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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) both for joining us. Thank you.

A Senate inquiry will begin

hearing evidence today on

whether the Church of

Scientology should continue to

receive tax exempt status. The

private member's Bill calls for

religions and proper tees to

prove they'd benefit the

community before they receive

exemptions. Nick Xenophon

introduced the Bill and he

joins us now. The inquiry will

kick off in a few minutes with

Dr Stephen Much who has written

a doctoral thesis on the whole

issue of this tax exempt status

particular the Church of on religious cults and in

Scientology. So I think his

evidence will be quite

valuable. There will be a

number of former

Scientologists, victims of the Church of Scientology giving

evidence and later today the Church of Scientology will also

be appearing and I think it's

important to hear both sides of

the story. This flows from the

private member's Bill you

unsuccessfully tried to get

through the Senate.

Realistically, do you think

such a move will ever see the

light of day? The private

member's Bill is still before

the Senate. That's why they're

having this inquiry. In the UK

it's administered by a

Charities Commission. Look,

obviously in the course of an election campaign, these things

could get pushed aside but this

is still a very important

issue. I think every Australian

who pays tax and that's

virtually all of us are in

effect subsidising those

organisations that get a tax

free status. Don't think it's unreasonable there be certain benchmarks about public

benefits and also looking at

the potential harm an

organisation can cause before

it gets a tax free status. You

mentioned the inquiry will hear from some ex-church of Scientology members. Can we

expect to seat inquiry hearing

again some of those allegations

that have been raised recently

on programs like 'Four

Corners'? I don't know what

the ex-Church of Scientology

members will be saying. We have their submissions. Obviously it

has to be relevant in the

context of an inquiry into the

public benefit test. But I

think it's from my point of

view it's important that you

actually look at examples of

detriment, examples of where

things have gone wrong with an

organisation as to whether that

organisation should receive a tax free status. The Church of

Scientology of course isn't

taking this lying down as you mentioned. The top brass will

be addressing the Senate

inquiry today. They're going to

give a full-throated defence of

their position today? As

they're entitled to. And this

is about having a process where

it is fair, where the parties,

the various parties can have

their opportunity to say what

they want to say. But at the

end of the day, I don't think it's unreasonable for Australia

to have a test similar to to have a test similar to that

in the UK, where there is a

degree of transparency and

scrutiny with respect to the

tax free status, because that

is a big deal. If you're

getting a tax free status, it

can mean taxpayers can be

subsidising you to the many millions of dollars each year for an individual organisation.

I think there ought to be a

level of transparency and

scrutiny that we haven't had in

this country to date. Nick

Xenophon, thank you.