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Brother's plea to PM: hold Scientology inquir -

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Brother's plea to PM: hold Scientology inquiry

Sabra Lane reported this story on Monday, November 23, 2009 12:38:00

ELEANOR HALL: The brother of an Australian soldier who committed suicide two years ago is urging
the Prime Minster to support a federal parliamentary inquiry into the Church of Scientology.

Stephen McBride says his brother, Edward, paid $25,000 to the Church before he took his life and a
coroner's report found that the church had sent files about Mr McBride to the United States
deliberately, so that the information could not be handed to authorities.

In Canberra, Sabra Lane reports.

SABRA LANE: Edward McBride was 30, when he was electrocuted at a Brisbane sub-station in February
2007. The death of the soldier is the subject of two inquiries, one by a Queensland Coroner, the
other by an army commission of inquiry. The coroner's declined to hand down his full findings,
until the defence inquiry is complete.

But the coroner handed down an interim finding last month, which found in the six months leading up
to Edward McBride's death, he'd spent $25,000 on Church of Scientology courses. And in the days
leading up to his death, Church of Scientology members had attempted to phone or text Edward
McBride 19 times.

Today in Canberra, his brother Stephen McBride appealed to the Prime Minister to support the
setting up of a Senate inquiry into the church.

STEPHEN MCBRIDE: It is hard to describe the anger that my family and myself feels about the
church's conduct before and after my brother's death. The Church of Scientology gained $25,000 from
my brother but Edward lost his life. My family are not able to reconcile these two facts.

This organisation needs to be investigated by the police and by parliament. My family cannot cope
if this was to happen to someone else's family.

I honestly believe Kevin Rudd is a decent man and I believe he wants to do the right thing. This
Senate enquiry is the right thing to do and I would simply say to every senator who will be voting
on this issue, please, please, you know, just have this enquiry for Edward's sake and for all
victims of Scientology. Please don't let my brother's death just be in vain.

SABRA LANE: The Queensland coroner also found a Scientology file about Mr McBride was deliberately
sent to the United States, making it unavailable to investigators. While the coroner says the
church was legally entitled to do that, the action prevented him or the police from seeing the
file, which may or may not have had any relevant information about Mr McBride's wellbeing.

Again, Stephen Mcbride.

STEPHEN MCBRIDE: We have been through a hell of a ride and you know, the sooner this is done and
dusted, we can all get our lives back to normality. You know, I mean it will never, ever be the

SABRA LANE: Independent Senator Nick Senator who raised the cases of seven former church members in
parliament last week, sat alongside Mr McBride while he made the plea. The Senator says he does not
have enough support yet to establish an inquiry.

NICK XENOPHON: But I will continue to build my case. I am very grateful for the support of Bob
Brown and the Greens in relation to this. I believe that there will be an inquiry eventually and my
fellow senators need to know that even if a vote is lost either now or early next year, there is
nothing to stop me from putting up a motion the very next day for another vote on it and I will
continue to do so because this is clearly in the public interest.

SABRA LANE: Last week the Prime Minister said he had concerns about the church, and it's understood
many of the people who Senator Xenophon spoke about in parliament last week, have made attempts to
speak with Kevin Rudd.

NICK XENOPHON: When you consider that we have had Senate inquiries as to whether there should be an
AFL team in Tasmania, whether a sports digital TV will affect sports broadcasting, banana imports,
a whole range of other issues, you would have thought that this issue is clearly in the public
interest for the Senate to look at.

SABRA LANE: Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown also believes the inquiry should be established.

BOB BROWN: I am going to be angry to, I rarely use that word, if the, if this proposal which Nick
Xenophon has brought forward for an enquiry is blocked by the Government and/or the Opposition. It
is because I think that is a failure in responsibility to the Australian public, the wider
Australian public.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Senator Bob Brown from the Australian Greens ending that report by Sabra Lane
in Canberra.