Anderson Report

Anderson Report

"This article refers to a Report on Scientology. For the Anderson Report into UK Higher Education see Anderson Report."

The "Anderson Report" is the colloquial name of the report of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology, an official inquiry into the Church of Scientology conducted for the State of Victoria, Australia. It was written by Kevin Victor Anderson QC and published in 1965.

Background

In 1959, L. Ron Hubbard had set up the Church's headquarters at Saint Hill a few miles from East Grinstead in Surrey, England. The Church of Scientology had spread from its origin in USA to a number of English-speaking countries and soon attracted attention. Several official inquiries were made into Scientology in England, Australia, and elsewhere and a number of reports published by respective governments in the late sixties and early seventies. The Anderson Report was the first of these.

The Victorian Legislative Council appointed a Board of Inquiry on the 27th November 1963 in response to a Private Member's Bill proposed by J.W. Galbally to prohibit Scientology in the State. At this time the Church was represented in Melbourne by the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International (HASI), which had premises at 157-159 Spring Street. [ State of Victoria (1965) "Report of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology" p.4 ]

The Board of Inquiry

A Board of Inquiry does not have the same legal status as a trial. It is not necessarily presided over by a judge or a magistrate and does not sit in a courtroom; witnesses are not subpoenaed but appear by invitation. It is not bound by the rules of evidence. ["Report..." p.5 ] The Board of Inquiry into Scientology consisted of Mr Anderson sitting alone, assisted by Mr. Gordon Just who was instructed by the Victorian Crown Solicitor. After an initial sitting on 6 December 1963, the Board sat in the theatrette of the National Herbarium of Victoria ["Report..." p.173] from 17 February 1964 to 21 April 1965. ["Report..." p.5]

The HASI was represented by counsel J.R. O'Shea and I.G. Abraham, who called as witnesses HASI staff members and many individuals who had received Scientology training and counselling. HASI files and publications were also tendered in evidence. They withdrew from the hearings on 12 November 1964 ["Report..." p.5 ] claiming biased conduct of the Inquiry by Anderson as the reason. [ Church of Scientology of California (1967) "Kangaroo Court" p. 46]

Two former Scientologists, Phillip Wearne and Douglas Moon, appeared as the main witnesses for the Committee for Mental Health and National Security (an "ad hoc" unincorporated organisation opposed to Scientology). [Garrison, O.V. (1974) The Hidden Story of Scientology. Citadel Press: Secaucus NJ. ISBN 0806504404 p. 155] [ "Kangaroo Court" p. 10] They were represented by counsel Warren Fagan. Dr Eric Cunningham Dax, Chairman of the Mental Health Authority of Victoria, and one of his staff, Dr. M.B. Macmillan, coordinated the evidence given by expert witnesses in medicine and psychiatry. [State of Victoria (1965) "Transcript, Board of Inquiry into Scientology". pp. 2976, 3207.] Dax also conferred with Wearne before the latter gave evidence at the Inquiry. [ Garrison, p.156 ]

The Report

The Anderson Report concluded that "Scientology is a delusional belief system, based on fiction and fallacies and propagated by falsehood and deception" and that it "is not, and does not claim to be, a religion". [ State of Victoria (1965) "Report..." p.2] Anderson acknowledged the emotional tone of his report, justifying it as follows:

If there should be detected in this Report a note of unrelieved denunciation of scientology, it is because the evidence has shown its theories to be fantastic and impossible, its principles perverted and ill-founded, and its techniques debased and harmful. [...] While making an appeal to the public as a worthy system whereby ability, intelligence and personality may be improved, it employs techniques which further its real purpose of securing domination over and mental enslavement of its adherents. It involves the administration by persons without any training in medicine or psychology of quasi-psychological treatment, which is harmful medically, morally and socially. ["Report..." p. 161]

Controversy

The Anderson Report was the basis of the "Psychological Practices Act, 1965". However, this Act was amended in 1982 to remove all references to Scientology and was repealed in 1987.

In 1967 the Church of Scientology published "Kangaroo Court", a critique of the conduct of the Board of Inquiry, alleging collusion between witnesses and alleging bias by Anderson and Dax.

Anderson's conclusion that Scientology "is not a religion" was finally superseded in 1983 by the High Court of Australia, which came to the conclusion that Scientology is a religion. [ [http://www.uniset.ca/other/cs6/154CLR120.html High Court of Australia Decision in Church of the New Faith v. Commissioner of Pay-Roll Tax (Victoria) 1983 154 CLR 120] ] The Anderson Report is still regarded as controversial by the Australian Government's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. [Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1998) "Article 18 Freedom of Religion and Belief". Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra. p.85]

References

* State of Victoria (1965) Report of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology. 173 pp., plus 19 appendices. Government Printer: Melbourne.
* State of Victoria (1965) Transcript, Board of Inquiry into Scientology. 8920 pp. Government Printer: Melbourne.
* Church of Scientology of California (1967) Kangaroo Court: An investigation into the conduct of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology. 48 pp. Hubbard College of Scientology: East Grinstead, England.

Notes

ee also

* Scientology In AustraliaSimilar reports were conducted in:
* England - "The Foster Report" ("Enquiry into the Practice and Effects of Scientology")
* New Zealand - "The Dumbleton-Powles Report" ("Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Hubbard Scientology Organisation in New Zealand")
* Canada - "The Lee Report" ("Sectarian Healers and Hypnotherapy")This list of reports is not exhaustive.

External links

*" [http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Cowen/audit/andrhome.html "The Anderson Report"] "
*" [http://www.xenu.net/archive/audit/andrhome.html "The Anderson Report" (another site)] "
*" [http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/high_ct/154clr120.html High Court of Australia Decision in Church of the New Faith v. Commissioner of Pay-roll Tax (Victoria) 1983] "
*" [http://www.humanrights.gov.au/pdf/human_rights/religion/article_18_religious_freedom.pdf Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission "Article 18 Freedom of Religion and Belief"] "
*" [http://www.xenu.net/archive/audit/nzhome.html "The Dumbleton-Powles Report"] "
*" [http://www.xenu.net/archive/audit/fosthome.html "The Foster Report"] "
*" [http://www.xenu.net/archive/audit/lee.html "The Lee Report"] "


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