Allegations of spying and intimidation, the plot to recruit James Packer and how Scientology hoped to take down one of the country's biggest media moguls are all detailed in a new book about the controversial religion's 60-year history in Australia.
Over the last four years, ABC journalist Steve Cannane has spoken with more than 200 former Scientologists as part of his research for his new book, Fair Game - from which the claims in this story have been sourced.
From the early 1960s, damning newspaper headlines threatened the controversial church's foundations in Australia.
So in 1968, Scientology hired private investigator Rex Beaver "to spy on Rupert Murdoch, to spy on 11 parliamentarians, clergymen, psychologists and psychiatrists."
"He ended up going double agent," Cannane told A Current Affair.
"He then gathers all this information, gives it to Rupert Murdoch and the Daily Mirror and they splash two weeks later with a big story about how the Church of Scientology is spying on all these prominent politicians, journalists and clergymen."
It was a big win for Murdoch and a scar that Scientology would carry for decades.
Fast forward to the 1990s and the church saw a chance to strike back with the son of another media mogul.
"James Packer was at a very low point. He was depressed. Tom Cruise had only met James a couple of times previously, but he suggested he get involved in Scientology and a lot of people I spoke to said it helped James," Cannane said.
"But there was another motive at play now. Tom may have wanted to help James, but it seems it was part of a broader plan to get his friend, Lachlan Murdoch, involved."
"If they recruited his son, it'll be payback for Rupert."
But Lachlan Murdoch never got involved in Scientology and once said, "I happen to share my father's views on Scientology, I just don't tweet them."
Despite not being able to convert a member of the Murdoch family, three first grade rugby league players did end up joining the church's high-level Sea Org: Joe Reaiche, Chris Guider and Pat Jarvis.
Under the influence of Chris Guider, Scientology began making inroads into rugby league.
"The St George rugby league team had a situation where there was a Scientology adviser dragging players out of the room before the game and trying to give them advice. This caused massive tension in the team, they didn't like this outsider hovering around," Cannane said.
"It is a fascinating clash of cultures: rugby league and Scientology. And to think that that was going on in the late 70s, early 80s is to me just amazing."
But nothing in Scientology's history could be as fascinating as church leader David Miscavige's interest in Tom Cruise.
"David Miscavige, Scientology's leader, had heard that Tom Cruise wanted to run through a field of flowers with Nicole Kidman, so Sea Org personnel were told they had to work through the night," Cannane said.
But Kidman soon got sick of Miscavige's intervention in Scientology's most-important couple.
"She got increasingly irritated by the behaviour of David Miscavige and she was able to get Tom Cruise to drift from Scientology for a period of about five years," Cannane said.
"I've been told by former senior Scientologists that Miscavige wanted Michael Dovan, his personal assistant, to sow a seed in Tom's ear that Nicole was the wrong person and that he should leave her."
In February 2001, their marriage was no more.
But it's not just celebrities, athletes and high-flying media executives that Scientology has taken aim at.
Anyone reporting on the church's activities is on notice.
"The do anything they can do derail your stories," Cannane said.
"In the US, they tried to frame one journalist. Paulette Cooper. They tried to frame her for a bomb hoax. They also leafletted her apartment block and said that she was a prostitute who had venereal disease who molested children."
"Yes, there are risks," Cannane admits of taking on the church himself.
"But I think it's worth it. I think this organisation needs to have a bit of a spotlight shone on it."
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