The Church of Scientology has a long established presence in Australia and is deeply seated within grassroots communities. Each Church in Australia undertakes its own local community activities of social support which is as varied as the parishioners and what skills they have to offer their local community.
A key component of the Church’s work in Australia is to promote religious understanding and tolerance. The Church is activity involved in hosting and participating in interfaith events that foster and promote freedom of religion and multi‐faith understanding. The Church draws upon many faiths and religions, including Islam and Buddhism, with representatives of these religions participating in Church sponsored events that enable our congregation and the broader community to share and encourage tolerance and understanding.
Across Australia, our Churches and parishioners are activity involved in a range of community‐based activities that are designed to improve the lives of countless Australians.
The Melbourne Church of Scientology has a long standing arrangement to provide a children’s home with gifts and toys for Christmas. Our Church has supported other children in need critical financial support. Likewise, these activities are replicated in Sydney and Adelaide.
The Church has also undertaken and supported a range of community activities supporting:
• Blood drives for the Red Cross – urging Australians to give blood in times of need to ensure that our nation can meet the demand for these vital supplies. Scientologists who are also drug-free, are encouraged to regularly give blood.
• Clean‐ Up Australia Day – active participation and involvement that results in the promotion of a cleaner, greener Australia.
• Nursing Homes and Aged Care facilities – provision of musicians and other entertainment to a range of community facilities around Australia, providing joy and interactivity for those Australians residing in these facilities.
• Youth Numeracy and Literacy – supporting young Australians at risk improving their levels of comprehension and understanding of the three R’s.
In addition to these community‐based initiatives, the Church has placed enormous efforts and resources into the following global programs, which have delivered significant lasting benefits for Australians and people around the world.
These initiatives include:
1. Drug Education and Prevention
The Church of Scientology in Australia and around the world also undertakes a range of drug education and prevention programs that have delivered significant and lasting benefits to communities.
The Church of Scientology has for many decades conducted drug education campaigns. Scientologists are drug‐free and as such understand the vital importance of full education, in empowering youth to make fully informed choices to stay away from drugs. The cost to the Australian community of drug and alcohol abuse is considerable – around 23.514 billion per year.
Rather than just saying no, our approach has been to educate on physical and mental effects of drugs. From our experience with talking to literally several hundred thousand youth on the streets, it is clear that drug use does not equal knowledge about drugs and that education can make all the difference. This has been one of our most concerted campaigns of the last two decades.
These programs are run by our dedicated team of volunteers. The Church’s volunteer program has touched the lives of over 600 million people worldwide. Activities have involved 79 countries, with over 22 million educational booklet and 30 million fliers distributed to promote the anti‐drug message. This has also involved over 280,000 billboards and posters to reinforce this positive message.
The Church of Scientology raises donations and pays for all of the materials and also provides grants for other projects such as producing a 90 minute documentary featuring former drug users, telling their stories of using drugs called The Truth About Drugs real People Real stories.
This is also provided free of charge to anyone who requests it on‐line. In Australia, we have also established a Drug Free Ambassadors program, which provides free materials about the dangers of drugs to individuals and within communities. Other Australian‐based anti‐drug activities organised by the Church include:
• 2.5 million anti‐drug education fliers and booklets distributed at markets, fairs and street drug education events covering marijuana, ecstasy, ice and painkillers.
• 300,000 Australian youths have taken a drug‐free pledge to dedicate them to help themselves and others to remain or become drug free.
• Translation of anti‐ drug education materials in Japanese, Chinese and Indonesian to enable the drug education information to be distributed to Australians of non‐English speaking backgrounds.
• 20 languages serviced by the Church in distribution of anti‐drug materials, including new languages now being translated of Thai, Tagalog, Korean and Malaysian. This assists in enhancing Australia’s bonds of friendship with its neighbours in Asia Pacific. Working with the Foundation for a Drug Free World in the United States, the Church has disseminated free anti‐drug educational material to over 7,000 additional people in the community – teachers, police, government staff, principals, alcohol and other drug workers, psychologists, social workers and front line people helping youth with drug problems in Australian and the Asia‐Pacific region.
2. Volunteer Ministry
Scientologists volunteer their help, both in times of major disasters and in times of more personal disasters that befall all individuals, organisations and country around the globe. In 1973 the Scientology Volunteer Minister program commenced, with volunteer clergy trained in exact tools and techniques in order to apply them to help others in the community in need, including the fundamentals of interpersonal relations, solving drug abuse, resolving educational and study difficulties through to resolving marital problems and conflicts.
The Church’s more than 200,000 Volunteer Ministers are an active force in disaster relief efforts worldwide. In all, the Volunteer Ministers have helped more than 10.8 million people in the past seven years.
As part of this program, the Church has developed a disaster response team which specialises helping in times of international upheaval and catastrophic events. The volunteers provide a willing and highly organised team to support existing services and do undertake any actions needed requested by governments or other community organisations. Australian Scientologists have organised and participated in disaster response actions at home, in Asia Pacific and the United States.
In September 2009, Scientology Volunteer Ministers from Australia and New Zealand flew to Samoa after a tsunami impacted on the local communities. Our volunteer representatives worked in cooperation with the Samoan Fire and Emergency Services Authority to assist in the cleanup and recovery operation. The Volunteer Ministers were on the ground in Samoa for over six weeks providing essential aid to survivors of the natural disaster. Over 7,000 victims of the tsunami received individualised care and support from the Church’s representatives.
Early in 2011, 40 Volunteer Minister's were on hand in Brisbane after some of the worst floods recorded in living history, helping to carry out extensive clean-ups in Brisbane itself. The team is also continuing to help in Grantham which was hit very hard and are still there helping clean up.
Soon after the Brisbane Floods, Cyclone Yasi hit North Queensland with widespread devastation to property and the community. The Volunteer Ministers were on hand to provide whatever help was needed, rolling their sleeves up to assist with the clean-up of debris. They also provided one-on-one relief using specialised techniques called Assists for those suffering losses and upsets and trauma.
Australian Volunteer Ministers were then called to Christchurch, N.Z. which was struck with a devastating earthquake. They have provided unconditional assistance to those affected and having been in Christchurch in 2010 after the first earthquake, many of the locals welcomed them back and the help they gave. There were fantastic teams and emergency workers from all over New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and the United States. The Volunteer Ministers assisted with specialised techniques on those affected by shock and loss to help relieve them of the stress and bring them back into the present time.
Another team joined with the Maori Wardens in delivering food, water and other supplies in the suburbs of Christchurch. Due to the simplicity and workability of these Assists techniques many hundreds of people were trained so as to help their families, friends, neighbours and work colleagues etc.
Most recently, in the aftermath of Japan's worst ever earthquake, a large contingent of Volunteer Ministers led by several Australians were deployed to the evacuation areas to assist to help sped the recovery of the survivors who lost everything. This work will continue for a long time yet as a means of introducing relief and stability into the lives to those who have lost their loved ones, their homes and livelihood. They are currently still in Japan providing assistance.
The Volunteer Ministers just since 2011 have assisted 200,000 directly in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Australian Scientologists have organised and participated in disaster response actions at home, in Asia Pacific and the United States. Initiatives Australian volunteers have been involved in include:
- 1995 Kobe, Japan earthquake
- 1995 Jakarta, Indonesian earthquake
- 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami
- 1999 Taiwan earthquake
- 2001 Indian earthquake
- 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attack
- 2002 NSW bushfires
- 2004 Niigata, Japan earthquake
- 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka
- 2005 New Zealand floods
- 2005 Hurricane Katrina
- 2006 Cyclone Larry in Innisfail
- 2006 Yogyakarta, Indonesian earthquake
- 2006 Cilacap Indonesia earthquake
- 2007 Aceh Indonesia floods, Jakarta and Yogyakarta Indonesia floods and tornado
- 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami
- 2007 Philippines Typhoon Mina
- 2008 Cyclone Nargis Myanmar
- 2008 Philippines Typhoon Frank
- 2008 Northeastern Japan earthquake
- 2009 Victorian bushfires
- 2009 Typhoon Ketsana (Philippines)
- 2010 Christchurch Earthquake
- 2011 Christchurch Earthquake
- 2011 Queensland Floods
- 2011 Cyclone Yasi
- 2011 East Japan Earthquake
3. Promotion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
The Church of Scientology’s Human Rights Department has been working with Youth for Human Rights International promoting the content of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and making these rights known.
To date, the campaign has reached 900 million people in 84 countries.
In the last two years, the Church has distributed more than 25,000 human rights booklets and DVDs to teachers, students, lawyers and the general public through events and websites throughout Australia.
Youth for Human Rights groups have promoted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and have been running an event each month across four Australian States with free booklets and pamphlets given away promoting the articles of surrounding the Declaration. Human Rights Public Service Announcements showing the 30 Human Rights of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been aired on TV channels across Australia.
4. The Way to Happiness supporting values in Society
The Way to Happiness book is a common sense guide to better living, it helps spread trust, honesty and respect.
This book is a truly practical and modern guide that anyone can use to confidently steer their way to a happier, more successful life.
Last year volunteers in the Northern Territory distributed 36,000 copies of the booklet to communities across the communities of the territory to help bring about better conditions and happier lives. This was followed by a mass distribution in Canberra by Church parishioners where 100,000 copies of The Way To Happiness were sent out to Canberra homes. Volunteers gave out copies at the main shopping area, Treasury and at Parliament House itself.
Kids, adults and teens all have fun at the new Church of Scientology in Ascot Vale, Melbourne with the Way to Happiness Day each month. The values of “take care of yourself” and “look after the environment” are some of the precepts featured.
A number of professionals offer their services free of charge to help attendees in a fun-filled day.
The Church’s The Way to Happiness Volunteers (wearing green shirts) work with the local community on a regular basis. Volunteers planted trees at Royal Park and helped the local community clean up the Moonee Ponds Creek.
The subjects of the twenty one precepts of the Way to Happiness are:
1. Take Care of Yourself
2. Be Temperate
3. Don’t Be Promiscuous
4. Love and Help Children
5. Honour and Help Your Parents
6. Set a Good Example
7. Seek to Live with the Truth
8. Do Not Murder
9. Don’t Do Anything Illegal
10. Support a Government Designed and Run For All the People
11. Do Not Harm A Person of Goodwill
12. Safeguard and Improve Your Environment
13. Do Not Steal
14. Be Worthy of Trust
15. Fulfill Your Obligations
16. Be Industrious
17. Be Competent
18. Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others
19. Try Not to Do Things to Others That You Would Not Like Them to Do to You
20. Try To Treat Others as You Would Want Them to Treat You
21. Flourish and Prosper