wenn has also offered to forward details of other former Scientologists to the police.
Senator Xenophon has delayed his notice of motion calling for an inquiry until Monday.
In a statement, the South Australian senator dismissed the idea that parliament was not the proper place to examine Scientology and its claim to tax-free status as a religion.