Statement from the Church of Scientology

ABC News, Australia/June 2, 2010

The ABC's Lateline has revealed the Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating the Church of Scientology over allegations it has grossly underpaid staff members.

The Church of Scientology has issued the following statement:

The Church of Scientology is, like other religions, staffed by volunteers who do invaluable work helping others. We have previously passed inspections by the Workplace Ombudsman and we are not aware of any current breaches of the Fair Work Act or regulations.

It would be improper to comment on any ongoing investigation until such time as it is completed and we are entitled to fair and impartial treatment under the law.

Australia is a nation well known for its high level of volunteering, with over 5.2 million people over the age of 18 engaging in voluntary work per the last Census figures.

All Church of Scientology staff are religious volunteers and they fully understand that the Church of Scientology operates for the sole purpose of assisting individuals to attain their true spiritual potential through the practice of the Scientology religion.

Scientologists believe that doing service for the Church is a key part of helping others and their own spiritual growth. For this reason many make a spiritual commitment to Scientology and to accomplishing its religious purposes by pledging varying amounts of time in dedicated religious service to the Church. This is not unlike other religious organisations.

Staff members make this pledge of their own free will, solely to help promote the religious goals and tenets of the Scientology religion and the Church itself. They engage in counselling, ministerial work in the community, helping to educate youth on the issue of drugs, human rights and morality.

Volunteers have helped distribute over 2 million anti-drug booklets in the last decade in Australia as an example of the good work they engage in.

Our Church staff are volunteers and understand this and are not helping for the purpose of financial gain. Their generous contribution is warmly valued by the many that they help.

Our Australian volunteers are also very active in disaster response in the Asian and South Pacific regions. They have headed specific relief efforts and supported local agencies in their work with volunteers. Our Scientology volunteers also travelled as far as Haiti to provide assistance most recently after the devastating earthquake there.

Prof. Frank Flinn, Adjunct Professor in Religious Studies at Washington University, who had personal involvement in the religious life as a friar in the Franciscans, compares the religious order of the Church of Scientology with other religions, such as Buddhism and Christianity: "Compared to the practices of many other religious orders, the lifestyle and monetary arrangements in the Church of Scientology are, if anything, generous".

The Church of Scientology continues to offer social programs and services with the invaluable and dedicated work of our volunteers who are greatly admired and appreciated by Scientologists and others across Australia.

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