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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 10

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in the Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:

That the anti-social activities of certain organisations, in the main purporting to be religious and under foreign control, are causing increasing mental, physical and/or social distress to citizens throughout the Commonwealth of Australia.

Such adverse affects include drastic personality changes, alienation and severance from persons' families and normal society, dispossession under undue influence of persons' worldly assets, abandonment of socially useful occupations or career education, mental disorientation, and a common requirement to surrender their labour with little or no pay, working unduly long hours fund-raising for the exclusive benefit of the organisations' leaderships.

Furthermore, a disturbing number of our country's youth have died prematurely in unsatisfactorily explained circumstances or have become so mentally or physically debilitated as to require hospitalisation or treatment following their involvement with the subject organisations commonly, but erroneously, described as 'religious cults'.

All evidence points to the fact that the subject organisations are commercial enterprises which, for the purpose of evading tax and other business obligations, have falsely assumed the status of 'religions' in order to take advantage of the blanket protection provided by Section 116 of the Australian Constitution.

It is your petitioners' sincere belief that proliferation of such organisations unchecked with their personality- disorientating and family-divisive practices and effects, represents a serious threat to the health, welfare, and peace of the whole community.

Notwithstanding the decision of the combined Australian Attorneys-General at their October 1979 meeting, that no special action should be taken by Government /s to curb undesirable activities of religious cults and that these should be dealt with under existing laws, such laws as would provide protection against the aforementioned malpractices do not appear to exist.

For this reason the Government should proceed with all haste to investigate the widely-alleged malpractices of the subject organisations which include Hare Krishnas, the Unification Church (Moonies) and such other groups as are subject of complaints, preparatory to introducing appropriate legislations to curtail the said malpractices to ensure citizens' continuing enjoyment of peace and harmony.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Morris, Mr Sainsbury and Mr Willis. Petitions received.







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