Information About the Church of Scientology and Recent Issues
by the Church of Scientology Australia
TABLE OF CONTENTS
i. Executive Summary
ii. Chapter 1: The false allegation of forced abortions
iii. Chapter 2: The false allegation of culpability in two deaths
iv. Chapter 3: The false allegation of recommending medical treatment
v. Chapter 4: The false allegation of theft and fraud
vi. Chapter 5: The activities of the hate group, Anonymous
vii . Annex A: Senate Privileges Committee Report
viii. Annex B: Australian Scientologists in Action
ix. Annex C: Description of the Scientology Religion
x. Annex D: Is Scientology A Religion? by Professor Alan Black
On 17th November 2009 Senator Nick Xenophon made a series of allegations under the protection of Parliamentary privilege about the Church of Scientology and certain individual Scientologists
These allegations are baseless and in many instances part of a campaign of misinformation and vilification being mounted by the hate group Anonymous against our Church.
The allegations presented to Parliament by Sen. Xenophon appear in a series of unnotarized and unsubstantiated letters from a small group of former Scientologists.
At no time did the Senator or his staff contact the Church as to the veracity of the allegations, which the Church would have readily assisted with.
Indeed the Church as well as individual Scientologists requested to meet with Senator Xenophon on several occasions as early as July 2009 to answer his questions on Scientology after he appeared on Channel Seven’s Today Tonight show in a story about the Church in France.
His Chief of Staff is a former Today Tonight reporter.
To the best of our knowledge, Senator Xenophon has never been in a Church of Scientology, nor does he know any current Scientologists. Senator Xenophon did not reply to the Church’s request to meet or to answer his questions.
In responding to specific allegations from former members, the Church has no desire to air in public the personal experiences of members of the Scientology religion—even former members who have chosen to attack their previous faith. That said, the Church vigorously denies the claims of these former
We have additional detailed documentation on the other allegations raised in the Hansard and letters tabled and can be made available upon request. The Church has responded officially to the Senate and this has been incorporated in the Hansard (see Annex A).
RESPONSE TO ALLEGATIONS
CHAPTER 1: THE FALSE ALLEGATION OF FORCED ABORTIONS
The allegations of Aaron Saxton and Carmel Underwood regarding forced abortions are untrue.
The Church of Scientology does not counsel expectant mothers to have abortions and has never forced anyone to obtain one.
Aaron Saxton claims to have forced his own wife to obtain an abortion, however, his claim is completely fabricated as his ex‐wife states in a sworn declaration that at no time was she ever pregnant to Saxton. She has since remarried and has a beautiful child.
Sworn statements have been obtained from numerous female Church staff members who served during the same time as Carmel Underwood, all of whom became pregnant while on staff, some as many as three times, and all of whom state that they were never encouraged, pressured or even suggested to have an abortion. They all state that they were well cared for and given time off as needed to care for their children, as was Carmel Underwood.
CHAPTER 2: THE FALSE ALLEGATION OF CULPABILITY IN TWO DEATHS
The Church is very reluctant to bring the Schofield family more pain than they have already suffered over the loss of two of their children, but public records in both cases starkly contradict Senator Xenophon’s claims.
The deaths of both children were determined by the proper authorities to have been tragic accidents. Moreover, sworn witness statements confirm that, in the case of the first daughter, Paul Schofield was himself looking after his child and was a short distance from her when she accidentally fell down a flight of stairs at the Church and was mortally injured.
In the case of his second daughter, she was in the full care of both parents at home when she ingested over 30 tablets of a potassium chloride supplement called “Slow K” that her parents kept in the home within reach of the child.
Potassium chloride is not part of any Church program or service in Australia or internationally. The subsequent coronial inquest found that the parents’ misunderstanding of the risks accompanying an overdose of “Slow K” led to the girl’s death and recommended greater precision in the product’s warning label.
In both instances, the Church assisted the family during this time of great loss.
CHAPTER 3: THE FALSE ALLEGATION OF RECOMMENDING MEDICAL TREATMENT
Aaron Saxton and Peta O’Brien claim they were denied medical treatment. They both know it is a fact that all Scientologists are not only encouraged to seek medical attention to address physical ailments and injuries; they are required to do so by Church policy. And without going into the nature of their medical problems, records indicate that both of them received extensive and regular medical treatment while on Church
CHAPTER 4: THE FALSE ALLEGATION OF THEFT AND FRAUD
Aaron Saxton went so far as to falsely allege he participated in a “cover up” of financial misdealing by an individual whom Church executives not only dismissed from staff when they discovered his activities but diligently reported to the police and successfully prosecuted.
CHAPTER 5: THE ACTIVITIES OF THE HATE GROUP, ANONYMOUS
In the quest to seek a Senate inquiry, Senator Xenophon has enlisted some unusual bedfellows. The former members upon whom the Senator relied are open supporters of the cyber‐hate group, “Anonymous” and some have physically protested with masked anonymous protesters outside our churches, yelling and chanting defamatory and ugly statements and ridiculing members as they enter the church. “Anonymous” members are infamous for their on‐line terrorism which is done for laughs. They not only attack Scientologists, but Aborigines, Christians and Jews. They are faceless and unaccountable for their actions. Some of their more reprehensible actions have included posting instructions on how to commit suicide with pictures.
“Anonymous” boasted of their unlawful internet attacks which crashed the Prime Minister’s website last year. Prominent “Anonymous” members have also discussed broadly on the internet the fact of their close contact with the Senator’s office and working with him to bring about an inquiry. “Anonymous” have made international headlines this month for their denial of service attacks, crashing more government websites under the campaign entitled “Operation Titstorm”, protesting proposed measures to stop extreme pornography and other materials denied classification in this country. Members of “Anonymous” have been prosecuted criminally in the United States for illegal attacks on Church of
THE FALSE ALLEGATION OF “FORCED ABORTIONS”
Several of the former members, particularly Carmel Underwood and Aaron Saxton, who sent letters to Senator Xenophon which were subsequently tabled in the Senate on 17 November 2009, mention “forced abortions”.
Summary of the facts:
The allegations of Aaron Saxton, Carmel Underwood and others regarding forced abortions are untrue. The Church of Scientology does not counsel expectant mothers to have abortions and has never forced anyone to obtain one. Sworn statements have been obtained from numerous female Church staff members who served during the same time as Carmel Underwood, all of whom became pregnant while on staff, some as many as three times, and all of whom state that they were never encouraged, pressured or even suggested to have an abortion. They all state that they were well cared for and given time off as needed to care for their children, as was Carmel Underwood.
There is no policy within the Church of Scientology regarding abortion or recommending abortions to staff or parishioners.
After seeing this allegation, a thorough inspection was done by the Church to see if anything like this occurred; many women who had children or who got pregnant were asked about the details of this, and we could not locate any instance of this in Australia. This simply did not occur. Former Church member Aaron (Tweddell) Saxton claims that the Church ordered women to have abortions in Australia between 1990 – 1991.
Mr Saxton further discusses the matter of abortions in an interview which he posted online on 21 November 2009, where he states:
“In the Sea Org [the religious order for management staff of the Church] I had a wife, Willow Jaffe, she is now one of the directors of the Church of Scientology in the state of Nevada. I asked my own wife to abort; when she told me she was pregnant, I told her to get rid of the baby.”
When Ms Jaffe, who was married to Saxton for one and a half years, was asked about this incident, she stated in a sworn declaration that:
“I have never been pregnant from Aaron, which he obviously knows. Aaron has never told me to abort or get rid of any baby, since I never got pregnant with Aaron. This statement is ludicrous and absolutely false.”
She further notes:
“I did marry [name withheld], my second husband, in June 1996 and did get pregnant at this time, and I left the Sea Organization to raise my child. I was never forced to abort my child and it was not suggested or recommended to me that I abort my child, and I was never threatened … if I desired to raise my child outside of the Sea Organization which I did.”
At least 12 members of the Church were located who had children while on staff in the Church and who were contemporaries of those making such allegations and they have made Statutory Declarations proving Saxton’s claims to be false.
One staff who has been a member of the Church for more than 24 years and has had several children during her time in the Church says that she had her first child whilst on staff in the Sydney Church on 9th of August 1989 and states of her pregnancy:
“At this time I would like to make it clear that no one ever approached me about having an abortion or even hinted that I should do anything other than have the child I was carrying. My many friends in the Sea Organisation were happy that we were expecting.”
Another Scientologist who has been a member of the Church since 1984, having joined the Sea Organisation in Sydney in 1988, became pregnant with her first child in 1992. In a signed statutory declaration dated 29 November 2009, she states:
“In the 25 years that I have been a Scientologist and Executive of the Church of Scientology I have not known of any instance of anyone being coerced into having an abortion. Nor do I know of anyone to whom this idea has been suggested or alluded to. Nor at anytime as a member of the religious order of the Church of Scientology called the Sea Organisation did anyone ever suggest, mention or allude to the idea of me having an abortion.”
Another Scientologist from Telopia, a senior manager in Corporate Banking, has been a Scientologist for 28 years. She was a staff member of the Sydney Church for ten years and is now employed in the private sector. She says that in 1984, while a member of staff, she became pregnant. She stated in a signed declaration:
“Whilst on staff, I married and became pregnant in 1984. I received support and care as a pregnant staff member. I attended ante‐natal class and gave birth to my son in the Paddington Women’s Hospital on 4 January 1985. As it happened 2 other Scientology staff members were in the same hospital at the same time.”
Former member Carmel Underwood also put forth various claims of forced abortions. Carmel was both a staff member and a parishioner of the Church between 1980 and 2008. Part of this time she was a staff member of the Church in Sydney. Because Carmel was so adamant about this allegation, the Church interviewed a Scientologist who worked with her at the time of these supposed incidents, who noted that it was Carmel herself who suggested an abortion to her, stating in her sworn declaration:
“I do remember, however, that at one stage, shortly after I fell pregnant with my third child, that Carmel suggested to me that I should consider having an abortion if I felt I could not go through another pregnancy. I was [at the] time stunned by this comment and as I do not agree with abortions I did not take this option”
These allegations regarding “forced abortions” are false. The Church has many more Statutory Declarations on file regarding this issue if needed. Over 97 % of married couples who are Scientologists have children. A major portion of the Scientology religion covers marriage and the raising of children as shown in the Scientology Handbook where chapters are devoted to these subjects.
1. Statutory Declaration by Ms Willow Jaffe
THE FALSE ALLEGATION OF
CULPABILITY IN TWO DEATHS
Senator Xenophon said in Parliament on the 17th of November 2009 that one of the former members Paul Schofield claimed his first daughter, Lauren, who was 14 months old, was being babysat at the Church’s building in Sydney when she was allowed to wander the stairs by herself and fell and that Paul felt pressured by Scientology executives not to
request a coronial inquiry.
Senator Xenophon further stated that Paul’s second daughter, Kirsty, who was 2½, died after ingesting potassium chloride—a substance used as part of a so‐called purification program run by the Scientology Church.”
Summary of the facts:
The Church is very reluctant to bring the Schofield family more pain than they have already suffered over the loss of two of their children, but public records in both cases starkly contradict Senator Xenophonʹs claims.
Both deaths were determined by the proper authorities to have been tragic accidents. Moreover, sworn witness statements confirm that, in the case of the first daughter, Paul Schofield was himself looking after his child and was a short distance from her when she accidentally fell down a flight of stairs at the Church and was mortally injured.
In the case of his second daughter, she was in the full care of both parents at home when she ingested over 30 tablets of a potassium chloride supplement called ʺSlow Kʺ that her parents kept in the home within reach of the child. Potassium chloride is not part of any Church program or service in Australia or internationally. The subsequent coronial inquest found that the parentsʹ misunderstanding of the risks accompanying an overdose of ʺSlow Kʺ led to the girlʹs death and recommended greater precision in the productʹs warning label. In both instances, the Church assisted the family during this time of great loss.
Both deaths were determined by the proper authorities to have been tragic accidents. Moreover, sworn witness statements confirm that, in the case of the first daughter, Paul Schofield was himself looking after his other child and was a short distance from his daughter when she accidentally fell down a flight of stairs at the Church and was mortally injured.
Mr Schofield also claims that the Church executives pressured him not to request a coronial inquiry into the death of his daughter. This is false. In a letter to the Church of Scientology Australia, dated 5 November 2008, Paul West, Acting Registrar for the NSW State Coroner’s Court, states:
“As such, Deputy State Coroner, Jacqueline Milledge, ruled that the holding of an inquest into Lauren’s death would be dispensed with on the 20th December 2001.”
The letter is attached.
In a statement to the Police, a Church staff member present at the time of the accident confirms that the daughter was under supervision and that her father was also present.
Another witness to the accident is consistent with the above statement. This second witness states in a signed declaration made at the time:
“I came back near the stairs and saw Lauren take two steps down the stairs. At the time there was no one near Lauren at all. I was probably the closest person to her and I was approximately 3.5 meters from her and I think Paul Schofield was behind me on my right hand side. I thought she would be alright and then I saw her to start to fall and tumble down the stairs. Paul hesitated when she started to fall and Paul told me directly to stay standing where I was (i.e. not to go after Lauren)… I therefore obeyed Paul and did not continue to rush to reach Lauren (I was too far away to immediately reach her), so I kept walking towards the stairs and so did her father, Paul. I then saw a shadow and it fell from the stairs directly in front of me.”
In the case of his second daughter, she was in the full care of both parents at home when she ingested over 30 tablets of a potassium chloride supplement called “Slow K” that her parents kept in the home within reach of the child. Potassium chloride is not part of any Church program or service in Australia or internationally. The Church’s religious service known as the Purification program is laid out by L. Ron Hubbard in detail in his book ‘Clear Body Clear Mind’’ and uses Potassium Gluconate in carefully regulated amounts. Potassium Gluconate is commonly found in sports drinks.
The subsequent coronial inquest found that the parents’ misunderstanding of the risks accompanying an overdose of “Slow K” led to the girl’s death and recommended greater precision in the product’s warning label. In both instances, the Church assisted the family during this time of great loss. The findings of the coronial inquiry were issued in a document dated September 2005 by the Deputy State Coroner at the time, Magistrate Dorelle Pinch. The cause of death was stated as being “…from Hyperkalaemia (high potassium) following the accidental ingestion of slow release potassium tablets at her Cooranbong home.”
In the findings of the coronial inquiry, dated 9 September 2005, then Deputy State Coroner, Magistrate Dorelle Pinch stated that the daughter consumed about 30 x 600mg tablets of Slow‐K (18,000mg of potassium).
The coroner further noted:
“These figures were provided in the context that the manufacturer of Slow‐K, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Pty. Ltd., trading as Novartis, did not recommend that the product be consumed by children at all.
“Tragically, according to Dr Lee [pediatrician who examined the child], there was a very good chance that KS would have survived if she had been treated as soon as her consumption of the tablets had been recognized.”
The coroner then concluded:
“In my opinion, risk management standards should be at their highest where children are concerned. I do not consider it appropriate for young children to have unsupervised access to tablets of any sort. They need to learn the caution with which these products should be treated. Further, if a child has taken an overdose of any sort of tablet, at least the Poisons Information Hotline should be contacted immediately.”
The coroner’s report further notes that Dr. Lillis, a pharmacologist employed by Novartis “had not heard of slow release potassium being used as a salt replacement in instances of dehydration.”
The Church is saddened by both tragic deaths and worked with the parents giving assistance, succour and support at their time of loss.
1. Coroner’s Letter
2. Statutory Declaration by a witness
3. Coroner’s Report
INQUEST INTO THE DEATH OF KS
At 4pm on 20 February 2004, KS, aged 2, was at home with her parents, Ms and Mr S, her brother J, aged 4 and younger sister, KA, 6 months. They had just finished lunching with Ms S’s cousin. About 4.07 pm KS’s mother gave her a Slow-K tablet and told to take a tablet to her brother. This preparation of Potassium Chloride 600 mg was used regularly by the family in hot weather. They regarded it as a salt replacement. It would appear that while she had the container, unbeknownst to anyone, KS consumed about 30 additional tablets. Ms S realised KS’s overindulgence when she accessed the container a short time later but was not concerned because she did not regard the tablets as harmful.
KS started vomiting around 5.30 pm. She was markedly distressed and over the next half hour her condition deteriorated. Even though KS was vomiting up numerous Slow-K tablets, her parents still did not connect her condition with her overdose of these tablets. It was only when KS began to change colour and experience breathing difficulties that they contacted the Poisons Information Hotline at 5.57 pm. They were advised to call an ambulance immediately. They did call the Ambulance Service soon after but by that time KS had already stopped breathing. Ms S commenced CPR on the instructions from the ambulance operator until the first ambulance officers arrived at 6.18pm. Paramedics arrived within the next 10 minutes. KS was subsequently airlifted to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle together with J, who had also taken at least two Slow K tablets. When she was examined by Dr Lee, paediatrician, at 7.30 pm in the Emergency Department KS was unresponsive, not breathing and had no detectable heartbeat. Despite extensive treatment she did not regain consciousness and was pronounced life extinct at 7.57 pm.
Cause of Death
Dr Lyons, forensic pathologist at the Department of Forensic Medicine at Newcastle, performed a post mortem examination of KS on 23 February 2004. He confirmed the cause of death as Hyperkalaemia (high potassium) secondary to the ingestion of Slow-K (potassium supplement) tablets. Dr Lyons noted that potassium affects the electrical and ionic stability of all cell types throughout the body. He explained that any alteration in potassium levels has a profound effect on the cardiac conduction system. Both low and, as in this case, high levels of potassium lead to cardiac arrhythmia, which can be fatal.
Further Medical Opinion
According to Dr Lee, for a child of KS’s age, the ingestion of more than three 600 mg tablets would raise the level of potassium at least to the toxic range. Given the number of tablets regurgitated by KS at home together with the number pumped from her at hospital and those located in her stomach and duodenum at autopsy, the total number ingested by her would be around 30. Hence, the level of potassium in her system was some 10 times over what Dr Lee considered as a safe or therapeutic level. These figures were provided in the context that the manufacturer of Slow-K, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Pty. Ltd., trading as Novartis, did not recommend that the product be consumed by children at all.
Tragically, according to Dr Lee, there was a very good chance that KS would have survived if she had been treated as soon as her consumption of the tablets had been recognised. Indeed, there was a viable chance of resuscitating her in hospital up to the time of cardiac arrest.
The following questions were considered at inquest:
• Why was KS able to access the Slow-K tablets?
• Why did Ms S not seek assistance when she realised that KS had consumed a large number of tablets?
• Why did Mr and Ms S not seek assistance immediately when KS started
regurgitating the tablets or, at least, when she continued to vomit and her
condition did not improve?
• What information was given to the family about Slow-K?
• Were the warnings on the product label adequate?
• Should the unrestricted availability of slow release potassium products be curtailed by placing them on schedule?
Parents’ Information about Slow-K tablets
Mr S gave evidence that he started using potassium supplements around 1978. At that time he worked for the Department of Lands and was often required to work in rural areas of New South Wales in high temperatures. Apparently, one of his work colleagues recommended that he take potassium for salt depletion. He commented that he took potassium tablets when he felt heat affected. He would regularly take up to 20 salt tablets and 10 potassium tablets per day. He commented that they helped him considerably. Hence, his view, based on what he had been told and on his own experience, was that potassium was an effective salt supplement. He stated that he had never consulted a doctor about using potassium because he had never experienced any ill effects and did not think it was in any way harmful.
Mr S stated that he had been using the particular product Slow-K, a sustained release potassium preparation, for the last five years. He purchased this at various pharmacies in Sydney and in country centers. In his experience, the container of Slow-K had always been located in the general part of the pharmacies, not in any restricted dispensary section. He had never been asked by any pharmacist or sales assistant why he was purchasing the product nor had he been provided with any oral or written information about it. Although he was aware that his father had been prescribed Slow-K some seven to eight years ago to offset the effect of diuretic medication and he had discussed this with his sister who was a nurse, these discussions focused on his father’s condition rather than on the properties of Slow-K generally and his use of it.
Although several books on nutrition written by Adele Davis were located within the family home, Mr S confirmed that this literature was not the source for his understanding of the use of potassium as a salt supplement. He noted, however, that he had followed Adele Davis’s advice on the use of crushed potassium for colic and that this had been used successfully to assist baby KA’s condition.
Ms S stated that her knowledge of Slow-K for salt replenishment was gained from her husband. She herself had not used the product before the summer that KS died. She stated further that her husband was usually the one who purchased Slow-K. She had bought Slow-K on only two recent occasions – both from a pharmacy. She recalled that on each occasion the container of Slow-K was located within the main area of the pharmacy, not in the dispensary. On one occasion she had been looking at another slow release potassium product when the pharmacist showed her a jar of Slow-K. She remembered asking the pharmacist if this was the one for salt depletion and he had answered in the affirmative. She had not been provided with any further information either orally or in writing.
Although she was aware that Slow-K was not a vitamin, for all intents and purposes Ms S referred to it, and treated it, as such. It was stored with other jars of vitamins in a cupboard to which J and KS had ready access. However, she would normally tell the children when and how much to take of these products. It was unusual for either child to take them without the knowledge of herself or her husband. She stated that she was not concerned that only an adult dosage was recorded on the Slow-K label because her husband had been taking them safely over a long period of time and the children had never shown any ill effects. She was simply not aware that this product could be
Children’s Use of Slow-K
J and KS were usually given one or two tablets of Slow-K when they appeared overheated. I note that Mr S was actually asleep when KS started vomiting and he was unaware of the number of tablets she had regurgitated. Ms S was in a better position to realize the extent of KS’s overdose but her estimate at the time was probably about half of what KS had actually consumed. Ms S stated that she was not overly concerned about the overdose because she did not consider the tablets to be dangerous and thought any excess would be excreted naturally. Indeed, she thought it was a good sign that KS was expelling the tablets from her system by vomiting. Ms S stated that it was not until KS started to turn green that she realised something was very wrong. It was at that point she had contacted the Poisons Information Hotline. Even at that stage Mr S wanted to wait another 10 minutes before calling an ambulance because he did not comprehend the seriousness of the situation. Perhaps the family took false comfort from the fact that the operator of the Poisons Information Hotline thought that Slow-K was available only on prescription whereas they knew it was available without restriction.
I know that the family have had to come to terms not only with the death of their daughter but also to endure the criticism of medical personnel at the time of her death and, subsequently, a criminal investigation. I have no wish to add to their distress because they were to KS, as they still are to J and KA, loving and caring parents. However, one of my roles as a coroner is to identify attitudes and practices that may have contributed to KS’s death, thereby preventing similar fatalities in future. In my opinion, risk management standards should be at their highest where children are concerned. I do not consider it appropriate for young children to have unsupervised access to tablets of any sort. They need to learn the caution with which these products should be treated. Further, if a child has taken an overdose of any sort of tablet, at least the Poisons Information Hotline should be contacted immediately. If a child shows signs of an adverse reaction to an overdose, immediate medical assistance should be sought.
Slow-K is one of several sustained release potassium products on the market. As noted previously, it is manufactured by Novartis. I stress that at all times Novartis has complied with regulatory requirements for their product. Evidence was given at inquest by Dr. Lillis, a pharmarcologist employed by Novartis. He stated that Slow- K was typically used by elderly patients on advice from their general practitioners to offset the effects of diuretic medication. He had not heard of slow release potassium being used as a salt replacement in instances of dehydration. Although Slow-K was available without a prescription, the elderly patients who typically consumed it usually did have a prescription from their doctor. Dr Lillis indicated that Novartis produced two sets of information for pharmacists – a product information sheet and a consumer medicine information sheet. He commented that, like other similar preparations, Slow-K was not packaged in a way which guaranteed that the consumer medical information leaflet was passed to consumers. However, he noted that, pursuant to an agreement between the peak pharmaceutical bodies and drug manufacturers, pharmacists were “incentivised” ie. paid, to pass on the consumer medicine information to consumers. I note that such incentives failed dismally in providing information about the product to the family.
Following KS’s death, both the product information and consumer medicine information leaflets have been revised by Novartis to emphasise that Slow-K should not be given to children. More importantly, since there is no guarantee that the revised information in the leaflets will be communicated to consumers, Novartis has amended the label on the product itself to include the warnings, “Do not use for children” and “Keep out of reach of children.” The new label is being phased in from July 2005. Dr. Lillis was also of the opinion that manufacturers of the generic drug had similarly revised the label. I consider that Novartis has behaved most responsibly in the wake of KS’s death. However, I would prefer to see the label further amended by the addition of a warning that if too many tablets are taken, immediate medical assistance should be sought. I realize that this warning currently
appears in the consumer medicine information leaflet. However, unless present practices change, I have no confidence that this information will be passed on to consumers.
In commenting on the suggestion that a child resistant cap be used on the container, Dr. Lillis indicated that elderly patients already experienced difficulty with removing the existing plastic cap. He considered that utilizing a child resistant cap could lead to these consumers removing the cap altogether for ease of access and so make the tablets more, rather than less, accessible to children. I have taken his views into account when considering my recommendations.
As I understand the present system, the National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee (“the Committee”) is a Commonwealth-State Committee that is responsible for the maintenance of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP). However, in order to have legal effect, legislation needs to be enacted by the States. I have taken the precaution of addressing my recommendations about scheduling not only to the Committee but also to the Therapeutic Goods Association and the Minister of Health in New South Wales in the hope that the changes I have suggested are looked at urgently at all the appropriate levels.
Dr Lillis described the scheduling process as one in which restrictions were placed on the availability of pharmaceutical products depending on their classification. Schedule 3 products are located in the dispensary section of pharmacies and are to be provided to consumers only after discussions with the pharmacist to ensure that the consumer is aware of the indications and contraindications for the product. Schedule 4 products are those for which a doctor’s prescription is required. Dr Lillis indicated that most Slow-K consumers already had prescriptions from their supervising doctors.
However, he noted that some patients may be not be able to obtain the product when they wanted it if they had to see their doctor first.
Dr Lee was under the impression that slow release potassium preparations were already classified as Schedule 4. In his opinion, they ought to be available only on prescription.
The Committee has considered whether to schedule slow release potassium preparations on several occasions but on each occasion scheduling has not been recommended. I wanted to hear oral evidence from someone who had sat on one or more of the sub-committees that made these decisions so I could better understand the reasons for their conclusions. However, despite extensive inquiries at both national and State level, those assisting me at inquest were unable to locate such a witness. Therefore, I have had to rely upon documents emanating from the Committee to understand their deliberations and decisions.
In 1982 the attention of the Committee was drawn to the practice of medical practitioners suggesting to patients that they purchase sustained release potassium preparations across the counter rather than on prescription. While acknowledging that no significant problems had yet become apparent, the Committee noted that this practice did not allow proper monitoring of patient compliance. While agreeing that electrolyte balance control in at risk patients required proper supervision, the Committee nevertheless made no recommendation about scheduling the products. In 1985 the Committee again declined to recommend scheduling, noting that the warning on the use of potassium supplementation was the responsibility of the relevant doctor or pharmacist.
On the face of these documents, it seems that the Committee has assumed that consumers will purchase slow release potassium products only after consultation with their medical practitioner or, at least, a pharmacist. The fact that Mr S had regularly purchased Slow-K over a five-year period from different pharmacies without the benefit of explanation about the product from either a medical practitioner or pharmacist totally belies this assumption. It is obvious to me that KS’s death could have been prevented if the sale of Slow-K had been restricted to prescription use only. The Committee has, in the course of its deliberations in the 1980’s, recognised the desirability of the supervision of medical practitioners in relation to use of slow release potassium products. Based on the evidence before me, it seems that the only means of guaranteeing the involvement of
medical practitioners is give these products a Schedule 4 classification.
1. There is no connection between KS’s death and that of her sister, L, aged 15 months, in February 2000 except that both were tragic accidents.
2. The label on the Slow-K container, while it complied with regulatory requirements, did not provide sufficient warning about the dangers of the product if consumed by children. If any product is unsuitable for children, that fact ought to be stated explicitly on the label. Similarly, the advice to seek medical assistance in case of an overdose ought to be stated explicitly.
3. Although both Mr and Ms S individually must have appeared to various pharmacists as atypical consumers of Slow-K in that they were not elderly nor did they have a doctor’s prescription for the product, no pharmacist provided them with appropriate advice about the product in oral or written form. Insofar as the National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee considers that pharmacists have a responsibility to provide such advice, that responsibility was not discharged on the numerous occasions that the family purchased
4. Nevertheless, Mr and Ms S could have paid more attention to what was contained on the product label. Mr S’s usage regularly exceeded the recommended adult dose. The fact that no dosage for children was recommended should have alerted Mr and Ms S to inquire of the dispensing pharmacists what the appropriate dosage for children was.
5. In my opinion, young children, especially those of KS’s age, should not be permitted unsupervised access to tablets of any sort. To do so does not engender the appreciation of the caution that such products require. Particularly if tablets taste like lollies, children will eat them as they do lollies or, particularly if parents restrict their children’s sugar intake, as a substitute for the lollies they are not permitted to have.
6. I also consider that whenever a person, adult or child, has an apparent adverse reaction to any substance, natural or artificial, medical assistance should be sought immediately. If the family had followed this principle, then the outcome for KS would probably have been different.
7. If the responsible regulatory authority considers that a product should be taken under medical supervision, then the appropriate course is to schedule it so that it is available on prescription only. For this reason, I shall recommend that slow release potassium products be given a Schedule 4 classification.
KS died on 20 February 2004 at John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle from Hyperkalaemia (high potassium) following the accidental ingestion of slow release potassium tablets at her home.
To the Minister of Health, the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee:
1. As a matter of priority, all slow release potassium products should be given a Schedule 4 classification to ensure that they are taken under medical supervision.
2. All manufacturers of slow release potassium products should be required to include on their labels the following warnings,
• “Do not use for children”
• “Keep out of reach of children”
• “Seek immediate medical assistance if too many tablets are taken” and to amend their Product Information leaflets and Consumer Medicine Information leaflets accordingly.
3. Consideration should be given to imposing a similar labelling requirement for all products that are suitable only for adult consumption and could be fatal if ingested by children.
To the Minister of Health and the peak pharmaceutical organisations:
4. A review of pharmacy practices should be undertaken and appropriate practice standards implemented to ensure that all Consumer Medicine Information supplied by pharmaceutical manufacturers is provided to consumers when the product is purchased.
Magistrate Dorelle Pinch Deputy State Coroner 9 September 2005
Magistrate Dorelle Pinch
Deputy State Coroner
9 September 2005
THE FALSE ALLEGATION OF
RECOMMENDING MEDICAL TREATMENT
Senator Xenophon claimed that former member Peta O’Brien was discouraged by the Church of Scientology from seeking medical treatment for cancer. He further stated that Aaron Saxton (Tweddell) was forced at times to extract his own teeth without the aid of pain‐killers due to Scientology’s bans on medications.
Summary of the Facts:
Peta and Aaron both know it is a fact that all Scientologists are not only encouraged to seek medical attention to address physical ailments and injuries; they are required to do so by Church policy. And without going into the nature of their medical problems, records indicate that both of them received extensive and regular medical treatment while on Church staff.
The Church of Scientology makes no claims to heal or cure any physical illness. It is Church policy to refer all physical ailments to a medical practitioner to be resolved.
Per the Church’s policy on this as written by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard:
“The proper procedure in being requested to heal some complained‐of physical disability is as follows:
1. Require a physical examination from whatever practitioners of the physical healing arts may be competent and available;
2. Clearly establish that the disability does not stem from immediately physical causes;
3. If the disability is pronounced to be curable within the skill of the physical practitioner and is in actual fact a disease or illness which surrenders to contemporary physical treatment, to require the person to be so treated before Scientology processing may be undertaken.”
However former member Peta O’Brien, in her letter to Senator Xenophon alleges that she was advised against medical treatment for her cervical cancer, which required a hysterectomy. This is completely false and Ms O’Brien knows it well, as she has studied the above policy in one of the courses she took in Scientology.
In direct contradiction to her allegations Ms O’Brien earlier wrote a letter in June 1998 shortly after her treatment, laying out her medical treatment for the cancer and the help provided by her minister and other Church staff.
“This medical handling was recommended by [doctor], Gynecologist/Obstetrician to fully handle any possible risks of pre‐cancer spreading (or developing into Cancer) at a later date.
“I had the condition cross checked by [another GP] who closely monitored [Doctor] to ensure the cycle was necessary.”
Peta O’Brien was very appreciative of the help and support given to her from the Church staff and says:
“It is great to be back…, not having my attention units on trying to handle this body condition – as I know it is completely and terminatedly handled. I will never have that condition again.
“Thanks to LRH, standard tech was applied to this condition and I do feel it is terminatedly handled. Thanks also to Bruce in administering the Qual handling, and Elaine’s input on assists and the pre op auditing, and being my terminal on a daily basis for the; last 4 weeks or so – I got through my cycle, and back on track. Thank you!!”
In her letter she also lists out the various medications she was on at the time of her recovery from the surgery.
An 18‐year staff member who was on staff at the same time as Peta O’Brien in 1998, stated in a sworn declaration:
“As the Chaplain I was overseeing the well‐being of Peta and others … I was instructed by my senior … that Peta needed to seek and follow advices of a medical professional and that Peta should be given full medical treatment…
“Peta was given every opportunity to go and see medical specialists regarding a cancer that she had been diagnosed with and she would see specialists on a regular basis. Peta was very happy to eventually inform me that an operation she had was successful, and that there was no longer any sign of cancer.”
Another Church staff member who has been on staff since 1986 and for the past three years a Medical Liaison Officer describes how part of her duties require her to “take Church of Scientology staff, including Sea Org members and parishioners to doctors, dentists, chiropractors and other medical professionals to ensure their health and safety.” She also describes how she accompanied one person who had breast cancer to chemotherapy treatment for support.
Former member Aaron (Tweddell) Saxton also made allegations regarding medical treatment and that the Church did not allocate funding for medical treatment.
On 29 July 1994 Mr Saxton submitted a request for a one‐year leave of absence from the Church to “handle a medical situation”. The information contained in Mr Saxton’s request contradicts his claim that there was a “ban on medications” and “medical attention”. In his request, Mr Saxton says that whilst on staff at the Church in Glebe:
“4 years ago I experienced a series of illnesses which resulted in me ending up in hospital [from 7 to 23 August 1990].”
Continuing, Mr Saxton describes some of his treatment:
“During this time I received numerous testing to locate the WHY for such a condition. I got daily blood tests and was under a strict diet ….”
Scientologists receive medical care when needed. Any allegations to the contrary are false. This is also backed up by a letter written by a NSW doctor, dated 21 November 2009. It states in part:
“I count a significant number of Scientologists, including Church staff, among my patients, many long‐term.”
1. Letter from a NSW doctor
THE FALSE ALLEGATION OF
THEFT AND FRAUD
Senator Xenophon said that a former member Aaron Saxton was asked to cover up the defrauding of credit cards and cash by a Scientology employee.
Senator Xenophon further stated that Kevin Mackey wrote to him that he was abused by the Church of Scientology for 26 years and that he and his wife handed over a large sum of money to the Church.
Summary of the Facts:
This so‐called ʺcover‐upʺ alleged by Aaron Saxton (Tweddell) was financial misdealing by an individual whom Church executives not only dismissed from staff when they discovered his activities but diligently reported to the police and successfully prosecuted.
Former member Kevin Mackey makes such generalized allegations regarding the finances that the broadness of his claims inhibits any ability to properly respond, as there are no specifics to respond to. On a broader scope the Church found documents that contradicted Kevin Mackey’s claims and interviewed Scientologists who knew Mr Mackey (as detailed below).
Church records clearly prove that this allegation by Aaron Saxton is a fabrication. This allegation relates to the activities of an individual who was a staff member of one of the Churches from December 1988 to December 1989. The matters referred to by Aaron Saxton were first brought to the attention of then Legal Officer of the Church in October 1989. The Legal Officer ordered that an investigation be carried out of certain financial records and found irregularities in those records. The Legal Officer confronted the offending staff member who made a Statutory Declaration admitting to 21 cases of forgery.
The Legal Officer subsequently attended the Leichhardt Police Station where he reported the crimes and handed to police all relevant records. The Legal Officer made a signed statement to police regarding his knowledge of this matter for court purposes, a copy of which is attached. The person was then dismissed from staff due to his refusal to uphold the standards required in the Church.
As for the claim by Kevin Mackey, in 1998 Kevin Mackey posted on his own internet site the following comments about his life before Scientology.
“I came into Scientology 15 years ago. I was on drugs and quite illiterate. I had not worked for more than a day here or there for the previous 3 months. My prospects were not bright.”
Kevin Mackey also makes comments of how he attributes the success of his business to Scientology:
“I have been happily married for 13 years and with our first child on the way. Well, actually, our first child was our business, my wife and I have been building a furniture business together for the last 5 years and I alone for the last 3 years before that. We now employ 14 or so staff and supply some of the most prestigious stores in Sydney and Melbourne.
We’ve both had a good time with the business. The technology of Scientology make that possible. Without it we wouldn’t have made it.”
Kevin Mackey’s wife, Vicky, makes similar comments in an Internet posting in 1998. She states:
“By doing Scientology courses I improved my abilities and pretty soon found that I was really able to achieve anything I wanted.
“My material goals were rapidly fulfilled – I now run my own business, have a wonderful marriage, have a child on the way. I have all the possessions I wanted and have absolutely no money problems or attention on that, and I’m just over 30 years old.”
Members of the Church of Scientology who knew Kevin Mackey well recall him being very active in helping the Church with projects and events, as well as fundraising and recommending to others that they go into the Church of Scientology to take religious services. They recall that Kevin Mackey had received so much benefit from the Church that he wanted others to receive the same benefits and he also donated to the Church‐sponsored social betterment programs and to building renovations.
A close friend of Kevin Mackey for 13 years (from 1993) states in a Statutory Declaration dated 30 November 2009:
“…Kevin would often boast about his gains from undertaking religious services and courses at the Church of Scientology in Sydney. He would even tell me how from the knowledge he had received from Scientology had boomed his furniture business from a small two‐man operation to quite a considerable entity with healthy profits which afforded him a beautiful house in the North Sydney Suburb of Turramurra and a very
1. Kevin Mackey website
2. Vicky Mackey website
THE FALSE ALLEGATION OF THE HATE GROUP, ANONYMOUS
As it is apparent that Senator Xenophon has been influenced by members of the hate group known as Anonymous, then the facts about this group needs to be known.
“Anonymous” is a cyber hate group which has attacked various organizations, religions and racial groups. This hate group has been involved in criminal actions like vandalism, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks resulting in crashing websites, harassing calls and emails, and pictures and posters highly denigrating of religious groups (including Muslims and Jews) and other organizations. They are cyber‐terrorists and some of their members have been criminally charged and sentenced in the United States. Anonymous even goes so far as to post instructions on how to commit suicide.
Several of the former members who made false allegations to Senator Xenophon, which were tabled in the Senate on 17 November 2009, are connected to this hate group. Anonymous has been harassing Scientologists in Sydney for two years, along with some of these former members of the Church and the intensity of the harassment has increased. Aaron (Tweddell) Saxton, one of those former members who sent false allegations to Senator Xenophon, is currently one of the Anonymous ringleaders. In a self‐made webcam interview that Mr Saxton posted on YouTube on 9 January 2010, he
“I want people out there to remember it was Anonymous that went out there and put their faces on the line to fight the battle for us…. It’s them and they deserved all our support. We should all stand shoulder to shoulder. If we can’t stand shoulder to shoulder, then something is wrong.”
Mr Saxton also makes the threat:
“The year 2010 is going to be the year that can send the Church of Scientology into a spiral down that it’s never going to recover from…This is the year the Church gets hurt and never recovers from it.”
The Church has expanded more than ever in the last 10 years. However, the threat is clear and shows his intention to continue to harass the Church and be a ringleader.
Other former members who submitted these false allegations are also connected to Anonymous including Paul Schofield and Carmel Underwood. In March 2008, Carmel Underwood had prominent members of the Anonymous group to her property for a BBQ and publicly posted to this effect. Paul Schofield has attended a number of Anonymous protests outside the Melbourne Church of Scientology.
Attacks on other groups:
Anonymous has targeted blacks, Jews and Muslims with their hate propaganda. They have denigrated people of all faiths for their religious beliefs with a barrage of demeaning images and obscenities.
The cult corrupting people minds and taking over the world which is really just a pyramid scheme organized crime syndicate…is CHRISTIANITY. We need to raid christianity for the lutz. But not just christianity, all cults. Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Raelianism, Scientology, etc.
In its own words, Anonymous describes its method of operation.
We are the face of chaos and the harbingers of judgment. We’ll laugh inthe face of tragedy. We’ll mock those who are in pain. We ruin the lives of other people simply because we can. A man takes out his aggression on the cat. We laugh. Hundreds die in a plane crash. We laugh. The nation mourns over school shooting, we laugh. We’re the embodiment of humanity with no remorse, no caring, no love, or sense of morality. e only have the desire for more and more. And quite simply you have our attention.
In July 2007 Anonymous claimed responsibility for a massive Distributed Denial of Service attack on Fox News computers. In January 2008, Anonymous conducted a similar attack on Church of Scientology websites and in March 2008 Anonymous assaulted an on‐line support forum for epileptics.
In September 2009 the Australian Prime Minister’s website was attacked by Anonymous as reported on ZDNet.com.au on September 10, 2009:
“A group calling itself ‘Anonymous’ had published its threat to wage cyber war on the Australian Government a month ago on YouTube. It had demanded that the Labour Government abandon its internet filtering plans and threatened to flood government email, fax, phone and internet services if its demand was not met.”
Shortly after that, Anonymous posted a threat to “shoot Conroy” [Senator Stephen Conroy], as he was responsible for filtering pornographic material in Australia, which the Anonymous liberally use.
Most recently, starting from the 10th of February 2010 (the anniversary of the 1st Anonymous protest outside Scientology churches), Anonymous conducted attacks on Australian government websites, entitling the attack:
“Operation: Titstorm”. Anonymous members disabled the Parliamentary website and continued their attack in protest of the government’s proposed internet filter. They are trying to force the Australian government to back off from the filter and obey the demands of Anonymous. Documents:
1. Article on the PM site attacked by Anonymous.
2. Article on the Australian government websites attacked.
A. SENATE PRIVILEGES COMMITTEE REPORT
B. AUSTRALIAN SCIENTOLOGISTS IN ACTION
C. DESCRIPTION OF THE SCIENTOLOGY RELIGION
‐ The Creed of the Church of Scientology
‐ Doctrine of the Scientology Religion
‐ The Religious Practice of Scientology
D. IS SCIENTOLOGY A RELIGION? BY PROFESSOR ALAN
BLACK, Associate Professor in Sociology, University of
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