Scientology lesson

    * Reporter: Bryan Seymour
    * Broadcast Date: December 09, 2009

If you think the Federal Senate should hold an inquiry into Scientology, write to:

Tony Abbott, Federal Liberal/Opposition Leader
PO Box 6022, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600
Ph: (02)9977 6411

Senator Nick Xenophon
212 Grenfell St, Adelaide, SA 5000
Ph: (08)8232 1144

The campaign for a Senate inquiry into Scientology is getting stronger, with the Greens adding their support.

We're continuing our investigation, especially into two Scientology schools and a million dollar fundraising campaign kept secret, until now.

The Yarralinda school in the Melbourne suburb of Mooroolbark looks lovely. And has nothing to do with the church of Scientology, or does it?

"The Commonwealth has a lot of skin in the game. They're giving our money to those schools to the tune of $1.4 million over the next four years. That's a lot of money, that buys a stake in what's going on in those schools," said New South Wales Greens MP Dr John Kaye.

The Yarralinda school in Melbourne and The Athena school in the Sydney suburb of Glebe both employ the so-called teaching technology developed by Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard called 'Applied Scholastics' or 'Study Tech'.

"There's no scientific evidence that applied scholastics works, there's no scientific evidence that it's been tested, that there are controlled studies that show that this teaching actually does produce outcomes," Dr Kaye said.

Both schools claim they are secular schools that do not promote, teach or advocate Scientology or any other religion.

We obtained a document titled 'Knowledge report' (a Scientology term) and written by the principal of Yarralinda school, Christel Duffy. It outlines in detail the plan to mortgage the school for $1 million and to give that money to the church of Scientology.

It was allegedly used to assist in buying a $7 million dollar property in Ascot Vale, close to Melbourne's CBD. A former Catholic College and home to the Sisters of Mercy, it's to be the future home of Scientology, called the 'Melbourne Ideal Org', partly bankrolled by using the Yarralinda school as security.

The million dollars was to be repaid in full by donors associated with the church. it's claimed the school board was shocked to learn it put at risk the school's Government funding and could even force its closure.

Victoria's Education Minister Bronwyn Pike initially refused to address our questions, then changed her mind, saying that as long a school is complying with the law it can do pretty much whatever it likes.

"Students must be educated appropriately," Minister Pike said.

"As a school they can't do whatever they like. (reporter - well they can, Minister, that's what you're telling us - as long as they comply with the VRQA (Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority) and VELS (Victorian Essential Learning Standards) they can do whatever they like?) That's exactly right," the Minister said.

Back at the Yarralinda school we spotted a woman peeking out from behind a bush to photograph us. Curious, we raced over to find out who she was and who sent her.

The woman refused to give her name and claimed to be a local simply 'photographing us for her portfolio'. It is another strange habit of Scientology that, when asked, they are trained to deny they are scientologists.

The Yarralinda school managed to raise $1 million yet when it comes to spending money on upgrades that benefit its students, it prefers to use Government funding. It received $300,000 as part of the Rudd Government stimulus package, including $250,000 for a new hall. According to the Victorian Department of Education in the past four years the school has had an average of just 20 students.

"We fund a range of private schools because those schools conform to the curriculum and use teaching methods and teaching theories that are well understood, well tested and known to work," said Dr Kaye.

Dr John Kaye is outraged these schools are both certified to educate our children using Scientology books and DVDs, in particular "The Way to Happiness".

"It's not up to me to make a judgement on the way to happiness, it's up to educational experts to say whether this is a valid educational theory or not, it's up to the evidence to say whether its valid or not and none of that is true," Dr Kaye said.

"We do not have evidence and we do not have and we do not have experts outside of the church of Scientology saying that this works."

It is, he says, another in a long list of reasons to further investigate Scientology.

"The Greens strongly support a federal senate inquiry into Scientology," Dr Kay said.

    * The Rudd Government says it has no authority to support an inquiry into Scientology but Senator Nick Xenophon says he's confident he'll get the numbers he needs and he'll
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